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5 Examples of What You Should Not do When Social Selling on LinkedIn

By thought-horizon | May 2, 2019

Without most of us even noticing, LinkedIn has emerged as a digital playground for professionals. Once known for advancing professional networks and finding new career opportunities, it now is one of the most promising lead generation platforms coaxing professionals to rethink the way it is used. Thanks to the support from built-in tools like Navigator, it can propel your lead generation efforts to the next level. All you need is an ample time investment to share your expertise and thought leadership.

However, like so many things in life we often deviate from the ideal path and significant things get sidelined. In an effort to prevent that here are a few pitfalls you should try to avoid when becoming active on social media.

1. Not making the best of the connection request

Building a network is among the core aspects of social selling. Having a large network enhances the chances of getting your products/ services exposed to more prospects and so, higher chances of conversion. But, do you, as a sales rep, make the most of these connections from get go?

Step into the shoes of a customer who has received a connection request from two sales reps.

One request comes along with the generic message “I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn profile.”, the second one has a shiny personalized message that demonstrates their interest in building a relationship with you.

Who will you choose? Of course, the second one.

And so will your customers.

That’s where our first conclusion comes in. Make your first impression count. Tell them how you can add value to their experience. Research what they admire, what type of language they prefer, or if they are looking for solutions to specific problems- that way you’ll have a better idea of how to pitch in your next connection request.

2. Flooding the network with status and profile updates

You want to stay on top of mind with your buyers. Given your targets, that’s completely justifiable. However, when building long-term corporate relationships that’s something you might actually want to avoid. This is because this approach will end up irritating them, and then eventually they’ll click the “Remove Connection” button. As they say, “Trust comes in on foot and leaves on a horse.” Once trust is lost, it is hard to win it back.

Instead, share your updates strategically. Make those shares count.  It can be interesting white papers with insightful comments, or a significant encounter with a field expert, or an answer to a question customers frequently ask.

The idea is to stay on top of mind, but please remember to focus on quality over quantity.

3. Letting relationships drop into a black hole

Your job does not end when a prospect responds positively to your connection request. Just like real-world relationships, LinkedIn connections need to be nurtured over time.   If you don’t, someone else will, and that someone might be your competitor. Make use of those new opportunities. Stay in touch by hitting Like on LinkedIn posts, commenting on them, birthday wishes, etc. These simple steps will do wonders for you.

4. Turning every interaction into a sales pitch

Laura is a college student pursuing her degree in jewelry designing. She’s on LinkedIn to make a strong professional network by the time she graduates and to gain knowledge from those who are already established in the industry. One day, she receives a Connection Request from a sales representative of a company that deals in authentic diamond jewelry. Finding it an opportunity to connect with an expert, she accepts the connection request. Within 15 minutes, she received a message offering her a great discount on the jewelry.

While the idea of learning more about diamond jewelry sounds intriguing, Laura ignored the message because that was not what she needed at the moment. Despite her lack of interest, the rep keeps pitching the products and offers, and finally, Laura blocks the sales rep.

That’s just another way to lose an opportunity. We don’t join LinkedIn for that kind of interaction. Make sure you add value to every interaction. Once you can convince others of your expertise, prospects will engage and convert or recommend you to their friends. Find out what prospects are looking for. Unsolicited sales pitches not only make you appear desperate but also paint your entire company in a bad light.

5. Going negative

Buyers refrain from cold communicators. They are more inclined towards positive professionals, and if you are not one of them, you are on the wrong track.

Generally speaking, prospects are more responsive to solution-oriented messaging than negative communication. You may find it legit to draw attention towards a negative aspect of your industry; buyers may not. Do this instead. Turn negative into your favor by exploring solutions and finding opportunities in challenges. That way you not only build an excellent reputation but also get ahead of the curve with your competition.

Take Home Message

Despite being addressed as a social networking platform, it makes LinkedIn nothing like other options in the category. Being exclusive to the B2Bs, it works differently. It paves ways for more substantial business growth. That said, to use it to fullest, you not only need to focus on what should be done but also what you should not be doing.


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