In part two of this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains that although LinkedIn is one of the best business development tools available, many people don’t use it properly, and even worse – make mistakes that actually LOSE them sales, rather than WIN them…..
Whenever I’m talking to salespeople or business owners about online sales tools, the one that they mention most often is LinkedIn. Yet I’m often amazed at how many people admit they don’t really use it properly – and even those that ‘think’ they’re using it properly don’t get the sales results they could from it.
Even worse that, some people make various ‘sales mistakes’ over LinkedIn – often without realising – that cost them valuable leads, connections and ultimately sales.
If we’re not connected already, connect with me here – Andy’s LinkedIn Profile – for specific ideas on how to get better results for your time spent on there, but in the meantime, here are the 10 biggest sales mistakes people make on LinkedIn……
This mistake is more common amongst people that have been using LinkedIn for a while, and is particularly prevalent if you’re in recruitment. LinkedIn was mainly a CV site up until about 18 months ago, when more business development tools were introduced that expanded the scope of the site.
Therefore most recruiters would have had a ‘presence’ on there for a number of years, and while a few years ago the main focus of the site was to gather names and candidates, LinkedIn has advanced massively since then – and to still be only using it for ‘name gathering’ means you’re missing out on 90% of the potential value of the site.
If your industry does a lot of cold calling for example, why would you only use a site like LinkedIn to get the name of a decision maker, then pick up the phone and cold call them? Why wouldn’t you use the tools that Linkedin now offers to get in touch, develop rapport and qualify business opportunities in a different way?
If you just use it to get a ‘name’, then pick up the phone and cold call that person, that’s not really helping you to stand out from your competition, is it?
Now this is where myself and LinkedIn differ. LinkedIn’s general attitude is that you should only connect with people you know. My attitude is that you should connect with the majority of people. Depending on their business, sometimes my advice to people is not to connect with their competition, but other than that, I’m a big fan of being a ‘open networker’.
Anyone that ‘limits’ themselves to only connecting with people they know well, yet is on LinkedIn for business development purposes is missing out on the massive business development potential LinkedIn offers.
For example, if someone you want to contact is a 2nd level connection to you, you can get an introduction through someone you are directly connected with – but if they’re a 3rd level connection or worse, that introduction is a lot less likely to happen.
At some level, the more connections you have, the more likely it is that someone you are directly connected with will know that person – and facilitate the introduction. So if you’ve only got a small number of connections, you’re likely to miss out!
In addition, your ‘status’ or ‘update’ posts are posted onto the home page of every one of your LinkedIn contacts – so why on earth wouldn’t you want them to go to as many people as possible?
Another mistake most people make on LinkedIn is to expect a fast return. Now in some cases you can get a fast return in terms of a good contact that turns into business quickly, but like ANY networking LinkedIn should be part of a longer-term strategy.
You don’t need to spend a huge amount of time on LinkedIn to get very good sales results from it, but you do need to have certain fundamental things in place to get the best from it. Part of your LinkedIn strategy should be to put those things in place FIRST, then set about doing your LinkedIn activity to take advantage of those fundamentals – and not making the mistake most people make which is to try and do activity first, without having those critical things on your profile!
Your behaviour on LinkedIn, the information you put on your profile, your activity within groups you belong to, and pretty much EVERYTHING you do on LinkedIn should have the longer-term strategy in mind, otherwise you’ll burn bridges – and fast!
The ‘groups’ area of LinkedIn is one of the most useful for the people who are looking to develop new business and new customers from LinkedIn. However, most people don’t use it effectively – some because they don’t know what to do, and some because they don’t want to dedicate time to it – because they haven’t seen the results quick enough (refer to the last point!)
The groups area (when used properly) is one of the best places for new business development. You can join groups where members have similar interest (Golf, Running, Cars for example), similar geographical areas, an association or trade body, or for a professional interest.
Joining these groups instantly gives you ‘commonality’ with others – which helps when generating rapport with others – which is an essential stage if you want to get ‘engagement’ with others and ultimately do business with them.
However, WHAT you do in these groups is more important than just joining them. How you interest with others. What threads you interact on. What threads you start. How you put together your posts to ensure the appropriate people read the, – and take the action you want – is all about putting the right strategy into action.
Another common mistake most people make on LinkedIn is not getting feedback on their profile and how they’re doing! And I don’t mean getting feedback from just ‘anybody’ – I mean getting feedback from someone who is getting RESULTS from LinkedIn, in terms of incoming sales enquiries or business conducted from it.
I’m often amazed at people that spend large amounts of time on LinkedIn yet haven’t taken the time to put important parts of their profile together properly, and that means that the effect of all their ‘activity’ is being limited by people not taking action when they click on their profiles!
For anyone that is concerned about the effectiveness, or the results they’re currently getting from their LinkedIn profile, connect with me here – Andy’s LinkedIn Profile – and I’ll happily take a look at it, and give you some ideas of what you need to do.
I also run a LinkedIn group dedicated to improving your sales performance, so if you’d like to join that as well, the link is here – LinkedIn Sales Group
To get the other 5 Biggest Sales Mistakes Most People Make On LinkedIn, go to www.andy-preston.com/ask-andy and request ‘LinkedIn article’.
Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..
He runs the Ecademy ‘Sales And Cold Calling Tips Club’ as well as writing for magazines, newspapers and trade journals all around the world on anything related to sales and selling.
You can get Andy’s free cold calling and sales tips HERE