Using LinkedIn for Social Selling: are you missing the point?

The LinkedIn LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) is Missing the Point

The term social selling went from being practically unknown at the beginning of 2014, to appearing on the agenda of almost every sales department.  But just knowing that you need to embrace social selling is not the same as understanding how to.

Timothy Hughes, Business Development Director at Oracle and Social Selling thought leader, believes that too many have missed the point.  He says that whilst social selling has built up momentum, too many still believe it is synonymous with LinkedIn.  He makes the bold statement that “nothing says you have completely misunderstood the principles of social selling more than ‘I would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”

Industry thought leader, Jill Rowley agrees: “Social selling does not equal buying LinkedIn Sales Navigator for the sales team” she says.  Other thought leaders describe the definition of social selling as; ‘not just selling using Twitter or LinkedIn but, rather having a relevant reason to engage with customers and prospects to sell, using insights from across the web; such as the news, blogs and company information to research relevant companies and sectors to do so.’

With an abundance of thought leaders saying the same thing, why are so many people still missing the point?  Why are sales leaders still setting LinkedIn connection targets as a key metric of social selling success? With LinkedIn advocating for more LION’s – these are LinkedIn Open Networkers who opt in to receiving and sending unsolicited LinkedIn invitations to connect and as a result dilute the value of their own LinkedIn network.

Perhaps too many are still in the mind-set that having a massive contact database is the key to boosting sales performance.  But let’s set the record straight.  Having a huge number of connections means nothing if you do not have a reason to engage with them or have anything relevant to talk about. Whether they are a name in your CRM database, or a connection on LinkedIn, they are still a cold contact until you have a meaningful reason to engage – around something that is relevant to them.

The 3 ways to enhance your sales behaviour:

Get smart! “There is also a growing recognition that social channels are only a fraction of what it takes to be successful in generating opportunities and closing deals” says Barbara Giamanco.
Sellers need to be smarter in their approach, think beyond Social Media and use other channels; such as the news, blogs and company information to research relevant companies and sectors to better connect with customers and prospects.

Get found! Using tools to navigate your way towards potential buyers is not the same as using them to direct potential buyers towards you!  Social Selling is about finding and being found.  It is about leveraging all available channels to build better relationships with buyers, by combining them with the skills that make you a great seller – networking, referral building, communicating, presenting and listening.

Stop missing the point! Finally, stop thinking of your LinkedIn connections as the measure of your worth as a social seller.  Ask yourself this – how many of my connections do I actually have meaningful engagements with? And then ask yourself – what can I do to build these relationships?  How can I listen, engage and add value to their world?

Now you have taken the first step towards understanding what social selling is really all about.

Ready to take the next step?

Artesian are ready and waiting to open up the value in your networks. What is more, we make it easy.

Find out more about what thought leaders are saying in The State of Social Sales.

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