Leveraging LinkedIn to Get In the Door

By Seth Klebe

As I sit on the train each morning to get to work, the people who aren’t catching up on sleep are using their laptops and cellphones; it’s safe to say that we live in a digital age. Because of this, we are in an environment where people elect to put a large portion of themselves online. This is great for anyone in the business of building relationships because the internet can provide someone with valuable insights into someone else. More specifically, websites like LinkedIn are a great resource to assist with this because those insights can be used to relate to your customers, increase your likeability, build trust, and show that you’re interested in more than just making a sale. Below are some tips for how to efficiently use and maximize the information that you learn on LinkedIn about your leads, customers, and network.

Find the commonalities, and share them!

When I look up someone’s LinkedIn information before jumping on a call with them (something you should always do and take note of in your CRM), I look for what things we have in common so that I can build genuine rapport before jumping into the meat of the call itself. Because your time is valuable, you should focus on the key information that LinkedIn provides:

  • 2nd degree connections
  • where they grew up and went to school
  • their work and volunteer experience
  • their interests

Once you know which information relates to you and what you want to bring up during your call, weave that into your opening conversation so that you can start building the relationship right from the start, rather than at the end of the call when the customer may already be less invested in the conversation. Since technology sales today is largely done over email and on phone to the point where you may never meet the customer in-person, it is even more important to build those relationships so that you become less of a stranger, quicker.

But what if we don’t have anything in common?

This happens, and it’s okay! Since the most effective salespeople tend to be curious and ask a lot of questions, you can shift that curiosity about someone’s business to something else highlighted on their LinkedIn profile that piques your interest. One of my favorite things about sales is the privilege to get to know people who come from different places, industries, and backgrounds. So I constantly ask customers about their past work experience and interests. The best part about this is that it gets customers excited to talk to you about their interests and experiences and you are showing genuine excitement to learn from them.

Lastly, keep in mind that you should only ask about aspects of someone’s life if it truly interests you because people can smell when others are faking it to try and build trust and rapport. Curiosity killed the cat, and fake curiosity might just kill your deal.

Pro-tips for taking LinkedIn a step further

At the end of the day LinkedIn is a great tool, but we discover much deeper information about people’s lives and business goals during the communication that happens during the sale cycle. I hold the philosophy that what we learn during our calls and conversations is actually equally valuable as what we learn about their business problems and needs in order to close a deal. Because of this, I treat social information that our inbound lead team puts into their notes in RelateIQ the same as the sales qualification information.

Lastly, a majority of sales boils down to the ability to connect to others in a meaningful way to provide the right solution for their business. If you really connect with someone over a call or product demo, then you should send them a LinkedIn request afterwards that includes a personal message because it lets others know that you value them and want them to become a part of your network. You would be surprised how far this goes for your current deal, for future deals and referrals, and for building solid professional relationships.

This post originally appeared on the RelateIQ blog.

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