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Why Some (Sales) People Think LinkedIn Doesn’t Work

Fortune: New Possibilities

Why Some (Sales) People Think LinkedIn Doesn’t Work For Them

LinkedIn is a very powerful tool that can support us when we want to get in touch with potential customers – from all around the world.

However many salespeople tell us LinkedIn doesn’t work for them. In this article we talk about the three most common misconceptions.

      1. Though crafting a good Profile helps people find you based on your expertise, products or services (via Linkedin or via Google or other search engines), this is not where the power of LinkedIn resides.
      2. LinkedIn is a very powerful tool for salespeople who are proactive and don’t wait till someone contacts them.

“I have made a Profile, now potential customers will contact me one after the other.”

  1. “I have sent some potential customers an Invitation. However they don’t accept the Invitation or don’t respond to my messages to buy my products or services.”
    1. LinkedIn is a NETWORK tool and not a SALES tool. LinkedIn helps to build relationships with people. If you use it like a “cold-calling machine,” the reaction of people will be the same as with a “cold-call”: no reaction or even rejection. Not only is this not effective and not very efficient, there is also another danger: LinkedIn has tools available to indicate you are a spammer. If you get too many of these “flags”, your chances of fostering a connection and building rapport with others will be greatly reduced!
    2. It’s About the Relationships! The golden rule of Bob Burg always applies: “All things being equal people do business with and refer business to people they know, like and trust.” LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to increase these 3 factors if done in the right way. Crafting a good Profile, helping others in Discussions and Answers and not pushing your products or services you already helps a lot, just like in “real life”.
  2. I use the “Get Introduced To” function to get me referred by my network to potential customers.
    1. Though this approach might get you some results, it is not always the best option… and your own network doesn’t always forward your messages and the prospect doesn’t always reply (or read unknown senders’ messages, for that matter!). There might be several reasons for that, but the reasons most people don’t think of are: your contact doesn’t know the prospect well enough, your contact doesn’t know you well enough or your contact thinks that your message is too pushy.
    2. Instead use LinkedIn as a research database to discover the relationships between people and then proceed outside of LinkedIn. Call your contact and explain him the situation. If he responds positively, ask him to write an email to introduce you and the prospect to each other. In this way your prospect receives the message from someone he already knows and trusts. If you use LinkedIn, you are the one who takes the initiative, which is much less powerful.

About the Author

Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach. Following on the best seller success of his first book “Let’s Connect!” , in his second book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” he reveals even more the dynamics of networking and tools that anybody can immediately apply.

Together with his team at Networking Coach, Jan gives presentations and training courses in the field of networking and referrals. Customers are large organisations like Deloitte, Dupont, IBM, ING, SAP, Sun Microsystems and Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School , as well as small companies and freelancers.

Get your free light version of “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” at: http://www.how-to-really-use-linkedin.com

Creative Commons License photo credit: zzzack