We recently surveyed over 3000 salespeople, entrepreneurs and business professionals to find out the answer to that question. We wanted to know what was working and what wasn’t. We uncovered some really interesting information and insights that we compiled in Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code.
For starters, 4.9% of all survey respondents (who we called “top sellers”) were getting lots of new sales opportunities via LinkedIn AND having a great year in sales. Conversely, 55% of respondents never had an opportunity.
Clearly the top sellers were approaching LinkedIn very differently from everyone else. But what were they doing? Here’s what we found out.
Top sellers pay more attention to their professional presence.
They view LinkedIn as a sales tool that enables them to showcase their expertise with the world. Their profiles are much more complete and framed from a customer’s perspective.
In addition, they are invested significantly more time and effort in sharing relevant content and showcasing their personal expertise. They do this via groups and updates.
Top sellers use more of LinkedIn’s capabilities.
While research was everyone’s #1 activity on LinkedIn, top sellers were using it much more extensively than their counterparts. Essentially, they were using it as their personal database. Take a look at the differences between the two groups in these three categories.
We also discovered that many survey respondents were totally unaware that they could create and save prospect lists on LinkedIn based on a wide range of criteria. Nor did they realize that this “saved search” capability would regularly updated them when new people met their search parameters – thus giving them a steady stream of new prospects
As you can see from the above graphic, top sellers used this capability significantly more than their peers who weren’t having much success on LinkedIn.
Top Sellers use LinkedIn more strategically.
89.9% of top sellers view LinkedIn as essential to their success. And, almost 70% of them spend over six hours per week on LinkedIn. Essentially, they’ve fully integrated it into their prospecting process.
When we looked at the type of research top sellers did on LinkedIn, in virtually every category their usage was triple everyone else’s. When we looked at group membership and activity, again they spent significantly more time on LinkedIn.
In short, they’d figured out how to circumvent traditional prospecting methodologies filled with endless emails and phone messages. Instead, they’d discovered ways to establish online relationships and build credibility prior to any initial meeting. That was their goal and their strategy.
For example, Robbie Johnson won a $500,000 contract for IT consulting services. Originally, he’d been laughed out of the office of this Fortune 100 company and told to come back in three years when his firm was big enough to handle their needs.
Instead, he leveraged LinkedIn groups to build relationships with key personnel from that company. He answered questions, offered advice and shared resources. Nine months later, one of his new contacts invited him to bid on a project her company was undertaking. She said he was perfect for the job – and he got it!
The Verdict is In
So can LinkedIn really increase sales? The answer is yes. Robbie’s success is just one example that we uncovered in doing the survey. Countless people shared how they’d used LinkedIn to get business.
Thomas von Ahn now generates 58% of his business through connections he nurtures on LinkedIn. And, Rachael Lyman gets prospects to reach out to her via her because of what she does on LinkedIn. (Click here to read LinkedIn Sales Secrets Revealed, a free ebook that goes into depth on their strategies).
But you can’t dabble with it and hope for results. Instead, you need to invest time learning about its capabilities. You need to share your expertise in numerous ways. You need to engage people in conversations within LinkedIn and then move outside it for further discussions. If you haven’t done much with LinkedIn yet, it’s time to get going.