This is Part 5 in a 5-part series describing an effective LinkedIn strategy for selling high value products and services.
Part 5: LinkedIn Engagement Actions
In order for this high-value LinkedIn outreach strategy to work, you must engage with people on a regular basis. This means inviting relevant people and liking, commenting and sharing content that’s relevant to your business.
LinkedIn “People You May Know”
There’s an important section on LinkedIn called “People You May Know” at https://www.linkedin.com/mynetwork/
This feature suggests potentially relevant people with whom you may want connect. The great thing is you can send connection requests without filling out a form (as you must when you click “Connect” on someone’s profile). This saves a lot of time!
As part of a good LinkedIn strategy you want to visit this area once or twice a week. Scan it and connect with 10-20 ideal target customers, headhunters and LIONS (LinkedIn Open Networkers) you find.
NOTE: It’s very important to be selective and connect only with people that are relevant to you. Just going down the page and randomly clicking “Connect” will get your account suspended. It will also fill your network with irrelevant people. It’s bad form so don’t do it.
You can connect using one of two techniques:
- Click the “Connect” button to send a generic connection invite, or
- Click the person’s photo which allows you to personalize your invite (using the same connection form as the “Connect” button on that person’s profile).
This LinkedIn step will increase your targeted connections. Once people become part of your first-degree network, you can message them all you want.
How to Message Prospects on LinkedIn Without a Spam Penalty
Next, you want to regularly send out short messages to your new LinkedIn contacts. You have a choice here:
- Message them immediately
- Wait a few days or a week and message them after a “cooling off” period
We strongly advise doing the latter. You should ONLY send personalized messages that show you’ve done some research on the prospect’s company and needs.
Even better, dispense with the sales message altogether and send the prospect something that actually helps them — an article, blog post, industry research report, etc.
Question: Why not cut to the chase and message prospects immediately?
Answer: Because LinkedIn has become riddled with message spam from unscrupulous “lead generation agencies”.
When selling high-value (typically low volume) products or services, you should treat your LinkedIn relationships like gold. You want to court them slowly and give them the white glove treatment. Sales cycles tend to be long anyway, so a few days or weeks won’t matter.
We advise being very “light touch” and reaching out after some time has elapsed. If you follow this LinkedIn strategy you shouldn’t have any problem building your network with potential prospects, so don’t feel pressed to hurry things up and get to the sale. Take your time and be personalized, or you will kill the relationship on day 1.
“But I want to hit ’em right away!”
If you’re all hot under the collar about messaging sales prospects fast, you should use InMails (frankly this doesn’t work but you asked for it).
If you insist on messaging new first degree connections quickly, here is an efficient 3-step way to do so:
What Messages Work Well in a LinkedIn Strategy?
Personalize it like this:
“Hi Dan, I see you went to Columbia Business School. I was there in ’91…”
“Hi Maria, I see you volunteer for the Humane Society. That’s really admirable…”
Keep it short and sweet. For each paragraph you add, your chances of a response drop by 50%. A 2-4 sentence message works best.
Break up your message with white space between sentences so it’s easy to read on a mobile.
It’s best to invite the prospect to have a conversation about getting benefits you can provide. Leave out the nitty-gritty details of your product or service, external links, white papers, etc. You’re just trying to get a phone call or message conversation going. Remember, micro-steps here…
LinkedIn Messages You Can Test
Here are some LinkedIn message options to test (you should definitely test response rates):
- The Direct Sale (“I sell X, are you interested in a quick 5 minute chat?”)
- Brainstorm (“I specializing in helping clients do ABC, are you interested in a brainstorm to see if I can help you uncover any opportunity in your business?”)
- Referral (“Hi, you and I are connected to Thomas. He mentioned you…” Be truthful or you will get caught!)
- The Get to Know My Network (“I like to speak with everybody in my network…”)
- Here’s Something Helpful (link to a good blog post, webinar invitation, free how-to guide, white paper download, survey, etc. This can be spammy, so make sure it is acceptable behavior in your market before doing it.)
If there is no response for a few days you can send a reminder message. A one-liner is fine — you’re just looking for a yes or no. Follow-ups are good every few weeks, just don’t hound people.
Like, Comment and Share Articles and Posts on LinkedIn
Liking, commenting and sharing Articles and Posts are a necessary part of a solid LinkedIn strategy. This is something you should to on a daily basis.
Try for 5-10 interactions per day. This keeps you “front of mind” in your network and helps to attract new relevant connections.
Be selective with the topics you choose to engage on. Almost everything you do on LinkedIn shows up in your stream. Skip the political conversations (unless you’re a politician, lobbyist or otherwise in the business of politics) and stick to direct business topics. Use this as an opportunity to increase your credibility, not destroy it!
Endorse People for Skills in Your First-Degree LinkedIn Network
Endorsements are an important part of an effective LinkedIn strategy. You can endorse your connections’ skills after you connect. Go to their profile and find the Skills & Endorsements section (not everybody has this).
You can also respond to LinkedIn’s endorsement suggestions.
We suggest being selective about whom you endorse and for what skills (you should endorse skills you know they’re great at).
Endorsing re-engages with people with whom you haven’t interacted for awhile. When you endorse somebody, 50% of the time they will visit your profile and be reminded of your relationship and the value you offer. It might just be the exact time they need your product or service!
With this 5-part LinkedIn strategy you’ll be on your way to landing new high-value business!