How to Use Your Personal LinkedIn to Grow Your Sales

These days, it’s hard to find a company that doesn’t have a website. With new template-based platforms, building a high-quality website doesn’t take much work or expense. It’s a simple way for potential customers to find you and get to know your company.

But a website is a passive means of acquiring new customers. It relies on them to do the legwork, either by looking for your website or hoping that your site comes up through a search for your product or a common problem you solve.

To be more proactive, many businesses are turning to social media to help them grow their sales. While it’s easy to dismiss social media as something that people use to record the petty details of their lunch and the cute thing their pet did, if you know how to use it correctly, it can be a powerful sales tool.

LinkedIn is a dedicated social media platform for professionals and businesses. While Facebook may still be king, with over 2 billion users, LinkedIn helps you be confident that you’re reaching business professionals and decision-makers, not just your neighbor and family members.

Why Use LinkedIn?

Connecting with people in a professional capacity sounds great, but how do you do it? If you’re using a search engine and working your way through company websites, you know what a challenge it can be to find the right contact information, let alone figure out who you should be connecting with. Nothing puts potential clients off more than an impersonal “Dear Building Manager” sales pitch.

With LinkedIn, you can use robust search tools to find the people you really want to connect with. Their advanced search features, Premium subscription and Sales Navigator tools are all about letting you define your search criteria and then refine the results. You can use them to search for potential connections:

  • In a particular geographic area

  • In a particular industry

  • At a specified company

  • With a specific job title

  • Who have been at their company for a particular period of time

And you can combine these criteria to really drill down to the people you want to reach out to. If you want to find architects in Idaho who are at the senior level or above and who have changed jobs in the last 30 days, LinkedIn can do that for you.

The benefit is that you can reach out to the people identified through a search, confident that they are in your target market. Maybe they’re decision-makers. Maybe they’re the people who work at the facility level and know fire and life safety challenges the best. The point is, using LinkedIn’s search features, you can reach out to them confident that you know the pain points specific to their job.

How To Use Your Personal LinkedIn Profile to Grow Your Sales

The first step in leveraging LinkedIn as a sales tool is to make sure you have a great, professional-looking profile. Just like you’d never go to a customer meeting with food in your teeth, you want the first online impression you make to be that of a trusted partner. To do this, you’ll need to make a few simple updates to your personal LinkedIn profile:

  • Have a professional headshot.

  • Use the headline to tell a client what you can do for them, not what your job title is.

  • Use the professional summary section as a client-focused, soft sales pitch, not a list of your professional achievements.

Remember the purpose of your LinkedIn profile isn’t to act as an online resume. It’s the first thing a new connection will see, and you want to make them feel comfortable that you understand their problems and can provide solutions.

Once you’ve got your profile updated, it’s time to start building your professional network. While you can dive right into LinkedIn’s search features, the easiest thing to do is to build off the network you already have. 

Look at the people connected to your connections. If you share common links in your network, ask for an introduction. And don’t just connect with potential customers. Connect with employees at partner companies or people who offer complementary services, and then see who they’re connected to. Chances are, some of those people will be potential customers.

When reaching out to new connections, make the first contact as personal as possible. LinkedIn will ask if you’d like to include a message, and it’s a good idea to do so. If you’ve met the person offline, remind them who you are, where you met and why you want to be part of their network. Don’t use the initial connection request as a sales pitch.

Once you’re connected, stay in touch. Just like during in-person interactions, people on LinkedIn don’t want to be hounded with sales offers and requests to meet. Interact with the content they post to their profile and offer your own material. Share blog posts from your company’s or manufacturer’s website, such as Smoke Guard’s blog, or relevant news articles. If you see something you think might be of interest to a potential contact, send them a link.

As with in-person sales, using LinkedIn as a digital sales tool is all about relationship building. If you can show your connections that you’re well informed of new trends affecting their day-to-day work and can offer solutions, they’re more likely to engage with you and build lasting partnerships.

What Not to Do

While we’re on the topic of best practices, here are a few things not to do when prospecting for new sales opportunities on LinkedIn.

  • Don’t spam people. Sharing a helpful link or offering a solution is valuable. Doing it every day when the connection hasn’t engaged with you is spammy and not likely to help you land the sale.

  • Don’t invite your entire email address book to LinkedIn. If you’re just setting up a profile, LinkedIn will often offer to help you find connections with people you already know. They do this by going through the emails connected to the account you set up. It’s impersonal and not likely to yield high-value connections.

  • Don’t stretch your reason for connecting too far. A lot of online tips about LinkedIn suggest using an ice breaker like “Hi [NAME]. We both know John Smith. I thought we should be connected too.” If you don’t actually know John Smith, or if he doesn’t know you’re using him as an ice breaker, this can hurt both the potential and existing professional relationships.

Ready to Get Started?

As with all things, if you’re new to using social media as a sales tool, start small. Set yourself a goal of making a certain number of new connections every day. And remember, it’s a long game. If you haven’t landed a sale at the end of your first day, that doesn’t mean the system doesn’t work. Stay focused on building relationships with key connections.

For great, informative articles to share with your potential sales prospects or to share on your feed, visit the Smoke Guard blog.