We’re all selling something. It might not be a physical product; it could be a virtual service. Needless to say, with 200+ million professionals currently engaged on LinkedIn, there has never been a greater opportunity to connect with other professionals to generate an authentic network of clients through a strategy called social selling.
Who can benefit from a social selling strategy? We’ll offer some examples:
- A woman owns a surf shop in California. On her LinkedIn profile, she posts quality content detailing surfing strategies, safety procedures to always abide by and interesting facts about the ocean blue. Surfing enthusiasts and the newly interested alike follow her content. She builds a network of these like-minded folk. Soon, they’re hanging out in her shop not just to buy surfing gear, but also to discuss surfing tips. She’s recently begun teaching surfing lessons, due to her recognized expertise in the field and the steady stream of people interested in participating.
- A freelancer understands well that content is king, and social selling reaches those in need of content writers. So he publishes original samples on his LinkedIn profile based on his passion as a wildlife enthusiast. One week, he writes about birds of the National Forest bordering his city, while the next, he comments on the lifestyle of the inner city fox. He connects with other wildlife lovers, initiating friendly discussions on invasive species. He also targets and connects with businesses and organizations aimed at wildlife conservation, outfitters providing backcountry survival supplies and travel magazines. He then receives a proposition from a woman interested in preserving National Forests who needs steady content for her new website.
- A woman has discovered her passion for inspiring others: she now aspires to become an inspirational speaker and empower others to reach their potential. Though she’s new to speaking, she joins groups comprised of professionals who are already experts in the field. She connects with them and researches the clients they already have. She builds her profile, writing inspirational content. She connects with organizations who regularly hire speakers to motivate their members. Soon, she has recommendations to add to her profile and is now scheduling her first speaking tour.
Remember: “You must, you must, continually network, network, network. But you can’t just have a bunch of people in your LinkedIn contacts and think it gets you a sure in. You’ve got to strengthen the links between you and a prospect.“-5 Ways to Improve Outbound Sales Performance
Of course, these are just a few of the infinite possibilities. It’s up to the individual professional to decide what exactly they want to market, but the how is important too. Social selling enables sales professionals to establish themselves as a trusted thought leader, showcase their authentic passions and connect with others who share their interests.