Tweeting narcissistic spam or posting egocentric updates is the fastest way to destroy a personal brand. For B2B selling, no platform is more important than LinkedIn and it needs to be used to answer a key question for potential buyers of your product, service or solution: Are you a credible person worthy of initial trust?
For most sales people, their LinkedIn profile reads as an online CV, targeting potential employers or bragging about past sales conquests. This is the last thing that will appeal to a potential buyer who needs your social footprint to convey relevance, credibility and trustworthiness if they are to engage. Although social platforms rarely deliver leads in the world of complex B2B solution selling, the best buyers will check you out online before a meeting. Does your LinkedIn profile evidence your domain expertise and credentials as a trusted source of information and insights? Are you a hub for relevant content? Does your network show you are connected at the highest levels in the industry? Do you lead relevant conversations? Are you committed for the long-haul in the industry and with customers? Difficult questions I know but social means transparency and LinkedIn is not a facade, it's the fourth dimension of sales reality. Do the work, make the investment... it's not optional today.
The term 'Social Selling' is a misleading allure for those in B2B sales because social selling is more relevant to the world of B2C. In B2B selling 'Social Projection' will get you nowhere. Instead focus on the power of social platforms and tools for research, networking, warm introductions (rather than cold calls) and publishing thought leadership without pushing what you sell. Think 'Social Engagement' and about how you can attract the 'market-makers' into your sphere based on high value content and a genuine persona of positive goodwill. Also understand that social media activity does not equate to meaningful connection. The importance of trusted relationships in B2B selling will never go away. Your social profile must therefore support the initiation of relationships based on credibility and trust.
Carpe Diem! Seize the day. Revisit your LinkedIn profile now and update it to appeal to a prospective buyer rather than a potential employer. Start investing in building your network and value online.
Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award winning blog. Also visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.
Main image photo by Flickr: Bexx Brown-Spinelli
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