You’re in a bar.
At an after work networking event.
You stand next to someone and you, without preamble, introduce yourself and launch into your elevator pitch.
Before they can breathe or respond in any way at all, you are asking to provide a demo / sales pitch / meet their boss.
If you’ve ever done that, you learn pretty quickly that is not how networking works.
Networking is a way to create new connections and build relationships.
Hi Theo, Since I liked your post, I've seen you around LinkedIn a few times. It's almost like the algorithm wants us to connect... Appease the algorithm with me? Laura
It is also scoffing sponsored buffet food, drinking more than you should on a Wednesday night, and hula-hooping with your new found friends. But that’s another story.
Now, put this into the context of online networking…. And your activity on LinkedIn.
On LinkedIn there is a lot of ‘social selling’.
Except it isn’t social selling (as intended), it is spam selling as it always was, mass messages, non-specific, just using social media as the platform to do it.
If you really want to find a business opportunity on social media, always in your mind go back to the networking event, and remember how it once was.
You showed interest in others.
You thought of ways you could help them out.
You gave your advice or help without obligation.
You don’t sell to those people you are connected to, you build relationships, advocacy and if your goal is to sell your product and service, you sell THROUGH them.
Think of social selling as building a network and relationships with future advocates, not your ‘leads’ or ‘prospects’, or worse, your ‘suspects’.
You are building your Future Advocacy Network - FANs for short.
So, you’ve had a chat, a nice two-way conversation, but you really really do want to sell to this person… what’s next?
Content and Triggers
Convincing people is not going to happen easily in an inbox message.
Content educates and helps those that have a problem you and your business could support.
Great content puts people in the mind of ‘that is what we are like’, or ‘I did not know that, I can use this’.
It gives you a talking point to then get into the specifics of their situation compared to the one outlined in your content.
Content builds credibility and trust for you in the sales process, and puts you front of mind when the buyer is ready to talk to a supplier.
Not only that, you will create and share content that will attract people who have the same thinking so naturally self-selecting those that will advocate you into their business.
There are triggers everywhere on LinkedIn.
People posting about the things they and their colleagues are doing, gives us an enormous amount of insight.
Reading people’s profiles and updates provides many opportunities to engage.
If you have content that may be able to help, this is when you offer it.
Or, you may simply want to offer something that appears very relevant to someone in their role and company’. New releases of your own content creates a trigger to get in touch.
Very often your FANs come to you, liking your post, signing up to the webinar you’ve promoted, or you can see that they have viewed your profile.
Or you go to them, like and comment on their posts, follow up with a message.
Triggers to look out for to build your Future Advocacy Network.
- Reply to all comments on your posts, ask questions, draw more engagement
- Connect to anyone tagged into your posts, this is a really strong signal that your topic is front of mind for them
- Connect or message those that like or comment on your content
- Connect to people who have viewed your profile
- Like and comment on your first degree connections posts
- Comment on influencers’ posts, and increase the number of people viewing your profile
To build a network that trusts you, and to keep front of mind, you ought to be checking in to the activities above several times a day.
Little and often is better than a lot once a week.