How Salespeople Use LinkedIn

October 4, 2013

Linkedin for Sales

LinkedIn isn't just for job seekers and recruiters. It also provides valuable tools you can use to reach the right people, gain their trust, and make more sales. The following are some of the key ways sales professionals use LinkedIn:

Research: LinkedIn provides salespeople with valuable tools for researching not only potential customers but also competitors. Understanding your prospects is half the battle of selling to them, and through LinkedIn, you can gain insight into what makes your prospects tick, what they're involved in, and who they know. Profiles contain details you can use to not only get your foot in the door but also develop rapport with a potential buyer. Likewise, it's always useful to stay abreast of the competition. By doing so, you can determine what to offer your customers and how to outdo the competition in terms of meeting their needs.

Connections: The size and quality of your network has a direct impact on your ability to reach out, make contacts and make sales. LinkedIn makes it easy to determine the best people to connect with at a company. Then, instead of sending connection invitations that fall flat, you can craft messages that explain why you want to connect with the recipient, focusing on the reasons the connection will prove valuable for him or her.

With LinkedIn search options and detailed profiles, you can connect with the people who are most likely to take an interest in you and your offerings. Likewise, you can make additional connections by joining relevant groups and participating in discussions. Additionally, your connections can introduce you to their connections, helping you broaden your network and increase your customer base.

Recommendations: Perhaps one of the most important social selling points is that buyers want to do business with people they trust, and while having a compelling profile can help, it's not always enough to convince a prospect to give you a try. However, your LinkedIn connections can write and post recommendations that share how you and your products or services are outstanding. These reputation builders offer you a priceless edge over the competition and can provide the nudge it takes to turn your prospects into customers.

Monitoring: Since you can't close sales in a vacuum, knowing what's going on in your industry can make a significant difference in your sales numbers. Use LinkedIn to monitor industry news and trends, discover customer pain points and learn of barriers to purchasing. The information you glean through connections, industry content and groups can help you tailor your pitches for optimum results.