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What separates top salespeople who use LinkedIn from their less successful peers? What do these people do that and how do they behave that seems to put their results on steroids? Such people just seem to get more out of LinkedIn, and it seems to me they share these five characteristics:
Top Salespeople Network on LinkedIn
Top salespeople are always networking on LinkedIn. They are always on the lookout for new and interesting people. Note that I did not say “lookout for customers.” That’s prospecting. Important? Of course, but a whole different animal. Meeting and connecting with new and interesting people increases a person’s reach--the number of people who can see comments and updates and pass them along to their networks. These people understand that networking is different from prospecting and they actively network.Top Salespeople Participate on LinkedIn
Put quite simply: Visibility counts. By publishing status updates or commenting on other peoples’ status updates, or by their participation in LinkedIn Groups, top salespeople have the opportunity to be seen by a broader spectrum of LinkedIn users. You can see this on your or any other user’s LinkedIn home page: There are certain people you recognize as they publish more status updates, and even without the assistance of the “top contributor” feature, there are whole bunches of people I recognize as the ones who contribute regularly in groups I follow.
Top Salespeople Understand LinkedIn’s Advanced Search CapabilityTop salespeople use LinkedIn’s search capability for specific, interesting, and what (to other peopl)e must seem obscure searches. They have specific companies, people, industries, titles, and locations that they want to research. They understand the odd way LinkedIn’s locations work. They understand the importance of Keywords and use them to their advantage. They know how to get the information they want quickly and accurately. LinkedIn’s advanced search is a tool and they know how and when to use it.Top Salespeople Are CuriousLinkedIn is always evolving. The look and feel has changed in the past 18 months, and many features have been discarded, while many others have been introduced. Top notch salespeople investigate new features and figure out how to use them in ways that perhaps LinkedIn had not intended. They learn to roll with the changes and look for new ideas and new ways of using LinkedIn.
Top Salespeople Pick Their Spots, and Make it Count
Top salespeople don’t confuse quantity with quality. While lots of status updates and comments in groups can raise a person’s visibility, if the quality and value add is not there, people will tune that person out. Smart and insightful contributions stand out. I know several top salespeople who have been contacted by prospects because the prospect liked what they saw in the salesperson’s thinking and contributions in a LinkedIn group. And, as a person who has spent his life in sales, I have to say the idea of prospect customers seeking me out, instead of the other way around, is an idea I can get on board with.For a salesperson, LinkedIn is a tool, like their smartphone, e-mail, or CRM software. The best salespeople figure out which parts and aspects of LinkedIn fit with their goals and leverage them to their advantage.Bruce Johnston is a sales consultant specializing in social media and especially LinkedIn. He has over 25 years experience in high-tech sales and management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his profile on LinkedIn.