As a sales professional, if you’re not participating in LinkedIn Groups, you’re missing an incredible opportunity to learn, share, build rapport and oh did I forget, build your pipeline. Although building pipeline isn't something that’s done so overtly, it’s a natural by-product of creating value and giving first.
There are countless ways of participating in LinkedIn Groups and here is a high-level view of how to get started if you’re not doing so already.
# 1: Decide What Groups to Join
LinkedIn gives you the ability to join 50 groups. Play your cards right and this can be a treasure trove of opportunities. Don’t join the groups that your frat boys belong to; join the groups where your potential buyers belong.
Keep in mind, there are differences in buyers, too. You’ll want to separate the Decision Makers from the Influencers. Each have separate, distinct and very important parts to play. Lucky for us, LinkedIn has groups of all kinds. Learn to separate function and strategy and join groups accordingly.
#2: Express Yourself
Once in a group, don’t just sit around like 99% of the members. Say something! You've got a voice, you’re unique, so don’t be afraid to express yourself. It’s important that you find a voice and groove that are distinctly yours.
At first, participate in the most popular group discussions. Add your 2 cents. Dip your toes in the water. Get active, that’s the goal. Once you’re in a rhythm, consider starting your own discussions.
Reach out to the “Top Contributors” of the group and introduce yourself. Get to learn about them and their goals and see if you can help them. In short, be an asset and feel like you want to belong in that community.
#3: Don’t Sell – Create Value
One thing to remember: don’t pitch. Never, ever pitch. This is a huge turn off and frankly it’s spam. These groups exist to help each other. If we turned them into rooms full of sales pitches, we’d all get frustrated and leave.
Remember, your goal here is to create value. See someone asking a question? Even if the product/service you sell is the perfect fit for them, resist the urge to blurt out your sales pitch. Help them along the path. As sales people, sometimes we get so excited that we forget that we’re in this for the long haul.
Remember what Yoda said, “Short sightedness, your enemy is!” Okay, he didn't say that but he would because it’s true.
#4: Participate Regularly
Participate 2-3 times/week at first. See if you’re comfortable with that rhythm. If not, maybe the group is not right for you. This should come natural. Don’t wait for the weekly or daily digest e-mails to take action. Take action regardless and check-in a few times/week. This doesn't have to be a chore – it takes less than a few minutes per day, really.
#5: Create Content
As your prospects go to LinkedIn Groups to do research and learn from peers, have you considered joining these groups and publishing your thoughts? If you’re just not quite ready to write a blog or record short videos, consider going to LinkedIn Groups and letting your prospects know your thoughts on a subject.
Here is an example:
Don’t you think if you were a sales rep at this company you’d want to know that your prospects are heading over to LinkedIn Groups to check you out? How about competitors – imagine if you were a company in this space, wouldn't you want your sales professionals actively helping people like this? This is a prime example of a relevant and contextual opportunity! But only if – and this is a BIG IF– you help people first by adding value.
Content sticks around, especially if it’s good. We were found by a company once because of a 6 month old recorded webinar link we posted to a LinkedIn Group. We ended up doing business with that company because they loved what we did.
The Bottom Line
It’s time you start contributing to LinkedIn and one of the best ways to do that is through joining groups. This is not a difficult exercise. Keep the etiquette and calm required and remember to push forward with creating value.
Need help in getting started with contributing to LinkedIn Groups? Feel free to contact me for some tips and tricks on this. Remember, Social Selling isn’t difficult…it’s just different.
To learn more about Social Selling check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Social Selling Machine or 9 Steps to a Winning LinkedIn Profile for Sales Professionals. For tips, tricks and more rants, we could always set-up a time to chat using my below schedule ...
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