Recently, Larry Levine, my friend, author of Selling From the Heart and co-host of the podcast of the same name, secured his 10,000th subscriber to his LinkedIn newsletter, “No More Empty Suits”.  

If you subscribe to it, you know “No More Empty Suits” is a sales professional’s manual on all things mindset and toolset when it comes to selling from the heart.

When I work with salespeople and consult with them on how to best leverage LinkedIn for sales, one of the most frequently asked questions is around the idea of more.  More connections, more followers, more leads, more post engagement, more success.

Larry happens to be one of the most successful sales leaders on LinkedIn in my opinion.  

I’m not talking about the number of followers he has.

I’m not talking about the number of ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ or ‘comments’ or ‘impressions’ he receives on his posts.  Those are all vanity metrics and while they can help you build your personal brand, as our friend Mark Hunter says, “You can’t take clicks and likes to the bank.”

 

Larry is successful because he turns the connections he makes on LinkedIn into relationships and takes those relationships offline and often turns them into opportunities.

His ‘secret sauce’ isn’t so secret.  It’s based on four elements:

  1. Having a quality network.
  2. Creating quality content that his network not only wants to consume, but engage with.
  3. He posts consistently and engages consistently.
  4. He pursues his prospects and clients authentically and often moves them to conversations offline.

Let’s take a look at these one by one.

 

A Quality Network

When I first started using LinkedIn for sales I saw my connection number as a badge of honor.  

When you first start out, those viewing your profile see how many connections you have up until 500, then it says “500+ Connections”.  I wanted to get there so fast, I accepted anyone and everyone.  

If you’re using LinkedIn for sales, it helps to be a bit more discerning.  Determine who your ideal clients are as well as your networking and referral partners.  Those are the people you want to add to your network.  Always send a personal note with a good reason for connecting- selling to them is not a good reason.  View their profile, view their company’s LinkedIn page.  Engage in their content and their company’s content.  You don’t have to go right for the connection right away, warm it up.

If you’re like me and you have had multiple positions throughout your tenure on LinkedIn, you may have to ‘cull the herd’ so to speak.  You may need to start sifting through your connections and disconnect from those who no longer suit your goals on LinkedIn.  Unfortunately, this is a laborious process, so it will take time.

Lastly, Larry doesn’t use any automation for his LinkedIn networking building.  Larry’s all about authenticity and true connection.  Manage your own LinkedIn account and connect with authenticity and genuineness.  There’s too much fake and phony on the platform already, to truly stand out, you need to be different and actually giving a rip about people will help you do just that.

By having a network of your clients, prospects and networking partners you create an audience for the right kind of content. A good audience + good content = good engagement.

 

Quality Content

This is an area many salespeople struggle with.  On a recent episode of the Selling From The Heart Podcast, Nigel Green made the observation that if you’re going to be good at selling, you need to be really good at writing copy.

You may not realize it, but you create content everyday.  Every time you deal with a client’s challenges, every time you deliver your product and/or service and help your client, that can be content.

The important thing is to capture that information and present it to your audience in an energetic and educational way.  Too often, as salespeople, we want to toot our own horn and say “look what we did”, but people see right through that.  Instead of tooting our own horn, let’s educate our audience about what led to the challenge, how the challenge was overcome and how they can avoid that challenge in the future.

When you write a message, write a post, write an email, ask yourself if you were the person receiving it, would it cause you to take an action, aside from hitting the delete button?

Stop focusing on what you want to write about and focus on what your prospects actually care about. The goal of your content should be to not only receive impressions (views), likes and comments, but to also inspire conversations.  Conversations need to happen in order for relationships to be built and trust to be established.

 

Consistency

“We don’t rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems.”

James Clear

Larry posts EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Many times he posts multiple times per day.  That takes commitment, dedication and discipline.  It also takes a system.  As the quote above says, systems are the beginning and ending of our achievements.  Do you have a system when it comes to creating and posting content on LinkedIn?  Do you have a system in place to vet incoming connection requests so you’re building a quality network of professionals that will engage with and on your content?  Do you have a system in place to reach out to potential prospects with value that leads to a connection and then a relationship?

You can have a goal to use LinkedIn more.  That’s great, but a goal is one thing, what you need to do is create a system.  Maybe posting everyday isn’t realistic for you.  Can you post every other day?  

The average LinkedIn user doesn’t post.  LinkedIn’s own stats show that only 1% of active monthly users post at least once per week.  

I suggest starting with a system that will create some consistency.  

Decide on posting at least 3 times per week and post no matter what.

Create quality content that educates and then, whatever you do, don’t ignore that who engage with your content!

 

ENGAGE!

Every time I think of that word I think of Capt. Jean-Luc Piccard from Star Trek: The Next Generation as he would instruct the crew at the set off on some new journey.

One of my huge values in teaching social selling to sales professionals is to make sure you ALWAYS treat people the same way in the digital space, as you would in the face-to-face.

 

Imagine you’re standing on the side of the road with a sign.  That sign represents your posted content.  When people drive by the honk, give the thumbs up, maybe raise another digit to express disagreement.  All of these activities are engagement with your message.  

The real special engagement is when someone pulls over and rolls their window down to make a comment on your sign or ask a question.  Imagine that when they do that, you turn around and walk away.  Rude, right?

 

That’s what you’re doing when people comment on your content and you don’t reply back.  You’re being rude and you’re signaling to LinkedIn that your content isn’t inspiring conversation (and triggering the algorithm to expose the content to more people) and so your content fizzles out.

 

I suggest you reply to EVERY comment, especially in the first hour or so of posting.  Look for opportunities to engage with people who are you clients and prospects.  You want to look for moments to connect, build relationship and take a conversation away from LinkedIn to a phone call, a zoom call or an in-person conversation.  This is truly the end goal of all virtual selling, digital selling, social selling, heck, just plain old SELLING.  Make a connection, build a relationship, have a conversation and build trust.

 

Larry Levine does this each and every day and that’s why he has 10,000 subscribers to his “No More Empty Suits” newsletter and why his calendar is full of meetings with clients and potential clients.

 

You can start selling from the heart on LinkedIn when you work on getting better in these four areas when it comes to your LinkedIn use.

Originally published on Bill McCormick’s LinkedIn

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