Social Selling

Don’t Neglect This 2019 Professional Resolution

Don’t Neglect This 2019 Professional Resolution

We’re all familiar with the “New Year, New You” types of resolutions that crop up as January approaches. For 2019, why not apply a twist to that concept: instead of vowing to refresh your wardrobe or raise the bar on your workout regime, try revitalizing your LinkedIn profile with fresh feedback…Start by identifying four people in your network whose LinkedIn recommendations would add important insights to your professional experience and highlight four additional people in your circle worthy of a little professional love.

Need-to-Know Update: LinkedIn Groups

Need-to-Know Update: LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn is working on “re-integrating LinkedIn Groups back into the core LinkedIn experience.” Read on to learn more about what this means for you as a LinkedIn member.

Part 4: Intentionally Connect

According to LinkedIn, “Data about your relationships referring to connections is the acceptance rate of your connection requests. If a member sends too many invites and less people accept it, then it would impact SSI.”

That’s it. Or is it?

Proactively building your network takes intention.

While there is certainly validity to having a larger network, I believe that the quality of our networks is more important than the sheer number of LinkedIn connections. That said, you probably know more people that you realize. Think about it: Clients, vendors, prospective clients, networking contacts, current colleagues, past colleagues, community connections (i.e. via organizations you serve), and don’t forget about your alumni network.

The more people you are connected on LinkedIn, the more visibility you get into your second and third level connections; this could translate to getting one person closer to connecting with your those decision-makers.

Here are some numbers to consider:

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We have made it to the finale: “PART 4: Intentionally Connect,” of my four-part series on using LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index score to benchmark your progress on LinkedIn and improve your engagement to yield more conversations for your business.

In case you missed them or need to reference back:

PART 1: It’s More Than You Think (includes “Profile Facelift: 10 Updates in 10 Days”)

PART 2: The Perks of Stalking (includes sophisticated Boolean searching tips)

PART 3: Proposals Before Nuptials (includes ideas for LinkedIn Groups to join)

Before reading further, it is time to re-calculate your SSI score. Remember LinkedIn is updating this weekly.

STOP. CLICK HERE. CALCULATE YOUR NEW SSI SCORE (and all four quadrants).

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Build Relationships: 25 points

·      Connections

·      Acceptance rate of your connection requests

I. Are you intentionally building your network?

Earlier in this post, I mentioned eight different groups of professionals who you may consider adding to your LinkedIn network. So, what should your network break out look like? Here is a suggested breakdown (+/- 5% for each category):

  • 85% people you know (clients, colleagues, networking contacts, community connections, vendors, professional acquaintances)
  • 10% people you don’t know yet, but are intentionally pursuing
  • 5% friends and family

This is how I approach my network, but it is simply a suggestion. I know colleagues who consult on LinkedIn like I do and they believe in ‘the more the merrier’ approach to their LinkedIn network because it increases their visibility exponentially. The reason I choose the former strategy is because I am in the business of connecting people. I know that I can more authentically introduce people and give back to my network when I know the people who actually make up my network.

You will have a higher invitation acceptance rate when you take my approach too because, again, you know the people you are inviting to join your network.

TIP: If too many people ignore (aka decline) your invitation and mark that they do not know you, you may be required to put in an email address every time you want to send an invitation. Remember these declines will also lower your “Build Relationships” quadrant of your Social Selling Index score.

II. Are you proactively building your network?

When should you send an invitation out? Before a meeting or after a meeting are the two options I stick with to keep me accountable to using LinkedIn as another touch point in communication.

While I am becoming a bigger fan of the mobile app, I never send invitations out through it because (as of the publishing of this post) there is not a way to personalize the invitation. Personalizing invitations is critical to increasing the likelihood of getting it accepted. Make your LinkedIn invitation stand out in their inbox.

LinkedIn celebrated their thirteenth birthday earlier this year and while they have crossed into their teenage years, they have not matured their standard LinkedIn invitation…We all know it:

Jack, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

This is so boring, unoriginal and may not warrant an acceptance. That’s why the only blue connect button you should ever click in LinkedIn, is within someone’s individual profile. This guarantees that you will have the opportunity to personalize you message to them.

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I have formed the habit of always selecting “We’ve done business together” along with my current position. I know that LinkedIn will not show the recipient this is the option I select, it is simply where I work, and I know that if I select “Friend,” “Other,” or “I don’t know” too many times, LinkedIn will eventually require me to put in an email address for every invitation I send out.

Use an invitation as a reminder for an upcoming meeting: “Sarah, looking forward to our meeting next Tuesday at 9:00am. Let’s connect.”

Use an invitation as a follow up after a meeting: “John, thanks for your time earlier today. Looking forward to working together. Let’s connect.”

Don’t overthink it. Keep it simple, but connect the dots for them.

Next Steps & Accountability

Building relationships on LinkedIn is remembering that LinkedIn is an online networking tool. It is a platform to connect with people who you are doing, have done or want to do business with. It is a supplement to your current business process and another touch point to stay top of mind with the professionals who matter to you the most.

Be proactive. Be intentional.

Where is your LinkedIn Social Selling Index score the lowest?

  1. Creating a professional brand
  2. Finding the right people
  3. Engaging with insights
  4. Building strong relationships

Focus on improving one quadrant at a time. Check your LinkedIn SSI score weekly to see if that quadrant score is increasing. Then, move on to the next quadrant that needs your attention.

Need accountability? Comment below with your SSI score and let’s track it as you make progress.

Part 3: Proposals Before Nuptials

We all know the sequence: Dating, proposing, wedding. The process of selling is not terribly different…with the likely exception of the new business deal fine print not reading: Till death do us part.

Use LinkedIn for ongoing touch points to ENGAGE your prospective clients while you are working towards closing the deal and beyond.

The selling process has many stages of interaction. From initial conversations, scoping out the work, signing the contract, to delivery of services, there are a myriad of ways we communicate throughout the process: phone, email, in-person meetings, webcast, and LinkedIn.

We are on to “PART 3: Engage with LinkedIn Insights,” of my four-part series on using LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index score to benchmark your progress on LinkedIn and improve your engagement to yield more conversations for your business.

In case you missed them or need to reference back:

·      PART 1: It’s More Than You Think (includes a “10-Day Profile Facelift")

·      PART 2: The Perks of Stalking (includes sophisticated Boolean searching tips)

Before reading further, it is time to re-calculate your SSI score. Remember LinkedIn is updating this weekly.

STOP. CLICK HERE. CALCULATE YOUR NEW SSI SCORE (and all four quadrants).

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Engage with insights: 25 points

·      Shares, likes, comments, and re-shares

·      Messages sent and response rate

·      Groups joined and engagement within Groups

I. Are you providing value to your network?

Part of the data that LinkedIn pulls for your “Engage with insights” SSI quadrant relates to the content you are sharing and your activity around your network’s content (i.e. likes, comments, and re-sharing).

While the majority of my published articles are on the topic of LinkedIn, I am cognizant not to only post content about LinkedIn. Why? Because not everyone in my network cares about LinkedIn as much as I care about it. And that’s okay! The professionals in my network are business owners, salespeople, recruiters, and top executives who manage teams. I focus on finding content that would be of interest to them: leadership, management, sourcing talent, prospecting, process improvement, brand awareness, etc.

Strengthen your connections by sharing relevant articles with them that show you are vested in their success. You will become a trusted source and advisor to them when you take this intentional approach.

Remember that an important aspect to this is engaging with your network’s activity too. Did you read a great article? Share it with your entire network. Like it. Comment on it and ask a question, or thank the author for an insightful post.

All of these, seemingly small, touches can have great impact. Your name and face will pop up on your network’s home page newsfeed when you take these actions; this keeps you top of mind.

BONUS: Not sure how active you are on LinkedIn? Check your recent activity by following these simple steps below:

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II. Are you privately reaching out to people on LinkedIn?

Frustrations: Do your sent emails get lost in the digital black hole of someone’s inbox? Do you have unlimited access to someone’s voicemail?

Potential Solution: Is your prospect on LinkedIn? Are you connected with him/her? Do you have a great article you want to send, but fear it will get lost in their email inbox? Try a different avenue: Send the article via a private LinkedIn direct message.

Sent LinkedIn messages and recipients responding to you are another data point taken into consideration on your 25 points of Engage with Insights.

Here is more food for thought, according to LinkedIn:

·      64% of B2B buyers report they appreciate hearing from a salesperson who provides knowledge or insight about their business.

·      LinkedIn messages have an 85% open rate of basic email. Why? They stand out in your recipient’s email inbox and they live in two inboxes: email and LinkedIn.

 

III. Are you joining and participating in Groups?

LinkedIn revamped their Groups last year. Here 9 Updates on LinkedIn Groups and you can now be a member of up to 100 Groups.

Here are four buckets to focus on when considering Groups to join:

·      Prospects & clients… Be visible

·      Industry… Learn from your peers

·      Alumni… Instantly something in common

·      Local… Network with your professional neighbors

Being a member of Groups is only part of this equation. Be an active participant in your Groups by sharing educational and insightful articles, like and comment on other member’s discussions, and even direct message other Group members. According to LinkedIn:

"You are 70% more likely to get an appointment or an unexpected sale if you are a member in LinkedIn Groups.”

Next Steps & Accountability

Engaging with insights on LinkedIn, as it relates to your Social Selling Index score, will be impacted by your interaction with content and activity via (1) shares, likes, comments and re-shares, the (2) direct messages you send to people along with response rate, and finally (3) the number of Groups you join and your engagement within those Groups.

Don't go dark once you have on-boarded your new clients. Stay in front of them online and here is why:

*Image ref: "Rethink the B2B Buyer's Journey" by LinkedIn

*Image ref: "Rethink the B2B Buyer's Journey" by LinkedIn

Be visible. Be active. The small touches add up and they help keep you top-of-mind with the people who matter to you the most.

What is your next step? Capture your overall SSI score and four quadrant scores!

Need accountability? Comment below with your SSI score and let’s track it as you make progress.

Part 2: The Perks of Stalking

It’s called searching, folks. Not stalking.

If you have been a client, heard me speak at an event or read any of my articles, you know that I do not condone the use of the word stalking when using LinkedIn. It is not the right term for how I teach professionals how to use LinkedIn as a business tool. So, why did I use it in the title of my post? I had to get you here, didn’t I? Now, let me jump into the good stuff to keep you here…

We’re on to “PART 2: Searching on LinkedIn,” of my four-part series on using LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index score to benchmark your progress on LinkedIn and improve your engagement to yield more conversations for your business.

Here is PART 1: It’s More Than You Think (includes “Profile Facelift: 10 Updates in 10 Days”), in case you missed it or need to reference back. Before reading further, it is time to re-calculate your SSI score. Remember LinkedIn is updating this weekly.

STOP. CLICK HERE. CALCULATE YOUR NEW SSI SCORE (and all four quadrants).

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Finding the right people: 25 points

·      Searching for people

·      Your profile views

·      Days active

I. Use LinkedIn to Search for People

The number one activity on LinkedIn is looking at profiles. If you are not surprised by this fact, then I hope you have nearly a perfect 25 out of 25 score in your first Social Selling Index quadrant relating to your professional brand, or, LinkedIn profile.

Use LinkedIn as a search tool to identify decision makers, potential candidates to hire, and your current and past clients. If you use LinkedIn enough and are still on the free subscription level, you may approach and hit the commercial search limit threshold. When you have a LinkedIn Premium subscription (especially Sales Navigator), you get access to many advanced filters to narrow down your search more quickly, more profile results to view, more saved searches to get more leads, and the list goes on.

Here are some of the basics from my previous colleague, Erin, on how to use LinkedIn’s advanced search functionality.

Are you using Boolean methodology when searching on LinkedIn? If you are not, you may not be not be impressed with LinkedIn’s database because LinkedIn is not returning the ‘right’ results back to you; when actually, you may not be asking the question in the correct way. It can be a tricky thing, but once you are comfortable with it, searching with Boolean is powerful. Here are a few tricks:

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Image credit to LinkedIn

BONUSWant a Boolean cheat sheet? Contact me. I’m happy to send it over to you.

II. Who’s Viewed YOUR Profile

Me: “By a show of hands, do you like viewing who is checking you out on LinkedIn?”

Audience: Cue all hands up.

I always ask this question in a group and without fail, everyone’s hands go up. We are curious creatures. We want to know who is looking at us. I always say that while that is interesting intel, it is what you do with that information that bears fruit. However, I will not digress with that separate topic of conversation…

The number of people looking at your profile is a factor LinkedIn considers when calculating your second Find the Right People quadrant. The more people who take a peak behind the curtain at your profile, the more coins you can add to your 25-point bucket.

III. How Active You Are on LinkedIn Matters

I reached out to LinkedIn on this element of the “Find the Right People” quadrant of the Social Selling Index score. Here is their definition:

Days Active refers to how many calendar days a year the user is active on the site. In other words, how many calendar days out of the year (or month) is the user signed on to LinkedIn and using the tools to prospect. The length of time signed on is not part of that measurement, just whether there was user activity on the site on that calendar day. 

I confirmed that this activity is accounted for across all devices including desktop, mobile, etc.

Next Steps & Accountability

Finding the right people on LinkedIn, as it relates to your Social Selling Index score, will be impacted by (1) your activity on LinkedIn, using it to (2) search for the right people and how many people are coming to (3) view your LinkedIn profile.

Don’t have an intentional time scheduled with LinkedIn yet? Set the timer on your phone for 30 minutes, 3 days each week to take action inside of LinkedIn. Search on LinkedIn for prospects, candidates to hire, and don’t forget about your current and past clients.

What is your next step? Capture your overall SSI score and four quadrant scores!

Need accountability? Comment below with your SSI score and let’s track it as you make progress.