How to use LinkedIn for social selling
LinkedIn is so hot right now (and getting hotter). In LinkedIn Unlocked, author Melanie Dodaro explains her LinkedIn Domination Formula for social selling success to generate more sales leads.
If you've been hiding in a cave, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet:
- More than 610 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
- Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
- More than 20 million open jobs.
- More than 30 million companies.
So whether you're looking for new leads or a new job you need to be on board the LinkedIn train.
Sales and LinkedIn
Melonie Dodaro has been helping people with digital sales and marketing since before social selling was even a thing. In her bestselling book, LinkedIn Unlocked: Unlock the Mystery of LinkedIn to Drive More Sales Through Social Selling, Dodaro has written a comprehensive guide to learn how to really used LinkedIn. You'll optimise and systematise your efforts on LinkedIn to achieve repeatable and predictable results.
The focus is clearly on sales and Dodaro neatly translates the traditional sales funnel into a LinkedIn-centric model she calls the LinkedIn Domination Formula
- Awareness. Position yourself as an authority. Identify your goals, create and curate relevant content that establishes credibility and expertise and gets you noticed
- Lead Generation. Identify and connect with the right prospects. Importantly you must engage with them regularly to move those conversations offline. Create a social selling playbook to systematise your strategy .
- Conversion. Close the sale, measure results and assess performance to improve results.
Dodoro reminds us that modern buying has changed: it’s no longer “buy my stuff” but “how can I help?"
There's a number of exercises to get clear on your objectives and what success on LinkedIn looks like for you.
The book explains how to create an ideal customer profile, uncover the problems they face and how to align your solution with those pain points.
Optimize your LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile is the cornerstone of your strategy. It must be compelling, current and crystal-clear to your target audience who you are and how you can help them.
The book explains every section of your LinkedIn profile and how to optimise it. There's no stone left unturned and you'll refer to these chapters again and again as your profile evolves (Dodoro recommends you update your profile regularly to keep it fresh and relevant).
I appreciated the advice on how to ask for recommendations. I'd only ever thought about asking colleagues, but the book shows you a variety of situations in which you could request a recommendation from your network. I'm really excited about implementing her suggestions.
Your LinkedIn profile must be 100% client focused. Show that you want to know what their problems are and that you can offer a solution. If you understand where they’re coming from, what their motivations are, and if you speak their language, you’ll be able to connect to them in a meaningful way. - Melonie Dodaro, LinkedIn Unlocked
Plan your LinkedIn social selling strategy
The LINK Method™ is a social-selling framework to reliably increase your authority, get more leads and clients and close more sales.
- Look for prospects. A power users guide to using search to find relevant prospects and expand your network.
- Initiate a connection. Best practices when you make a connection request. The emphasis is on personalisation and there are many templates and examples included to show you the best way to grow your network.
- Nurture relationships. Establish rapport in the welcome messages you send to new contacts and continue to engage by sharing helpful content to build trust and credibility.
- Kick up the conversation offline. Explains how to learn more about your networks' challenges and earn the right to move the conversation offline which is where the sale happens.
It's a simple, yet powerful system that the remainder of the book explains how to implement.
Content is King on LinkedIn
The book discusses at length the importance of sharing relevant content that helps your network and demonstrates your expertise.
- Should you create or curate content?
- How often should you post?
- What type of content should you share?
- How do you get engagement?
Dodoro explains it should always be high quality and either informative, helpful or entertaining (or all three). Consistency is important and she shares a detailed guide and resources to help you create a content marketing strategy that works for you.
The chapters dedicated to content marketing have more than enough information to get you started but not enough to keep you going (it is, after all, a book about sales not content marketing).
One of the easiest ways to build authority, credibility and trust is by creating and sharing content that is valuable to your ideal clients. When you are perceived as a trusted authority you become the first choice in the minds of potential prospects when they look for the solution to solve their problem(s). - Melonie Dodaro, LinkedIn Unlocked
You can be professional and personal on LinkedIn
LinkedIn maybe an online platform but you can still build quality professional relationships if you decide to invest the time. The book examines the power of personalisation and says automation is not the way to approach business.
I agree and feel that social selling has led to people thinking they can put lead generation and sales on auto-pilot and conduct business by messenger. Not so. People still buy from people and Dodaro makes that very clear.
Strategies to engage with your network are discussed at length. The book shares fifteen trigger events that give you the chance to communicate with your LinkedIn network. Some examples include when people:
- viewed your profile.
- mentioned you.
- changed jobs.
- liked, commented or shared your posts.
In addition, there are message templates for these events to kick start your conversations.
I believe when you stop collecting connections and start building relationships, you increase trust, credibility and attract more clients. Stop collecting connections, it’s time to build relationships if you want to succeed with LinkedIn. - Melonie Dodaro, LinkedIn Unlocked
One of the most compelling discussions in the book is on being intentional and committing to your network. Dodoro advocates an abundance mindset and sharing your knowledge freely. In return you'll be rewarded with a quality network that trusts you and people that are ready to do business with you.
Ethics are important to Dodoro and she discourages deceptive tactics like false scarcity, fake testimonials or recorded webinars pretending to be live. She says to define your values and be guided by them when using LinkedIn. Your online persona should be authentic to who you are in the real world.
People can quickly sense when your intention is self-serving, and this will repel people. Conversely, the opposite is also true; you will attract those people to you who resonate with your core intention or commitment. These are the people who want and need what you are offering. - Melonie Dodaro, LinkedIn Unlocked
Three bonuses are included with your purchase of LinkedIn Unlocked.
- Bonus #1 - Access to LinkedIn Masterclass. At time of writing the event was "How to Turn Cold LinkedIn Connections into Clients" or how to build rapport, creating and manage your LinkedIn pipeline to turn connections into sales appointments. Out of the hour, I only found the 20 minutes dedicated to the
LINK Method™ useful.
- 10 minutes on Melonie Dodaro - who she is and her background.
- 5 minutes on why LinkedIn.
- 5 minutes on what will be covered in the webinar.
- 10 minutes on what not do do on LinkedIn.
- 20 minute guide through the LINK Method (find prospects, send a personalised connection request, send a follow up welcome message, share relevant content to their industry, move the conversation offline).
- 10 minute pitch for Cracking the LinkedIn Code 3.0.
- Bonus #2 - Search engine optimisation training. Beginners guide on how to structure your blog posts and optimise for keywords. Runs for 20 minutes and covers the basics. Needed some information on keyword research to be truly useful.
- Bonus #3 - Companion Workbook. This is a fantastic 32 pages of exercises, worksheets and templates to implement the advice from the book including your social selling playbook. It's an excellent resource and really useful especially if you have the Kindle version.
LinkedIn Unlocked: Unlock the Mystery of LinkedIn to Drive More Sales Through Social Selling
Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counterintuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.
Life is a series of negotiations you should be prepared for: buying a car, negotiating a salary, buying a home, renegotiating rent, deliberating with your partner. Taking emotional intelligence and intuition to the next level, Never Split the Difference gives you the competitive edge in any discussion.
LinkedIn Unlocked book summary
Chapter 1: Digital Transformation: Social Selling for Today’s Modern Buyer
LinkedIn is the ultimate business platform with over half a billion global members and counting. By design it helps you find, connect and build relationships with your target audience which might be colleagues, clients, prospects or mentors.
The LinkedIn Domination Formula is your social selling framework for:
- Awareness. Identify your goals, create and curate relevant content that establishes credibility and expertise and gets you noticed.
- Lead generation. Identify and connect with the right prospects. Above all, you must engage with them regularly to move those conversations offline. Create a social selling playbook to systematise your strategy.
- Conversion. Close the sale, measure results and assess performance to improve results.
Chapter 2: How to Know and Attract Your Ideal Clients
“Everyone is not your customer,” says Seth Godin.
- Who are your best clients today? Collect details about your top clients and then bring the best elements of these into an ideal client profile.
- Describe the problems and challenges they face. What are the risks if they don’t solve these problems? Why haven’t they solved them already? How will their business improve when they do find a solution? What would that solution look like?
- Identify your goals for LinkedIn. How you will measure success? (for instance, number of followers, number of connection requests, number of calls, revenue generated etc).
Chapter 3: Transform Your LinkedIn Profile to Attract Clients
A professional and compelling profile that represents you and speaks to your target audience is essential in order to stand out and make a good impression.
Ask yourself, when reading your profile will your ideal client realise you might be the solution they’ve been looking for? Answer the question: what's in it for them?
Explores each of the sections in your LinkedIn Profile and how to optimise them.
Chapter 4: LinkedIn Best Practices and Etiquette
Thorough discussion of how to use LinkedIn to grow your professional network including templates.
- Personalise connection requests.
- After someone accepts continue the conversation with a welcome message.
- Focus on relationships not connections.
- Respond promptly - treat LinkedIn messages like any other communication.
Lots of advice on how to nurture relationships and the types of posts that enhance your personal brand.
- Ask questions.
- Share ideas.
- Be helpful.
- Tell stories.
Chapter 5: Find Leads and Prospects on LinkedIn
Describes the LINK Method™ to generate leads and close sales. Later chapters explain each step and ideal timing:
- Look for prospects. How to use search effectively to find relevant prospects and expand your network.
- Initiate a connection. Personalise your connection request.
- Nurture a relationship. Advice on establishing rapport and engagement to build trust and credibility.
- Kick up the conversation offline. This is when you learn a more about their challenges and have the opportunity to convert a prospect to a client.
Chapter 6: Convert Prospects to Clients with the LINK Method
Examines the power of personalisation and the value of sharing relevant content with prospects and customers. Explains each of the steps in detail along with examples and templates for each.
A useful guide to fifteen trigger events and how to use them to message connections on LinkedIn. These include people that viewed your profile, mentioned you, changed jobs or liked, commented or shared your posts.
In addition, examples of how to follow up when your prospect says "YES" and when they say "NO".
Chapter 7: The Content Marketing Roadmap
A good content marketing strategy earns trust and credibility and position yourself as an expert on your chosen topic. Contributing relevant content engages your network and demonstrates you know your stuff.
Content can be any combination of original (you wrote it) or curated (other people wrote it). It should be
- High quality.
Even better, make it all of these and align your content to the B2B buyers' journey.
- Awareness. Blog posts, info graphics, social media updates and email newsletters.
- Consideration. Webinars, case studies.
- Decision. Free trials.
- Retention. Podcasts, blog posts, live streaming.
- Advocacy. Share content, referrals, webinars.
When curating content:
- Add your point of view.
- Frame it with a question to encourage comments and engagement.
- Include a call to action.
In addition, there's a wealth of resources on how to find and curate content.
Chapter 8: Elevating Authority, Credibility and Trust
Examines how to build your tribe and grow your engagement on LinkedIn and other platforms.
In addition, how to collaborate with others to leverage influence and why you must be intentional and commit.
Dives deep into ethical marketing and building trust online and approaching LinkedIn with an abundance mindset.
Chapter 9: Assemble Your Social Selling Playbook
Consolidates all the previous chapters into a system of daily and weekly activities for success on LinkedIn.
Chapter 10: The Money is in the Execution
A complete template to create a social selling and content marketing playbook and calendar that works for you.
Advice on how to be more consistent and which social selling metrics to track such as number of leads and number of offline conversations and many more.
Chapter 11: LinkedIn Membership: Free vs Premium vs. Sales Navigator
A detailed review of the different levels of LinkedIn membership.
Search is the biggest limitation of free membership. Any advanced search functionality requires paid membership.
Sales Navigator is an excellent research and engagement tool, but the cost may be prohibitive and innovation is slow.
Brief discussion of third party tools like Dux Soup as alternatives to Sales Navigator.
Chapter 12: The ROI on Social Selling on LinkedIn
Social selling works because it creates trust and builds relationships. Similarly, like any relationship, it needs attention for it to flourish.
The foundation is built on relationships and high quality content.
It’s the key to closing deals and examines a number of studies and statistics that confirm why social selling is an integral part of the new sales model for the 21st century.
In addition, discusses common mistakes why social selling may not be working for you and how to fix them.
Dodoro shows you how to create a reliable system that grows your network, generates leads and drives revenue and pull it all together into a Social Selling Playbook. It's simply brilliant and a lot of fun to put together. This is one of the standout features of the book because it teaches you exactly how to implement what you've learned.
LinkedIn Unlocked may be a book on social selling, but the emphasis is not automation. In other words, the road to success is paved with relationships, not connections and provides everything needed to lead with value and get results.