Launched in 2003, LinkedIn now has more than 400 million members in 200 countries and territories around the globe. Amazingly, that is less than half of Facebook’s daily users, but LinkedIn is generally considered the professional alternative.
The statistics are compelling (data from LinkedIn’s site):
- Sales professionals who use LinkedIn for social selling are 51% more likely to exceed their sales quota than sales professionals who don’t use LinkedIn for social selling.
- Sales professionals that use LinkedIn for social selling are 3X more likely to crush their sales quota for the year than any other sales rep.
- Directors that use LinkedIn for social selling get promoted 1.6X faster to VP.
STEP 1: JUMP IN
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one. First, create your personal page. If you are a dealership owner, wait the appropriate length of time as prescribed by LinkedIn (7 days) and create a page for your business.
People buy from people they like and trust. Today, your online reputation is as important as the impression you make in person. Wouldn’t you rather be transparent and upfront online in order for more people to find you and refer you? Having no presence online does not fall into the “no news is good news” category; it makes you and your business appear to be out of touch or worse, untrustworthy.
“LinkedIn not only allows you to showcase your professional achievements, but it also acts as a perceived independent third-party advisory to your character. If you are open and honest online, it lends to the belief you are the same in real life, say in a negotiation situation, for example. Having a profile shows a customer you are accessible, accountable, and most importantly, trustworthy,” says National Digital Strategy Manager Robert Karbaum.
STEP 2: ENGAGE
Add a LinkedIn icon to your dealership site. Now tell your customers about your profile, and ask them to connect to you. Start connecting to your friends and business contacts, and LinkedIn will provide connections for you to link organically based on your contact list.
Once you start sharing content, your connections will see them in their news feed.
STEP 3: BE A RESOURCE
Stay on top of the news in your industry – there are plenty of options to curate content, starting with something as basic as a Google alert. Post information your customer base wants to know, from new innovations in the car market to recalls to auto show recaps.
Work with your internal team to like each other’s posts and generate more online buzz.
ONE MORE THING TO CONSIDER: SALES NAVIGATOR
LinkedIn bills their Sales Navigator as a tool to allow sales professionals to tap into the power of LinkedIn efficiently and improves social selling. When you first launch the tool, a wizard guides you through setup. Based on your existing network, you can pick which organizations are current opportunities. If you use SalesForce, you can import your contacts into Sales Navigator to see LinkedIn activity for your accounts.
From a reviewer at Forbes.com:
“Sales Navigator goes beyond a passive system. Based on the contacts you have selected, Sales Navigator suggests potential organizations that fit a similar profile. You can also define your territory so that suggestions are limited to your area. When I test-drove the system, Sales Navigator suggested several opportunities that I had not previously thought about. Surprisingly, some were great suggestions and worth my time to consider.”