“Above all else, sales is about establishing relevance. If you could somehow ensure that you’d be in front of people at the exact moment they needed to solve the precise problems that your product addressed, you’d close deals 100% of the time.”
The game of sales has undergone a transformation as buyer behavior responds to the ready availability of content and services. Cold calling and generic emails have become ineffective; consumers have all the information they need about a product or service literally at their fingertips.
Today’s sales professionals are adapting to a new approach. Today, opportunity lies in proactive lead generation: connecting with customers while they’re still on the hunt. Reciprocal in nature, social selling is an approach that gives generously before it receives.
The Power of LinkedIn’s Referral Pipeline: Accomplishment Lies in Connection
Now, professionals are using LinkedIn to connect with and engage customers through a process called social selling. Here, you can build a reputation as a thought leader, developing trusted relationships with quality connections who then reciprocate by introducing you to their own contacts. Before you can seal the deal, you must first build your pipeline — your network of quality contacts with which you share valuable insights.
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LinkedIn gives those who work in sales the opportunity “to access a network of more than 258 million members who generate over 2 billion status updates per week. You’re now able to identify and engage with more prospects than ever before,” as mentioned in 7 Ways Sales Professionals Drive Revenue with Social Selling.
Here are three steps to take when building your referral pipeline through LinkedIn:
1) Share valuable content to establish yourself as a thought leader. Sales professionals go beyond simply posting their resume. They share a diverse range of relevant content with their targeted connections that they wouldn’t want to miss. Remember that thought leaders are human and conversational; they avoid business and marketing speak.
2) Quality connections will reciprocate. When connecting with your customer, always remember that quality is more important than quantity. Remember this rule and your connections will reciprocate by introducing you to their connections.
3) Use referrals to expand and research. Using referrals from your customer, expand your social network. Consider their LinkedIn profile your “window to their connected world,” as Sales Benchmark Index put it. Thoroughly research their network, scrutinizing their competitors, suppliers, vendors, channel partners and association memberships.
Solving Problems Through Establishing Relevance
According to the paper, Drive Revenue with Social Selling “Above all else, sales is about establishing relevance. If you could somehow ensure that you’d be in front of people at the exact moment they needed to solve the precise problems that your product addressed, you’d close deals 100% of the time.”
The relationship dynamic between sales professional and customer has enjoyed a content-fueled, socially contagious transformation. This is an accomplishment that benefits both parties; it’s based on respect, reciprocity and anticipating the needs of the customer.