Nurturing Networks: Harness the Power of Nurturing to Skyrocket Your Social Selling Results
B2B Social Selling
The Power of Social Selling on LinkedIn
People often ask me, “Michelle, you have co-written a book on LinkedIn Company Pages (Business Gold – Book), and the next book on LinkedIn Branding (THE LINKEDIN BRANDING BOOK by #MichelleSquared), what will be the third book you write?” While I’m not planning on doing it this year, the easy answer for me is social selling on LinkedIn.
Why? Because I want others to experience the same opportunities that I have from my time on LinkedIn. Those opportunities have come in many different formats – I could tell you about the $2M deal or immeasurable generated brand awareness for myself and others; equally special to me are the collaborations and referral partners in many different formats.
What is Social Selling?
There are so many definitions around for what social selling is, but this is the one that resonates with me most, and I use it in my LinkedIn training courses.
“The art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers so you’re the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to buy.” Hootsuite
Notice the highlighted words “nurture” and “meaningful relationships.” These are what many overlook in favour of chasing numbers. It gets worse when the process is done at scale using banned automation tools.
Social Selling is a Mindset
How you think about LinkedIn will come out in your actions and your words. People will sense whether you are genuine or not. In fact, they already expect that you are out to connect and pitch before you even do anything because it happens so much on LinkedIn.
As we say in our household, “you can smell the desperation”. You can feel when the other person is rushed, impersonal and has a churn-and-burn mentality. Looking for corners to cut because bigger is better. I don’t always blame the individual, as many companies with old-school KPIs drive bad behaviour (worse still, rewarding it).
Getting the right mindset is critical. Here are my 4P’s for social selling mindset:-
Pinpointed – It is about being selective and looking for people and places worth investing your time in. No spray and pray.
Patience – as the Motown classic says, “You can’t hurry, love. You’ll just have to wait.” LinkedIn is not the place for instant gratification, so stop trying to rush an outcome.
Problem Solver – this is actually my context for sales. Approaching it from this viewpoint keeps me focused on what matters. The more problems I solve and the more people I help, the more I sell. This way, you won’t feel like a predator.
Proactive – you can’t just sit back and expect things to happen by magic on LinkedIn. There is a misconception that LinkedIn opportunities come by posting content alone. That is simply not true.
How To Nurture Relationships on LinkedIn
When you have the right mindset, it’s time to start taking action. To make it easier for people to understand what nurturing might look like, here are fifteen ideas for you to try for relationships you want to nurture:-
- Comment on their posts (this will play a big part)
- Attend a LinkedIn Live or LinkedIn Audio being hosted
- Send a direct message with a link to a post you think the person would be interested in or may not have seen
- Tag a person in the feed if you see a post asking for their services
- Send a birthday message or congratulations on a work anniversary
- Celebrate a new position
- Introduce two of your connections to each other
- Follow their LinkedIn Company Page
- Subscribe to their newsletter (if they have one)
- Give them a shout-out when you are hosting your own show or guesting
- Use the “Give Kudos” type of post under Celebrate an Occasion
- Send them a voice or video direct message that is personalised
- Offer to have a virtual coffee catch-up to get to know them
- Respond to comments on your posts (should be a no-brainer)
- Join a Group and be an active member supporting others
Taking these actions not only nurtures the relationship but also keeps you in mind, which is another key element of social selling.
Social Selling is Especially Important in Tough Financial Times
The B2B Institute put out this new take on the traditional market funnel, which social sellers should pay attention to as much as B2B Marketers. At any one time, 95% of your target audience is “Out of Market,” ie not going to buy. Want the bad news? In a tough financial year, that number is more like 99% are out of market.
This means that there are fewer opportunities, and competition will be fierce. If we apply the adage that people want to do business with people they know, like and trust – this is the exact outcome of social selling when done well.
Nurturing is Never One and Done
Nurturing is not something you can check off a list. It is something that never ends. The more consistent, the better the results.
Relationships take time and are not something you can rush. For general guidance, invest 4-6 weeks before you reach out with an ask of someone. As the social selling definition says, “it’s an art”. On some occasions, the signs will make it obvious to make things happen faster. Only you can tell this.
Your goal is to take these conversations off LinkedIn at the right time. Dont rush! Speed kills!
Nurturing Relationships is a Superpower
When you combine a great content strategy with a great nurturing habit, your results will happen faster. Nurturing is part of building your brand; you want to be known for the right things, not the traditional pitch slap. This is how you stand out from the competition.
“Your network is your net worth. Invest time in nurturing relationships, and watch as the seeds of trust you plant today grow into a bountiful harvest of social selling success tomorrow.” – Anonymous
Michelle J Raymond is the Founder and LinkedIn B2B Strategist and Corporate Trainer at B2B Growth Co – LinkedIn B2B Strategy & Training. A globally recognised LinkedIn Pages expert, co-authoring the world’s first book on Company Pages, international best-seller ‘Business Gold – Book‘. Closely followed by her second book, “THE LINKEDIN BRANDING BOOK by #MichelleSquared.”
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