However many sales people tell us LinkedIn doesn’t work for them. In this article we talk about the three most important misperceptions.
1. I have made a Profile, now potential customers will contact me one after the other.
a. Though crafting a good Profile helps to be found by people who are looking for your expertise, products or services (via Linkedin or via Google or other search engines), this is not where the power of LinkedIn resides.
b. LinkedIn is a very powerful tool for sales people who are proactive and don’t wait till someone contacts them.
2. I have sent some potential customers an Invitation. However they don’t accept the Invitation or don’t respond to my messages to buy my products or services.
a. LinkedIn is a NETWORK tool and not a SALES tool. LinkedIn helps to build relationships with people. If you use it like a “cold calling machine” the reaction of people will be the same as with a “cold call”: no reaction or rejection. Not only this is not effective and not very efficient, but there is also another danger: LinkedIn has some tools that people could use to indicate that you are a spammer. If you get too many of these “flags”, your possibilities to connect with other people will be reduced dramatically.
b. Always remember it is about building relationships. The golden rule of Bob Burg always applies: “All things being equal people do business with and refer business to people they know, like and trust.” LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to increase these 3 factors if done in the right way. Crafting a good Profile, helping others in Discussions and Answers and not pushing your products or services you already helps a lot, just like in “real life”.
3. I use the “Get Introduced To” function to get me referred by my network to potential customers.
a. Though this approach might get you some results, it is not always the best option. Your own network doesn’t always forwards your messages and the prospect doesn’t always reply. There might be several reasons for that, but the reasons most people don’t think of are: your contact doesn’t know the prospect well enough, your contact doesn’t know you well enough or your contact thinks that your message is too pushy.
b. Instead use LinkedIn as a research database to discover the relationships between people and then proceed outside of LinkedIn. Call your contact and explain him the situation. If he responds positively, ask him to write an email to introduce you and the prospect to each other. In this way your prospect receives the message from someone he already knows and trusts. If you use LinkedIn you are the one who takes the initiative, which is much less powerful.