By Robyn Johnson
Being able to leverage social media is more important than you’ll ever know. LinkedIn is one of the top social media outlets you should have under your belt. “Connecting and knowing your connections on LinkedIn could be the differ
ence between making cold calls and warm calls all day long. Most telemarketers are making 100 to 200 cold calls a day even though cold calls are not effective,” says Kendra Ramirez, a social media innovator and strategist.
LinkedIn by the Numbers
|Number of Users:||
100 Million +
|Average Number of Connections per User:||
|Average Number of 2nd-level Connections per User:||
“Today, we have too much data at our fingertips to let cold calls bring us down. The reasoning behind the lack of use of social media to make sales easier is because a lot of sales teams are not doing the pre-call planning,” says Ramirez. “Pre-call planning does take time, but in essence, it actually shortens the time it takes to complete a sale. When you are able to leverage a mutual connection, you are coming to the table with credibility. People are willing to speak with you knowing that you have 25 mutual connections.”
The old saying “quality versus quantity” applies here. Even though you might not know each other well, you are still connected with each other. “When it comes to sales using social media, don’t play the numbers game. Use a platform such as LinkedIn just like your CRM. Use it as a customer relationship management tool,” says Ramirez. A way to make the relationship that you have on LinkedIn more effective is to meet the person, talk to them in person and get to know a little bit about them before connecting with them on LinkedIn. Another great opportunity for you to expand your network and connections is when someone connects with you in a local market. Take it upon yourself to find the reason they found you. “They must have found you for a reason; maybe there is something that they were specifically searching for when they found you. Send them a follow-up, and say something along the lines of ‘Hey, is there something I can help you with?’ this will break the ice. “
Even if you send a personal invitation to connect, don’t be surprised if you do not receive a reply. It’s human nature not to reply. “For whatever reason, that information will sit in their inbox and rot, even if they do accept your invitation,” says Ramirez. “You have more of a chance of NOT getting an answer if your invitation to connect is generic. This is why in-mail messages aren’t as effective as they could be. People aren’t taking the time to personalize it. They are sending out mass invitations to anyone and everyone.”
Another best practice is to get that stack of business cards from those meetings that you went to throughout the week, set aside some time on Friday afternoon and go through them. Connect with those people and make sure to send them a personalized greeting and thank them for their time. Those little things are going to separate you from your competitors.
Joining Like People
Groups are a great part of LinkedIn that you should take advantage of. It’s really important to find groups in your industry, so you know what’s hot, what’s coming, what’s going on and what’s being discussed within your industry. Groups allow you to target an audience that is participating. You will actually be able to look up decision-makers within those groups. It is possible for you to find leads inside of LinkedIn groups. If you think it will be hard to find a group within LinkedIn, think again. There are over 600,000 groups within LinkedIn and anyone can start a group.
Mistake to Avoid
“A lot of companies make the mistake of throwing a pizza party and teaching their employees LinkedIn themselves. They then sit and recommend each other. That’s great that you have recommendations, but those recommendations are now a little biased,” says Ramirez. “Really being able to speak on someone’s capabilities, products and services lends them some credibility.”
With the correct planning and execution, LinkedIn can be a great resource to connect with potential prospects. You just have to understand your company’s social media strategy and what pitfalls to avoid.
LISTEN to the complete interview with Kendra Ramirez on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, go to Kendra Ramirez’s website.