On LinkedIn, it would be easy to assume that you should simply be involved in only your peer groups. A better approach is to also connect with the groups that contain people who someday may be potential prospects.

You will broaden your horizon and learn about new industries.

LinkedIn has really come of age and is without a doubt a very effective tool for anyone selling in a B2B environment.  This is all part of what I call the emergence of “awareness selling.”  This is what I refer to as people using the web to explore and find out information on their time schedule without the involvement of the salesperson.  It’s the equivalent of a customer walking into a store and browsing and telling the sales clerk they don’t need any assistance.   The web has enabled the B2B market to now offer to customers many of the shopping traits that previously were only found in the B2C market.

When we become part of LinkedIn groups to which our prospective customers might belong, what we’re doing is allowing them to find out about us in a safe “browsing” environment.  This is one of the reasons why the sales cycle for many B2B industries is becoming shorter and shorter. The customer is more educated at the start of the process.

If you’re a salesperson reading this, take the time now to review the LinkedIn groups to which you belong. One of the best ways to do is by looking at the profile of some of your prospects and finding out what groups they belong to.

If you’re going to spend time on LinkedIn, you might as well make it as effective as possible.  If all you do is connect with fellow salespeople, then you might as well go spend all day in your break room at work talking to fellow employees.   The end result will be the same — you’ll do a lot of talking and not much selling.

Over the next several years, we’re going to see sites like LinkedIn continue to evolve to be even more powerful. This is why I can’t stress enough the importance of every salesperson making LinkedIn part of their normal sales process.  You don’t have to access the site daily, but you should minimally set aside 15 minutes each week.

By the way, if you’re not connected to me on LinkedIn, let’s get connected! Send me an invitation at my LinkedIn profile.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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