LinkedIn is one heck of a business networking, sales prospecting, sales research goldmine of information. The problem is that many salespeople still aren’t leveraging it to its fullest capacity.
Beyond the value of connecting with people and networking, LinkedIn provides an incredible opportunity to “build your branded presence”, which is pretty important if you expect to be found when buyers are searching for information about the products and services you sell. While there is still a fair amount of resistance in the sales community about the value of social media, the reality is that buyers are buying differently. If salespeople don’t embrace this change and adapt their sales approach to it, they can expect that the savvy social sales competitor is poised to kick their butt.
How do you build your brand?
Simply put – great content. Content can include blog posts, status updates, group discussion contributions and more. It also includes the ability to leverage LinkedIn applications to further build buzz for what you are about. The beauty of using applications is that if you keep the content fresh and changing, your name and face is more visible to your LinkedIn network. Aside from the great visibility inside the LinkedIn world, you’ll also be creating some great personal SEO (search engine optimization) for yourself out on the worldwide web.
We have an app for that!
You might be thinking, what’s the big deal if I do not have content and applications on my LinkedIn profile that’s compelling. Consider what your prospect thinks when they come across your profile.
Does your summary SCREAM expert in your field? Is there enough information there to give him or her some reason to want to contact you? Come on, be honest with yourself. If your summary is barely there and you’ve not completed the experience areas, you have no white papers or case studies to share and no presentation to showcase your product/service capabilities, why would your prospect bother?
There are a host of LinkedIn applications to fit your needs – everything from creating polls, sharing your travel schedule, posting your blog posts, suggesting a business book worth reading, sharing presentations or rating lawyers.
For the sales professional looking to build their brand, here are 6 applications that I use and recommend. They are all free by the way and just waiting for you to take advantage of what they offer.
- SlideShare – Use the SlideShare app to host up to 4 presentations on your LinkedIn profile You can upload far more presentations than that to your SlideShare account, but 4 is the most you can show on your profile at any one time. Post a corporate presentation about your product and service capabilities. Share a presentation you delivered at last week’s conference or post an informational presentation about your business topics. For me, that might be sales coaching. You can post PowerPoint or PDF files.
- Google Presentations – you can use this app to host presentations as well. I just happen to have started with SlideShare and really like it. What I do love about Google Presentations is that it allows me to host my video, which can be played right from my LinkedIn profile. Video is one of THE most engaging ways to capture someone’s interest. Since posting my video, I have closed 4 pieces of new business and in addition to telling me that my profile rocked the competitors, they all mentioned the video.
- WordPress – If you blog, making sure that your blog post shows up on your LinkedIn profile is a must. I happen to use WordPress, but the Blog Link app lets you connect other blog platforms to your profile as well. Every time you blog, you profile is updated and your network knows that you’ve added new content.
- Amazon Book List – A key part of my visibility strategy is speaking at meetings and conferences. As an avid reader, I typically reference statistics and information from books that I’ve read. Adds to my credibility (hopefully) in terms of staying on top of my industry. People used to ask me to provide a book list after the event. Now, I send them to my LinkedIn profile to check out my list. You can add your comments about books you like and recommend them to others. Oh, and you can follow the book’s lists of others and they can follow yours.
- Twitter – Even if you don’t want to get into using Twitter per se, you should still set up an account, set up your profile and then use the Twitter LinkedIn application to share your Linkedin status updates. If you believe what I tell you – that being as visible as possible on the web to potential prospects is important – then you want to leverage the Twitter platform as another vehicle for being seen. Mind you, some companies might allow it, so check your corporate policies to be sure that this is OK. If it is – go for it. Post once and get twice the visibility.
- Events – hosting a business event? Be sure to use the Events application to promote your event. It is easy to set up and you can then share with people in your network. Use your event URL to post as a status update so that more people see it. You’ll want to be sure that the event is included on your profile, so when you set up the app simply check the box to make this happen.
Today’s buyer often starts the sales process without you! When they have business problems, they turn to the web for answers. Smart salespeople will leverage multiple platforms to stand out from the competition. If you are in B2B sales and are not utilizing LinkedIn applications to create a more compelling profile that sets you apart from your competition, I hope I just motivated you to get moving!