How to Build Trust With Buyers Via LinkedIn Groups
Here’s how sales professionals can earn coveted buyer trust by participating in LinkedIn Groups.
October 12, 2017
If there’s one principle to keep in mind when it comes to social selling, it’s the social aspect. In fact, being social far outweighs selling when it comes to succeeding as a modern sales professional. Staying active on social helps you engage and build trust with your target audience, keeping you top of mind when buyers are finally ready to purchase. Here are tried-and-true ways to establish that invaluable trust via LinkedIn Groups.
Find the Right Groups for You
You can participate in up to 100 LinkedIn Groups. However, just like all of your prospecting activities, you want to get as targeted as possible. Zero in on groups discussing top issues of concern to your prospective buyers. Or, if you are targeting certain accounts, find the influential people at these companies and look on their profiles to see what groups they belong to. As you consider your group options, factor in the number of members, their level of activity, and the nature of the discussions. The goal is to find groups where members are actively debating topics and sharing perspectives and suggestions.
Make It Part of Your Daily Routine
Social selling hinges on social interactions. You won’t develop trust if you just drop in to socialize occasionally. We trust those with a steady presence, those we can rely on to show up and contribute on a regular basis. Once you select two or three relevant groups, introduce yourself, jump in, and show up consistently. Block off 15 minutes every day to check in and add to discussions.
The goal is for group members to look forward to your participation. You can achieve this by reserving your input for when you have something interesting, timely, or valuable to share. Your contributions can be in the form of your thoughts on a topic, your take on someone else’s thoughts, or relevant content. Just be sure not to use these forums as a dumping ground for PDFs and links to your sales content. LinkedIn members value true participation and authentic interactions, and tend to cool on group members who focus on self-promotion.
That said, it might be helpful to follow a revised version of the 4-1-1 formula. In certain situations, we advocate that you organize your social-selling activities by sharing four content assets produced by others, and one authored by you or your company. The sixth contribution would be your own thoughts on a topic.
In the case of LinkedIn Groups, it may pay to flip the formula so you are sharing insights more than content. Break your engagement in group discussions into chunks of six. During four of those six times, share your perspective. On another occasion, share third-party content. This could be an interesting article from an online publication, a report by an analyst firm, or an infographic produced by a company other than yours. Finally, share content written either by you or your company. By following this formula, you establish trust, making members more open to reading content from you or your company.
Whenever you share content – whether yours or a third party’s – highlight the key takeaway or add your perspective to give group members context and to make your content contribution engaging.
Treat Groups as Two-Way Streets
While consistency and ongoing participation help build trust with other LinkedIn members, authenticity and integrity rank high too. If you are truly genuine in this effort, you’ll approach groups as a forum for giving and getting help. While you are trying to establish yourself as a trusted advisor and expert by offering advice and insights, it’s amazing what happens when you ask questions. Requesting the input of others shows that you respect their perspectives, and that makes you more likeable.
You can ask questions to get a better sense of what your buyers struggle with or aspire to achieve. Or ones that help you build a stronger sense of industry trends and realities. You could even ask questions – when relevant – that help you understand how to better serve buyers in your capacity as an advisor and guide.
Hopefully you will get so engaged in a few relevant LinkedIn Groups that you sometimes lose yourself in the discussions. Just don’t forget to watch for clues that might prove valuable in your role as a sales professional. You might see mention of a key stakeholder in an account that you are targeting. Perhaps you’ve established enough of a rapport with the person making that mention to ask for a warm introduction. Or you might uncover a major project at a target company that could benefit from your company’s solutions. If you do spot opportunities, pursue them outside of the group.
In just about every area of life, we get out what we put in. If you approach LinkedIn Groups like a checkbox on your to-do list and only participate in a cursory manner, you’ll likely see minimal return. However, if you make a true commitment to ongoing and authentic engagement and providing value, you will find that prospects actually seek out your input and advice.
For more ideas on how to build trust with buyers, download LinkedIn’s Definitive Guide to Smarter Sales Engagement.