Conducting sales calls on speakerphone is par for the course here at Vorsight. We do it for a few reasons: being hands free allows you to take copious notes during your conversation, multiple people can easily participate in the conversation, and colleagues can listen to what prospects are saying on the phone in order to prep for their own calls.
The colleague I share an office with did a call the other day with a prospect he’d spoken to only a couple times. What struck me most wasn’t his take on list-building companies (which, by the way, wasn’t favorable) or his strong New Jersey accent; it was his zeal for LinkedIn. As he and Joey continued to speak, they “connected” on LinkedIn, took jabs at each other’s profile pictures, and realized they had a couple connections in common.
I was particularly interested to hear the prospect say that before he interviews someone, he searches for them on LinkedIn. If the candidate isn’t “LinkedIn,” he won’t talk to them. Harsh? Not really. As salespeople, maintaining a robust LinkedIn profile is as fundamental as knowing what the acronym “BANT” stands for.
The internet is nothing if not a smorgasbord of self-promotional propaganda; whether you partake or not, everyone else is. To do otherwise is a disservice to yourself, and ultimately, your W-2. I firmly believe that above any other kind of social networking site, if you are a sales professional, you must be on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the most professional way to network with colleagues, prospects, and employers.
For sales professionals, LinkedIn could be the most valuable prospecting tool you have. Yes, placing a phone call to the CEO’s receptionist might get you a name, but far more valuable is reaching out to someone and dropping the name of mutual connection you share or work you’ve done at a former employer of theirs. Think of it as “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” for prospects. It’s a small world, and if you become active on LinkedIn, you will quickly find yourself connected to coworkers, classmates, friends, and even clients.
The 400+ connections I have translate into over 7,000 people in my “network.” In laymen’s terms, there are over 7,000 people I share some kind of mutual connection with. LinkedIn is my prospecting preference over Twitter and Facebook (where I am also very active) because its sole purpose is to connect you to other professionals. There’s no Farmville or pictures of my prospect having thrown back one-too-many glasses of champagne on New Year’s Eve. It’s a clean, simple way to gather a lot of information about someone provided directly by them.
Maintaining a comprehensive profile will set your apart from the competition.
LinkedIn has a way of telling you how complete your profile is by gauging things like profile pictures, recommendations, and job descriptions. You should really aim to be at 100% completeness. Doing so will set your profile apart from many others and even open up your network.
The more connections you have, the larger your network becomes, meaning the more information becomes available to you as your prospect. Remember Johnny from the last company you worked at in 2004? He now works at the company you’ve been dying to get into. Because you’re connected to him, you can probably see more information about the people you need to get in with to sell your product to. Better still, why not send him a message and ask for a connection to your prospect?
Furthermore, LinkedIn is your resume made public to the world. Whether you’re job searching or just hoping to make a good impression on your clients, you should invest the same kind of time into your profile as your actual resume. Listing your specific responsibilities at each company along with recommendations from colleagues and previous clients will add real clout to your profile, which can not only garner interest from recruiters, but prospects as well. Not to mention, as my coworker’s prospect said, employers are determining whether they’ll continue talking to a job applicant based on their LinkedIn presence. Thinking about updating your profile now, aren’t ya?
Status updates are a great way to share company information without spamming.
If you’ve already created and maintain an up-to-date profile, connect with clients and prospects you’re in an active sales cycle with via LinkedIn. While you may not want to send them messages, you can still offer “light touches” through your LinkedIn status updates.
I’ve seen everything from links to corporate blog posts, invites to webinars, and even entire presentations announced in my LinkedIn stream. Sometimes I pass over them, but sometimes I actually read them. If your update is interesting and timely, your connections will pursue the material. In this way, you move away from a targeted campaign and more toward a nurturing, informal one.
LinkedIn allows you to see who has viewed your profile.
Social media juggernaut Facebook prides itself on the idea that they will never create the technology to show you who has viewed your profile. LinkedIn doesn’t hold the same standard and kudos to them. The box toward the middle of the home page aptly titled “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” allows you to know exactly who’s been looking at your profile. Depending on which version you have, you can see full visibility into those folks (i.e., first and last name and entire profiles).
I notice prospects I’ve searched for on LinkedIn checking out my profile just minutes after. Can you imagine a more perfect conversation starter? “You were probably wondering why I was perusing your profile on Linkedin…?” Stalker-y? Maybe. Differentiated? Absolutely.
Whether you feel comfortable using that approach or not, the insight into who has been checking you out can no doubt only help your prospecting efforts.
If you’re looking to make more connections, feel free to add me: I’m always looking to expand my network.