Sales professionals understand both the power and practical applications of social media.

By utilizing your most powerful prospecting tool and the epicenter of the social selling universe – LinkedIn – today’s socially savvy sales pro easily makes inroads into accounts and secures introductions to champions and key decision makers.

But it’s been a while, and much like all relationships – personal and professional – your LinkedIn network most likely could use some much-needed attention.

Remember, it’s six times easier to sell to an existing client than it is to generate new business. Now is the best time to conduct a top-to-bottom audit of these valuable social connections – before it’s too late.

With an eye firmly fixed upon the bottom line, follow these six sure-fire social selling tips to rejuvenate and pump new life into your LinkedIn network:

1) Make new connections

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is. Perform an advanced LinkedIn search using strong keywords specific to your ideal buyer persona. Once you’ve identified a prospective connection, avoid the hard sell approach. Keep it casual – don’t propose marriage on the first date. Craft a personalized connection message that provides both context (describe why you are sending your prospect a connection request) and value (position yourself as a valuable resource of information for a specific topic.)

2) Talk to existing connections

LinkedIn offers another easy search feature that may yield surprising results. Clicking the “Connections” tab from your home page opens your existing LinkedIn network. You can sort your connections by most recent conversation and also search your network for a particular person. Shocked that you haven’t spoken with that hot prospect or named account in months? Don’t panic – you can message him/her directly from this page. Remember, when sales professionals show they are human and make a personal connection through conversation – building a relationship without trying to sell – the sales process naturally evolves.

3) Join a new group – and participate

Participation is paramount. Ask yourself this question: why are you joining a LinkedIn group if you don’t have something to offer? Being a sponge is OK – you do learn from listening – but it’s time to get on the dance floor and show off your best moves. The first step is always a little awkward, but once your content or comment receives that first like, comment, or share – it’s all worth it. LinkedIn allows you to join 50 groups – find groups that fit your buyer persona and allow you to establish thought leadership. It will pay dividends.

4) Give an endorsement

You’ve undoubtedly done business with someone in the past, or recently, who had a positive experience with your product or solution. Perhaps a long time has passed (or what seemed like a long time), so you are reluctant to contact this client. Don’t be. Start with an endorsement of his/her skills – not just the top skills listed on his/her LinkedIn profile or only those listed. I like to send my client a message stating, “I’m thinking about endorsing you for these skills (list skills). Are there any skills in particular for which you wish to be endorsed?” More than 10 million endorsements are given every day on LinkedIn, and an average LinkedIn user receives 5 endorsements. Give endorsements first – and freely – without expecting anything in return. You will be pleasantly surprised where this conversation leads.

5) Provide a recommendation

A LinkedIn recommendation is more powerful than an endorsement. It is an excellent way to demonstrate the value you’ve offered in previous working relationships. Your buyers review your LinkedIn profile as a part of their due diligence process, and recommendations help to establish your credibility and demonstrate that you’ve solved similar challenges. Again, I like to give recommendations without asking for one in return. I will only ask for a recommendation when I know that I’ve done something worth recommending. And please, keep your recommendations business-like. I’m certain my mother would recommend me (I hope), and I know my secret chocolate chip cookie recipe is worth recommending – but not on LinkedIn.

6) Share content

I’ve written this in previous blog posts, and I cannot emphasize this statement enough: content is the lifeblood of social selling. Without a constant source of relevant and helpful content, your prospects and potential buyers will wither on the vine and die like spoiled fruit. It’s not difficult – set aside five minutes each day to review your LinkedIn home feed and like, comment, or share something on LinkedIn. It does not matter whether you create, curate, reuse, recycle, or repurpose – but publish, or your existing LinkedIn network will perish.

Sales professionals, how do you keep your social network healthy and thriving?