Step up Your SSI: Building Strong Relationships

Learn tips that can help you build stronger relationships with prospects on LinkedIn, leading to a higher Social Selling Index score and a healthier pipeline.

October 12, 2015


Organizations around the world are seeing amazing results from adopting a social selling paradigm. But regardless of whether your organization has made the switch, you can boost your own social selling efforts to enhance your personal performance.

LinkedIn Sales Solutions created the Social Selling Index (SSI) as a tool for measuring and improving your social selling activity on LinkedIn.  When we first released the SSI dashboard, it was only available to premium users, but now anyone with a LinkedIn account can check their SSI score.

The SSI measures your LinkedIn activity as it relates to the four drivers of social selling success:

  1. Creating a Professional Brand
  2. Finding the Right People
  3. Engaging with Insights
  4. Building Strong Relationships

In this post, we’ll focus on how to improve your score on the fourth driver: Building Strong Relationships. This category measures the LinkedIn activity that helps you connect and build relationships with decision makers at your accounts. Here’s how to step up your relationship-building for more quality connections and a higher SSI score.

  1. Expand Your Network

Of course, to build relationships you first need people to build relationships with. Make sure your relationships with prospects and clients carry over to LinkedIn. Connect with your sales teammates, co-workers outside your department, existing clients, and prospects after you make initial contact.

If you have Sales Navigator Team, the TeamLink feature lets you share networks with everyone at your company. That gives you more opportunities to get introduced to people at your target accounts.

Ideally, you should take a multi-threaded approach to each account, using Advanced Search to map the buying committee and establishing relationships with multiple decision makers.

  1. Develop Relationships

To begin developing a rapport with your new connections, take time to read and leave insightful comments on the content they share. Leave out the sales messages at this stage—a simple “congratulations on your promotion!” will go farther than, “congratulations on your promotion, now can we meet to do a demo?”

We have mentioned Newsle in previous posts, and it’s a valuable tool at this stage. You can import your LinkedIn contacts to the service, and see when your connections are mentioned in the news. Share stories that feature your customers and their companies in a positive light, and tag them in the share.

  1. Be Helpful

When you help someone advance their career, solve a problem, or look good in front of their boss, you can turn an acquaintance into an ally. One simple way to help people is to make mutually beneficial introductions. If your prospect has a need someone else in your network can fill, don’t hesitate to get the two talking to each other.

In general, being helpful means going beyond the specific pain points your solution addresses. There is no substitute for genuine interest. Show your prospects you think of them as people rather than potential revenue, and you can build a relationship that lasts far beyond the initial sale.

  1. Ask for Referrals

Part of building an ongoing relationship is the give-and-take of referrals. Most satisfied customers are willing to give them, but most salespeople never ask. Brynne Tillman’s advanced referral technique makes it easy for clients to bring you more business. And it almost goes without saying, but let’s say it anyway: If you offer to make referrals for your clients in return, make sure to follow through on the promise.

Strong, long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships are the foundation of a successful social selling career. When you have a base of satisfied customers, you can create a perpetual-motion pipeline, with inbound inquiries replacing most of your prospecting.

Download The Sales Manager's Checklist to learn more strategies to improve your SSI and boost sales.