If you’ve spent any time on LinkedIn recently, you’ll probably have seen the term “social-selling” a few times. Social-selling is one of the core tenets of “modern selling”, with its central philosophy being the art of selling without selling. Of all the mediums a founder has available to them, Linkedin is undoubtedly the best platform available for doing this. But how is this possible? How can you make a sale without selling something, and why is LinkedIn the best platform for doing this?
What is social selling?
There is nothing worse than connecting with someone new on LinkedIn, only to receive a cold, copy-and-pasted sales pitch within 5 minutes of connection. This approach does nothing to build rapport between salesman and prospect, and can actually damage the potential for a future relationship.
Social selling takes the opposite approach. It’s the process of developing mutually beneficial relationships as part of the sales process. Instead of opening with a sales pitch, nurture that connection into a relationship. Over time, as the relationship grows, you’ll find you won’t even need to sell to your prospects. If you’re doing it right, you’ll have positioned yourself as an industry leader, and your prospects will come to you.
But how do you know if you’re doing it right? What areas should you be focusing on? Is there a way to check?
Yes, there is: the social selling index.
The social selling index
The LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) is a real time assessment of how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. It’s updated on a daily basis. This tool provides a great way for you to monitor how effectively you are leveraging the LinkedIn platform. It’s also free, and everyone has one. You can check yours by clicking the link below.
Your SSI is an aggregate score of 4 areas:
Establish your professional brand
Find the right people
Engage with insights
Each of this areas is assessed by the LinkedIn algorithm and scored out of 25, with your SSI then being a total score out of 100.
Establish your personal brand
Strong personal branding is essential if you are looking to fully harness the power of LinkedIn to generate more revenue. The foundation of strong personal branding is an optimized profile. Profiles with 100% completeness are favoured heavily by the search algorithm, so make sure you avoid these mistakes and you’ll be at the top of the search results in no time.
Once you’ve got your profile finely tuned, you’ll need to establish yourself as a thought leader. This means producing content that reflects your expertise. CEOs, as an example, are often subject matter experts. However, because of their lack of content/time to produce content, they are not seen as thought leaders. By producing a variety of content that your audience will find valuable, you’ll build credibility, and start to be seen as a thought leader as well as an authority in your industry.
Find the right people
Social selling is only possible if you’re correctly identifying your ideal customers. LinkedIn is perfect for this, with a host of powerful search tools that will help you to pinpoint the key decision makers that you need to be engaging with. Searches are only a small part of finding the right people. You can also utilize warm introductions to 2nd degree connections. Once you’re connecting with the right people, look to establish commonalities with them.
Engage with insights
Engaging with insights is another part of the personal branding puzzle, and is equally important in defining your content strategy. This is how you build the commonalities mentioned above. By regularly sharing valuable resources, sharing your insights about your industry, or talking about the problem you are trying to solve, you position yourself as a trusted source of information. Doing this whilst engaging with your prospects insights builds trust on both sides and strengthens personal connections.
LinkedIn is an incredible tool for building relationships with key decision makers. By connecting with multiple key decision makers within your prospects organization, and by regularly providing them with value, you’ll be seen as the go-to in your industry. Periodically reach out, providing them with valuable content or insights on things which are relevant to them.
When the time comes, they’ll come straight to you, and you’ll have made a sale without selling.
Increase you SSI for 10x results
Social selling is the most effective approach to take for CEOs, founders, or executives who are looking to grow their business using LinkedIn. To understand how effective you are at social selling, the SSI is a great benchmarking tool. By building a strong personal brand and finding the right people, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to supercharge your growth. Focus on relationship building, and regularly engage with insight, and you’ll be well on your way to maxing out your SSI, meaning more prospects, more sales, and more revenue.