Social Selling & LinkedIn for Business Owners

B2B Marketing has changed progressively over the last few years. What once required a lot of cold calls and in-person networking has steadily moved online.

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to work remotely, this shift to marketing to businesses using digital means is even more pronounced.

Adam Ray, the founder and CEO of BizNexus, highlighted this shift in marketing mode as part of a recent webinar he led for this year’s all-virtual version of the International Business Brokers Association conference.

In his presentation, titled “Social Selling & LinkedIn for Businesses,” Ray emphasized that today is not the time for conversion marketing — such as pushing your products or services at the best price. Instead, now is the optimal time to push value, to capitalize on being seen as a trusted person in your network and in your industry.

All online platforms have seen a dramatic increase in engagement during the coronavirus pandemic. Ray’s presentation focused exclusively on LinkedIn, though, as it’s the only B2B platform and hosts more than 575 million professionals around the world.

Ray, who has been in business development and marketing for his entire 20-year career, said marketing generally works in three stages — curiosity, enlightenment or education, and commitment. Right now is a great time for the first two, he said, but not the last.

No matter what platform you’re using, Ray said there are five stages of social selling:

1.) Optimizing: Set up your online profiles and presence for converting your target prospect.

2.) Targeting: Refine the specifics of your prospect targeting.

3.) Building: Creating highly-targeted, personalized outreach campaigns

4.) Nurturing: Continue to build your growing network with content across multiple channels.

5.) Capturing: Convert all this into a conversation offline.

As it relates specifically to LinkedIn, the optimization stage is not only the first, but it can be the most important. This is because if you do not set up an attractive online profile, it will be difficult to be effective at attracting potential clients.

In this regard, Ray says you need to maximize your chances that if people come to your profile, they will interact with you by following you, liking a post you make or reaching out to you. The end goal, after all, is to get a phone call from the seller or a referral source.

To do this, you need to speak directly to the challenges and needs of your potential clients, and not your own. You need to be the resource for your target prospect and referral prospects by positioning yourself as the qualified authority in your industry. In today’s terms, that means creating, sharing and commenting on content that positions you as an industry thought leader.

Once you have optimized your page, it’s time to move onto targeting. LinkedIn has a paid service called LinkedIn Sales Navigator that can help you in this regard, or you can opt for free search versions that allow you to filter by many different categories.

Ray suggests that you only approach first-degree or second-degree connections on LinkedIn. Over time, you should build up these connections so you can put more potential prospects in your pipeline.

After you’ve established your targets and are building your pipeline, you can then build the highly-targeted personalized messaging campaigns. Again, only first- and second-degree connections should be on your list, and even then, you should write a friendly message when reaching out to them. These are high-value relationships that you need to build over time, Ray said.

The nurturing stage involves posting content on your LinkedIn page three to five times per week. This is done so you can get eyeballs on your own brand, by establishing yourself as a qualified authority in your industry.

The great part about this is you don’t have to be a great writer or spend tons of time creating unique content. You can highlight your value proposition by sharing articles and posts that are directly related to what you do and who you serve.

Finally, once you have done all of this successfully, you can work on capturing this audience and converting your hard work into offline conversations. Normally, it takes eight touchpoints across all communication channels with each prospect before you can expect that offline meeting — and that’s only if you’ve done everything right.

The entire goal of your LinkedIn social selling plan is to get that phone call, in-person meeting or — in today’s times — Zoom meeting. And at this point, it’s time to take the plan off LinkedIn, through marketing tools such as email newsletters, list-based digital advertising and landing pages, to name a few.

Ray again emphasized that during the coronavirus pandemic, he’s advising people to be really be helpful to others. Show the value you have in your industry by positioning yourself as an expert — not only on LinkedIn, but on every communication channel. Then, when times do pick up and the coronavirus has eased its grip on life, you’ll be prepared to close a lot of deals.

Sunbelt Business Brokers of West Palm Beach provides dedicated business brokerage services for all of your selling needs. Whether you are an established business owner nearing retirement and looking to sell, or an ambitious entrepreneur seeking your next investment opportunity, there is no reason to look beyond Sunbelt Business Brokers. Visit us at 800 Village Square Crossing
Suite 216 Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 or contact us at (561) 832-9222.