FOR THE MOST PART, LINKEDIN IS A RECRUITMENT TOOL. Update your profile, get noticed, and escape that crappy job. But for the enterprising sales professional, LinkedIn is an invaluable tool that can build brand awareness, promote services or products, or if utilised masterfully, can actually lead to sales. No, this is not a theory. I’ve sold well over $200,000 worth of training services via LinkedIn, and here’s the 5 ways you can also Sell Big on LinkedIn.
1. Update Your Headline
Don’t hide your product or service in the bowels of your profile. Stick it in your in ‘Professional Headline’. I’m a sales author and trainer, and that’s what my headlines says. This headline uses objective language – facts, rather than opinion – to describe my ability.
I’m a trainer, and entrepreneur, but that’s not what I promote. “Ranked #29 Global Sales Guru”, announces the headline, followed by, “Author of ‘Selling Big to China'”. There’s no guessing what I do, or how well I do it, plus it’s all factual. The inclusion of Chinese characters for my name further emphasises my connection with China, and therefore my expertise.
Summary: Don’t just tell your visitors your job title. Tell them what you actually do, and how well you do it!
2. Read and Engage with Group Discussions
Last year an HR manager from a global advertising agency was searching for a negotiation course. She was specifically looking for a program that would assist her Chinese staff who had to negotiate without authority. This need was broadcast on the LinkedIn group, ‘Training and Development China (中国培训与发展)‘, and a few members replied. However, only one shared a link to a solution; an article to a website titled ‘5 Tips to Influence Without Authority‘. That somebody was me, and a week later, I had a meeting with that same HR manager. A month later, I was conducting a two-day training program.
Summary: Don’t be passive. Join relevant groups, read the posts, engage with the LinkedIn members and contribute to a solution.
3. Publish ‘Very Good’ Content
My blog impressed that advertising agency’s HR manager because it specifically addressed her problem. Of course it did! I wrote it immediately after reading her need on the LinkedIn group! It was specific, timely, but just as important, it was well written.
If you publish rubbish, don’t expect the same instant success when prospecting on LinkedIn. One way to check the readability of your blogs on your website is to check your site’s ‘bounce rate’. This metric signifies whether a visitor leaves your website immediately after visiting only one page. Google considers any bounce rate under 50% to be very good. That means that 50% of the visitors do click on another link within your website. The length of time (session time) spent on each page is also an indication of well written content, alongside the number of pages visited. Again, Google says a session time of over two minutes, and three page views or more, is very good.
That makes ClarkMorgan’s results remarkable. ClarkMorgan.com has a bounce rate of just under 8%. The average page duration of 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and the number of pages visited per person is 3.8. In short, visitors love what ClarkMorgan has to say. Don’t you! And because you are engaged with our content, you are ‘in Check‘ and therefore more likely to buy what we have to offer.
But all that well written prose may be for naught, if the initial image at the head of the post does not entice a click. One of my most popular posts, which I published on LinkedIn included five colourful jelly baby candies standing in a police lineup. Many of the 3,500+ comments from the 90,000+ visitors even emphasised the attraction to the sweets ahead of the content. Hey! Whatever gets the eyeballs, right?!
Summary: When writing blogs, think quality ahead of quantity, if you plan to move from a salesperson to a trusted advisor.
4. Engage After Connecting
“Sally Wang is now a connection”. How many of your new connections slip unnoticed into your connections list, without as much as a ‘thank you’ or, better still, a personalised message that highlights the original reason for the connection request in the first place. Each time I’m informed that a contact request has been approved, I introduce myself again, highlighting my experience in their relevant industry, or reminding them that my team have worked with their firm in the past. If the contact replies, then that means that they are thinking of me (a Check) and that means they are more likely to buy my product or service. This has gained me invitations to speak at TEDx, meeting opportunities, and further down the line, signed contracts.
Summary: Get personal with your LinkedIn connections. Don’t ignore them.
5. Recommendations vs. Endorsements
Anyone can get an endorsement on LinkedIn. All it takes is a single click, often from someone who has never met you. Getting a written recommendation, however, requires others to know, think and write. And if these recommendations highlight your skills at solving a client’s problem, then they will equate to more sales, as you become a Trusted Advisor.
Summary: Be proactive and ask for recommendations. It’s the fastest way to become a Trusted Advisor.
I’ve been a user of LinkedIn since 2009. The platform is growing in popularity in China, doubling its user base in China from 4 million to 8 million with the release of the Simplified Chinese version of the portal. While this local version doesn’t have ‘Groups’ enabled, it is still a valuable tool for the sales professional who is looking to differentiate themselves in a very noisy market. Spend a few hours a day using LinkedIn to build your personal brand, hone your knowledge, and prospect for new business. And while you’re at it, send me a LinkedIn request.
Want to know more about ClarkMorgan’s sales programs? Click here, and give us a call!