LinkedIn is the go to place for sales people doing discovery on their prospects. It is also the place customer 2.0 prospects go to do some discovery on the sales people they do business with. With over 85 million people on LinkedIn, it always surprises me when I talk to a sales team (especially in the high-tech industry) and find even one without a LinkedIn profile.
Every sales person needs a LinkedIn profile. It is your single most important online asset besides your email address. You are doing yourself a huge disservice professionally if you do not have one.
- Find past coworkers: You may be new in your career as a sales professional or maybe a veteran, either way, LinkedIn will help you keep the connections and friends you make at work only a mouse click away. Sure you have their contact information already but you can lose your computer or delete the record on accident. LinkedIn lets you keep people in a digital address book that makes sure you dont lose contact. Your address book wont keep you up to date on the latest happenings with your coworkers either.
- Build your online identity: Your professional sales 2.0 career is more dependent on your online identity than ever before. If you are serious about becoming a sales leader or expert, without your personal brand being stamped in cement you will be facing an uphill battle. There are many things you should do to make sure your personal brand is front and center but having an well crafted and interactive LinkedIn profile is the best place to start.
- Get new opportunities: People use LinkedIn to find recommendations on products/services. From the LinkedIn Groups to the Answers page, thousands of people a day are looking for help making decisions. As a sales person you should be in these groups or at least setting up email alerts so you can scan the groups to see if you can offer some help and create a new opportunity.
- Learn something new: As a professional you should spend a portion of your day getting better educated on your industry or the latest sales trends. LinkedIn is a focal point for these types of discussions and you have the ability to tap into a network of experts that can help guide you through some of the obstacles you face in your sales efforts.
- Get some credibility: This goes along with #2 but in more detail. As you get more experience, you should be helping other professionals by answering questions. As you help people even if its only a couple times a week you will see your profile being looked at by more and more people. Your prospects are looking at your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you update your LinkedIn profile and give your prospects an excellent representation of who you are.
- Become an expert: The quickest way to get and grow your credibility is to become a social selling expert. The ability to be seen by millions of LinkedIn users trying to make decisions will help build your credibility to the point you are the go to person when it comes to getting help. This could be one of the most influential moves you could make to build your career into exactly what you want it to be.
- Grow your pipeline: Speaking from experience, LinkedIn is a great way for you to take your sales career to another level. As you build your network, become an expert in your space and build your personal brand, you will find more people coming to you for help related to your product or service. This will create a snow ball effect and eventually people from all over LinkedIn will be singing your praises and driving more leads to you.
- Help out a friend: Let’s face it, these are some tough times when it comes to finding a job. Being on LinkedIn will let you connect people you know with others in your network that may be looking for some new talent. You can be the connector that brings someone out of unemployment or maybe you will need to tap into your network when you are looking for a job. Either way, LinkedIn helps facilitate this process easily.
- Find a new job: The job board on LinkedIn is more likely to land you a new position than Monster.com. Because your job inquiry will be directly linked to your LinkedIn profile, employers and hiring managers will be able to quickly decide if you are the right person to talk to. The search features in LinkedIn jobs is one of the best I’ve seen and should be used if you are looking for a new place to work.
- Get found by a new job: Recruiters make up for a decent chunk of people on LinkedIn along with hiring managers. Even if you are not actively looking for a new gig, here may be companies out there looking for someone with your exact talents. They run searches based on expertise, interests, past company and other identifiers that all lead them to your LinkedIn profile. This is more of a reason to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that you are seen is the most positive light possible.
Do you have Social Selling on LinkedIn questions? Leave me a comment.