#005: Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code

Have you ever wondered how freelancers are using LinkedIn to find and land clients? Is LinkedIn truly a valuable prospecting tool? Does it live up the hype? Are there practical ways of using it to drum up business?

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

About This Show

The High-Income Business Writing podcast is a production of B2B Biz Launcher. It’s designed for business writer and copywriters who want to propel their writing business to the six-figure level (or the part-time equivalent).

To learn more about leveraging LinkedIn (LI) to grow your writing business — I interview Jill Konrath for this episode of The High Income Business Writing podcast.

Jill is the author of two bestselling sales books and is a popular speaker who helps sellers crack into new accounts, speed up sales cycles and win more business. She has conducted extensive research on how top professionals use LI to build a professional platform.

In this episode, Jill explains how to turn LI from a dull career/job finding site to a powerful business-building tool.

LinkedIn Is an Overlooked Goldmine

LinkedIn is an overlooked goldmine for people who have to sell.

  • Position them professionally
  • Target Companies to go after
  • Establish relationships with people
  • Circumvent traditional roots

People view it as a job board for posting resumes. If they aren’t looking for a job, LI is viewed as useless. Most haven’t begun to leverage all the productive uses of LinkedIn.

Jill’s research compared how top performers; self-employed, freelance writers included, are successfully using LinkedIn for prospecting and to sell their services.

Overview of the survey

Jill conducted an online survey of 3,000+ consultants, entrepreneurs – people who have to sell to make a living. The group was made up of consultants (20%), and many others were entrepreneurs.

The results showed that only 5% were really using it to the full extent and 55% were not using it all. We defined that 5% as Top Sellers. They are the ones who:

  • are getting lots of business via LinkedIn
  • and having a really good year

Survey Results

Top sellers leveraged LinkedIn by:

  1. In-depth and complete personal profile from headline to the summary (sell sheet) – Highlighted their business value by
  • Writing from a customer perspective
  • Included specifics about type of work they did and clients they worked with
  • Included case studies/samples of work to showcase their work
    and uploaded examples

  1. Expand their reach within an organization by research by
  • Using contacts and their contacts to piggyback
    connections
  • Connect with multiple people within same division
  • Call contacts to recontact
  • Send personal email to make new connections

  1. Belong to more Groups – 50.7% of top performers belong to 30 or more groups vs. 11.5% of everyone else
  • Entry to groups allows you to email within the group
  • Following allows you to see what others are doing
  • Allows you to join discussions and be seen without being connected
  • Use comments to build a relationship with someone you don’t know
    by sharing ideas

Groups are a great way to build relationships over the long-term. Approaching others in the group (you don’t even know) with ideas is an authentic way to show potential buyers of writing services what you know without making a sales pitch.

By being involved, having ideas and offering suggestions/sharing information, you can become a valued, respected connection. Even if you feel you have nothing to offer. Read industry publications and mention what you read when appropriate.

Even if you’re just starting, no one is a clean slate. We all have previous experience; leverage that experience. Share what worked in the past.

Time Investment

In your study, you found that a large percent of top sellers are spending 6+ hours per week on LinkedIn.

The time you spend on LI will vary. Freelancers don’t necessarily need a lot of projects at one-time, but prospecting should be consistent. There are things you can do on a regular basis, so you only spend 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn.

We all have different levels of needs; from someone just starting to the seasoned freelancer. Let’s start with – I have no work right now. Take time to think about:

  • How will my background and experience set me apart from others?
  • What companies are in similar industries to your background?

These two items will help get you started and give you a higher chance of being seen as credible once you start connecting.

Then the advanced search allows you to sort using keywords, location, titles, industries, relationship level, etc. Now you can create a list of companies and people that might need your services.

Further, a great feature is the ability to save your searches. Once you save a search, you will receive update notifications keeping you aware of movement in and out of your search group – now you’re building your database.

You can check out groups without becoming a member. Monitor activity to decide if it is right for you. This kind of research allows you to create your strategy before you contact anyone.

Join a group and you can do advanced searches to learn more about the members. Now, you can start to leverage your initial connections to expand your reach. Doing this type of in-depth research can even eliminate the dreaded cold call.

Consider these connection points when looking for other’s on LinkedIn

  • People you know
  • Common Interests
  • Alumni groups
  • Past Employers

The Current Need for Content Writers

Based on the clients that Jill works with, she has really good insight into the need for good content and content writers. She is seeing a desperate need for content writers.

It is hard to initiate contact, so having good content gives salespeople touch points and helps them establish credibility with their contacts.

Secondarily, Marketing departments are always looking for different ways to create content. They are repurposing white papers into content and turning them into podcasts, etc.

Most companies don’t have the internal resources to handle everything they need, so they are outsourcing. They are looking for someone who can jump right in and get up to speed quickly – this is where your background can come into play and make you really valuable.

There is a disconnect out there between the need and the people who can actually write content and do it well. Good writers are hard to find. Styles of content have changed since the days of hype with adverbs and adjectives. Hype doesn’t sell. People are looking for real stories and case studies.

Companies are starving for good content writers.

Items mentioned in this podcast include:

  • Jill’s eBook:  LinkedIn Sales Secrets Revealed on www.jillkonrath.com under Free Resources -> Sales Guides

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Want to get more tips and strategies for boosting your writing income? There are three ways you can enjoy these tips and strategies, share them with friends and help me grow this movement to banish the starving writer syndrome:

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Finally, if you have a question you’d potentially like answered on a future show — or if you have any feedback in general — please let me know: ed at b2blauncher dot com.

Thanks again for your support!

Till next time,

-Ed

 

  • Randy Kemp

    Hi, Ed. I look forward to this podcast by Jill. A couple weeks or so ago, I heard her speak online on a SCORE seminar. Small business folks in the USA should also look into the free and low cost resources of SCORE and the SBA. As an aside, I am currently reading White Papers for Dummies by Gordon Graham, whom you interviewed in podcast 2. It’s quite excellent.

    • Randy Kemp

      For folks interested in Jill’s SCORE online webinar, look at http://is.gd/xImcLO

    • edgandia

      Thanks for the feedback, Randy! And RE: Gordon’s book, glad you’re enjoying it.

  • Deb Monfette

    Hi Ed,
    You are doing an awesome job on the podcast series. Jill is fantastic and the LinkedIn tips are so helpful! I love the podcasts because you can hear the excitement in the key points expressed. This is a real example of what content marketing is all about. Now I have to catch up on the others I missed. Thanks for this terrific information.

    • edgandia

      Wow, thanks, Deb!! Means a ton coming from you. Thanks for checking it out!

  • Catherine Morgan

    Brilliant! Outstanding content that absolutely everyone should listen to. Bravo!

    • edgandia

      Thanks for checking it out, Catherine! Glad you got value from it.

  • BLDRsWriter

    I have always struggled with LinkedIn. While I was pretty sure it was valuable, every time I tried to learn about it, I found the group discussions “sales-y” and the entire network a complete time suck. I just couldn’t figure it out.

    This podcast was amazing! It is the first time I’ve come across practical ways me, as a freelancer, can utilize LinkedIn. I have recommitted to this platform and hope for good results in the coming months. I also emailed a link to this podcast to one of my clients who has also struggled with LinkedIn. Good stuff! Thanks Ed and Jill!

    • edgandia

      Awesome!! Great to hear this was an eye-opener, Tess. I’m planning to do a ton more on LinkedIn starting this summer. I’ve barely used its full potential. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Wow Ed, this podcast is GREAT! I’ve heard so many people talk about how LinkedIn is “the” place to go, but they’ve never explained how to do it. Jill explains it well, and I now know how I want to use LI going forward. I feel like I’ve maximized only 50% of my LinkedIn experience, so I’ll be moving things forward using Jill’s tips to get closer to that 100%. Thanks!

    • edgandia

      I agree, Julia! This is the kind of talk about LI you don’t normally find out there. Jill really knows how to turn these platforms into strategic tools. Thanks for checking it out. 🙂