I recently connected with Viveka von Rosen, one of the top LinkedIn experts in the world, author of “LinkedIn Marketing: Hour a Day“, international keynote speaker, and listed as one of Forbes Top 20 Most Influential experts in her space.
She is an awesome thought leader and I love her perspective on sales and social selling!
Check out the interview:
Jorge: I love to ask this question, what does sales mean to you?
Viveka: My good friend Bob Burg says “All things being equal, people do business with, and refer people they know like and trust.” To me sales means a lot more than just exchanging the product or service for money. It means discovering the clients needs, providing them with the solution, making their lives easier (or happier, or more successful, or more efficient, or more fun or richer.) In sales I truly believe in a win-win situation. I detest the cheesy “let me know what I can do for you to get you into a car today” spiel leaves both parties feeling like crap. I just had a RV sales guy ask me “What price will make you happy?” Umm – $1! That’s not going to work. What he should of done rather than trying to get right to price was find out why I was interested in buying an RV.
What was my motivation? (It sure wasn’t spending money.) If he’d dropped the hard sell and instead sold me on the feeling of freedom, life balance, time spent with family, ease of set up, he might have parted me from my 21K! I love sales – but I never want to be THAT sales gal and I don’t want to be sold to by that cheesy sales guy. Build a relationship with me, solve my problems and help me achieve my goals and money is much less of an issue.
Jorge: How do Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn compare against each other in terms of selling functionality?
Viveka: I think Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to position yourself as an expert. They are all great places to build relationships with potential clients, and with referral partners. Facebook tends to lean more towards B2C where LinkedIn leans more towards B2B. Although of course you can do B2B business on Facebook and B2C business on LinkedIn!
They are all great places to find your prospects – although I happen to think that LinkedIn has the best search feature and communications tools. And a build in CRM!
How I use the different social media sites is:
Twitter is my PR vehicle, my subject matter positioning platform and my marketing tool. A lot of my interviews and some of my jobs come through Twitter. I use Facebook to deepen my relationships and stay in touch with my referral partners, clients and prospects.
Also Facebook ads have a lot higher ROI than LinkedIn ads – so my social advertising budget gets poured into Facebook.
But LinkedIn is where my bread-and-butter sales come from. Finding and engaging with my ideal clients and/or partners and staying top of mind with them through updates and messages have really benefited my business. I actually get more leads than I can follow up with in my LinkedIn inbox every week!
Jorge: What three tips would you give the sales person at an early stage start up about leveraging LinkedIn?
Viveka: It’s going to sound antithetical – but don’t use LinkedIn to sell your stuff. You want to use your LinkedIn to build authentic relationships. From those authentic relationships will spring much business!
The first thing you want to do is use your LinkedIn profile to position yourself as someone knowledgeable in your field. Use your LinkedIn profile to build credibility. Take the time to fill out all relevant sections – don’t just try and whip it out in an hour. Upload examples of your work. Use the Summary section to share statistics and numbers that reflect your successes. Add any sales awards that you’ve received. Grow your network proactively. Don’t wait until you desperately need a client to reach out to them. Use LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” function (top right of home page) to proactively connect with people who you might one day do business with.
Finally – use LinkedIn’s internal CRM Contacts and Relationship feature to tag your network so that you can segment and organize them. (Contacts is under Network on the main menu bar and Relationship is the little star under the picture of a member’s profile). Use “Relationships” to keep notes on your potential clients and existing clients. And use it to set reminders to follow up with existing and potential clients. You can also use Pulse to share content your prospects and clients might be interested in – thereby staying top of mind with them.
Doing all of this together may seem prohibited – but it actually only takes about 20 minutes today. And it will really lends to that feeling of “know like and trust.”
Jorge: What are your favorite LinkedIn Features for Selling?
Viveka: My favorite LinkedIn features are the newest version of “Who’s Viewed Your Profile”. W the $24 a month paid membership I can get a lot of cool statistics to find out how people are finding me, and where they’re finding me, and what companies are looking at me (to name just a few). If five people from the same company have looked at me – there’s probably a reason why. I’m going to reach out to that company to see if I could be of service.
Also – with the paid account I get to see everyone who has viewed my profile. People who viewed your profile are either prospects or competitors. If they are prospects, follow up with them immediately by asking them to connect or sending them a message! If their competitors, they could very well become referral partners.
I also like the new Contacts feature (mentioned above). I am not the queen of organization – so it allows me to organize and manage and systematically engaged with my network. It also helps me from losing those valuable prospects down the cracks of my previously sketchy follow up.
Jorge: Anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your company?
Viveka: I think LinkedIn is one of the best platforms any sales person can use to increase their business. I write the whole blog about it at www.LinkedIntoBusiness.com. For sales people who want even more in- depth training, there’s a free video at linkedprospecting.com. And if you’ve already decided you want more training from me, I have a whole LinkedIn prospecting program at bit.ly/LinkedProspecting.
You can always find me and many other LinkedIn experts on my tweet chat #LinkedInChat every Tuesday night at 8pm Eastern.
And of course feel free to ask me any LinkedIn questions you have at Viveka@Linkedintobusiness.com