LinkedIn gets a bad rap among many professionals, but I can personally vouch for the potential of LinkedIn for sales. I’ve used LinkedIn messages to land some of my biggest contracts, which helped Stada Media to grow as a business and as a brand.
I discuss LinkedIn sales and the broader context of LinkedIn branding in my Diary of an Entrepreneur video series, especially in series 3, episode 17. In this post, I’m going to look at some of the benefits of LinkedIn personal branding and how it can help to bring in business from the kind of clients you want to work for.
The benefits of LinkedIn personal branding
What do I mean by LinkedIn personal branding? Well it’s important to remember that although it’s business-focused, LinkedIn is still a social network, and your individual profile on there is a valuable networking tool.
By moving beyond LinkedIn as just somewhere to keep your CV, and actually engaging with a growing audience on there, you can directly generate LinkedIn sales that you would never have landed in the real world.
How do LinkedIn sales work?
It’s hard to overstate the potential of LinkedIn for sales. In my own experience, I generated an initial £250,000 of sales from four direct messages. That’s over £60,000 per DM and some of those clients are still generating new revenues via repeat orders.
So how does it work? Well as you build your LinkedIn branding, you can start to reach out and engage with prospective clients. I’m not talking about paid LinkedIn ads, and I’m not talking about spammy auto-DMs when you make a new connection. I’m talking about genuine, personal interaction with carefully researched and constructed DMs.
The benefits of connecting with prospective clients on LinkedIn
Why does all of this matter? Well, imagine you go to a real-world networking event. In the room are 100 people from your industry, including competitors, stakeholders and prospective customers. Do you see the benefits of connecting with those people?
LinkedIn is the world’s biggest networking event. You can curate your audience and connect with people you would never reach in ‘real life’. You’re not limited by the size of your local population or economy. There is (not literally, but for all practical purposes) unlimited value to be found.
The potential benefits are not just financial, either. You can learn from fellow entrepreneurs – like me! – many of whom are keen to share their personal insights and experience. Again, this is where LinkedIn personal branding makes people as important as businesses. If you’re a growing company, you might even find your next top talent via a LinkedIn post.
How to grab people’s attention on LinkedIn
Let’s look at some of my top tips for connecting with people via LinkedIn. Remember, it’s not about automated, robotic, scheduled posts, it’s about building real rapport. It might be the internet, but those are real people on the other side of your connection.
Like, comment and share their posts
An ego boost is never a bad starting point. Liking and sharing posts is a good way to do this, while shares and comments help to build THEIR personal brand. If you’re not getting replies then you can move on, but often if you’re a cheerleader for a professional, they’ll become an advocate of your personal brand too.
Connect with them
Once you feel like you’ve got some rapport established (or immediately if you think you have something good to offer) you can move on to more personal connection via direct messages (DMs). Just remember that many LinkedIn users receive a lot of spam, so you’ll need to stand out and show that you value their time.
Message them in a creative way
A creative and compelling message is at the heart of all good sales, and LinkedIn sales are no exception. Here’s my four-step process to a good LinkedIn sales message:
- Do your research and avoid wasting your own time
- Make it personal (to the person, not the business or brand!)
- Show your value and how you can benefit them
- End with a hook e.g. a free sample or no-risk trial
Try to stand out from the crowd
Be innovative. LinkedIn is often seen as a bit drab and boring, but it’s actually a really vibrant platform when you start engaging on a larger scale. Share your media and let your network amplify your voice – my Diary of an Entrepreneur podcast is the perfect shareable content for professionals who want something to listen to on the daily commute.
Tips on improving your LinkedIn profile
As I said up top, it’s important to push past using LinkedIn as nothing more than a digital CV. While your basic information should be up to date, there’s a whole profile, blog content, discussion and comments – not to mention sales DMs – that you can leverage to build your personal brand on LinkedIn.
The best thing you can do is to get started. Engage with fellow entrepreneurs in your area or industry. Engage with old school friends and extended family members who are also in business. Start commenting and sharing blog posts that you find interesting, as your network will probably find value in them too.
Use your voice. You don’t have to be obnoxious about it, just be authentic, and as you amplify yourself you’ll find others start to respond and/or amplify you even further.
How to use LinkedIn as your next sales tool
It all comes down to a continuing focus on your LinkedIn personal branding:
- Get your basic info up to date
- Look for people to connect with
- Share your thoughts and media
- Like, comment and share others’ posts
- Reach out via DM to good prospects
And if you’d like to connect with me, please do! You can find all my socials (including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and my YouTube channel) on my Contact page, where you can also send me an email if there’s anything you want to talk about.