This is a Microsoft Office sponsored post.
There was a lot going on back in the 1980’s. MTV, Rubik’s Cube, and Pee Wee Herman were pop culture icons. It’s also when I started in sales…or “carrying a bag” as sellers call it.
It Was the Best of Times – As a field salesperson for AT&T in the ‘80s, I used to be able to drive up to a prospect’s office, walk into their lobby, and ask to see the person. More often than not, that person would drop everything and come out to meet me, sometimes without me even having an appointment. A big reason for their attention was because, as the salesperson, I knew the latest product news that buyers needed. Remember kids, there was no Internet. Can you image that happening in todays’ busy world where prospects hide behind caller ID, voicemail and crowded email Inboxes?
It Was the Worst of Times – Back then, when I needed to do pre-call research on a C-level prospect in advance of an important meeting, I would drive to the library, pull out a 5-lb. book called Who’s Who in America, read what someone else wrote about that C-level executive a few years ago, and take notes in my Franklin Day-Timer. Today, we can use our mobile phone to instantly read what our prospects’ say about themselves in their LinkedIn profile or post on social networks 10 seconds ago.
Adapt to the Modern Buyer
If you’re still selling like it’s the ‘80s, you might find it’s harder than figuring out a Rubik’s Cube. That’s why today’s best sellers are adapting to today’s modern buyers and leveraging social networks like LinkedIn. These forward-thinking sellers are succeeding with new methods for researching prospects and getting their attention. If you’re sells to businesses (B2B), LinkedIn is the most effective social network.
So, how do you find and connect with decision makers using LinkedIn?
Here are two ways:
SEARCH: Searching is the most efficient way to zero in on your prospects. If you can describe your ideal customer in terms of the basic demographics available on LinkedIn, then you can get your ideal list in seconds. Imagine if you sold Information Security software to financial services companies in New York City and historical data indicated that your company was most successful with newer executives (no “we’ve always done it this way”). Using LinkedIn, you could identify Chief Information Security Officers of Financial Services companies in the Greater NYC metro area who assumed their role in the last 90 days. Talk about a hot lead list!
BROWSE: While not as efficient as Searching, a number of Browsing features and techniques can yield new prospects. One of the best is the “People Also Viewed” section on the right hand side of each person’s profile*. It shows ten other people; either ones with a different title at the same organization or ones with a similar title at different organization. If the seller in the example above is looking at one CISO’s profile, it’s likely she’ll see a few more of them in “People Also Viewed”. Another good method is Browsing the people who Like and Comment on high traffic content that is relevant to your industry. It’s similar to listening in on a group discussion at a conference where everyone’s badge displays their name, title, and company!
It doesn’t make much difference if you started selling last century or last week.
Today’s buyers rely on social networks like LinkedIn to stay informed and get reviews from peers.
If you want to thrive, learn how to find and connect with decision makers using LinkedIn.
Want to learn more about Social Selling? Click HERE to watch the recording of the Microsoft Office Small Business Academy webinar on Social Selling.