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The trend away from in-person interactions in 2020 has picked up steam in 2021. This has been a game-changer for most sales professionals. To be successful, salespeople are going to need to adapt their strategies and learn how to stand out from the crowd and establish rapport and credibility with a virtual barrier between them and their prospects.
Before the pandemic, salespeople could meet in person to build trust and demonstrate the benefits of their products over that of the competition; they’re no longer able to do that.
Because there are so many salespeople reaching out virtually now as opposed to meeting in person, you have to figure out creative ways to stand out from the crowd by personalizing your approach. The salesperson who can leverage technology in a way to personalize their messaging virtually will win in 2021.
Getting the attention of your prospects is key. Even if you clearly have the superior product, how do you stand out from your competitors? Your prospects are receiving more emails, phone calls, invitations to webinars and podcasts, and social media ads than ever before.
You must know who your prospects are and market to them specifically. Once you know who they are, find them on social media and comment and share their posts consistently. Get them used to your face and help them begin to think of you as a “friend” who appreciates their contributions.
Determine the most common pain points of your prospects and post about them. The more personalized you can get, the better. The days of “spraying and praying” are over. The most successful salespeople know exactly who they’re targeting, understand the challenges they are experiencing, and then build a foundation of like, trust and respect before they even “meet” them. They know what their prospects are dealing with right now and how they can help them.
According to a recent BNB Buyers Guide Survey Report, 81% of B2B buyers identify LinkedIn as the social media tool of choice to research companies and sales professionals. Ensuring that your LinkedIn profile is current and engaging will help you stand out from the crowd and attract your ideal prospects.
Tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile:
1. Create a custom URL and update your contact information – Your URL should include your name if it’s available, without dashes or numbers unless they are specifically relevant to your profile.
2. Customize your profile and background photos – Update your headshot to be professional, pleasant, and looking at the camera, with no hats or sunglasses. If you are not using a company-specific photo, update your background photo to something other than the LinkedIn default blue background. This may be industry-specific or feature your product or service.
3. Update your Headline – The LinkedIn default headline is your title and place of employment, but you should customize this to describe the solution you provide for your clients. Use keywords that may come up in a search for your product or service, and avoid using adjectives simply take up space.
4. Update your Summary – This section should be written in a conversational tone and consist of 3-5 short paragraphs with a bulleted section highlighting your solution or skills. It should guide the reader through your key skills, unique qualifications, and the various industries you’ve worked in over the years.
5. Add Multimedia – Consider what multimedia, if any, makes sense to include in your profile. It can be added in the summary or linked within a specific role or company. Short videos or PDFs are good to showcase what you do and how you do it, and links to websites or marketing funnel capture pages can also be embedded.
6. Specify key skills for endorsements – You can reorder and highlight the endorsements you want to feature on your profile; the default is to show the top three most endorsed skills, but you can remove skills you don’t want featured or hide them lower in the list. Select the top five skills you want to be known and recognized for and ask friends, family, and colleagues to specifically endorse only those skills on your profile.
7. Request strategic recommendations – Any organic recommendations you can request are helpful; reach out to former work colleagues, clients, team members, etc. and ask for a brief recommendation. Ideally, you will have recommendations over a period of time, not all within the same few weeks, so write out a list of people you can ask for recommendations and reach out to 3-5 people every couple of weeks to ask.
8. Curate who you follow and your interests – All of these are visible when someone visits your profile, though visibility can be turned off. Ensure that what you are sharing about your personal interests is appropriately professional. Follow people and companies relevant to your industry and role to show that you are connected beyond just your day-to-day workload and interested in what’s happening in relevant innovation, technology, etc. Seek out thought leaders who inspire and motivate you.
9. Curate the Groups you belong to and how you interact with them – The more you interact with various groups on LinkedIn, the more people will see your profile and seek a connection with you. Join industry-relevant groups and comment on others’ posts or questions; ask your own relevant questions and seek feedback.
10. General platform use and engagement – LinkedIn likes people to write articles on their platform. Sharing things you’ve written on other sites is good, and if you write it on LinkedIn it gets even more visibility on the platform. Engage with your connections thoughtfully and often; like, comment, and share their posts, and tag specific people in your own posts or videos to stimulate conversation or ask for input.
The most successful sales professionals are using videos to get attention. They use them in emails, social media posts, and even texts. According to the data scientists at SalesLoft, using videos in your prospecting emails improves open rates by 16% and increases replies by 26%.
When adding video to your prospecting emails, you will receive your highest open rates and replies when you send them from the beginning. The longer you wait to send an email with a video, the lower your chances of the email being opened or responded to. When your subject line contains the word “video” it increases the likelihood the email will be opened. Placement of the video in the email is also important; for the highest impact, the video should be placed after the first 10% of your message and before the halfway mark.
Before you create your video, make sure you have good lighting and the background isn’t distracting. You want your video to be 30-60 seconds long, catchy, and personal! Do your research and add personal touches to your video. Congratulate your prospect on recent accomplishments, speak to known pain points, or hold up a personalized sign at the beginning of the video, such as “Hello Susan!” or “Congratulations Sam!” These personal touches will entice your prospect to watch your video.
Follow an outline for each video to maximize your impact:
1. Introduction: Greet your prospect and introduce yourself
2. Provide value: Share what’s in it for them when they watch your quick video
3. Provide purpose: Explain briefly why you are reaching out
4. CTA: Provide a clear next step for them to execute. What do you want them to do?
5. Closing: Thank them for watching your video and set the stage for your next interaction.
To learn more about how you can stand out from the crowd in 2021 visit www.nasp.com
About the author
Brooke Dukes is currently supporting NASP as Chief Sales Officer leading strategy and business development. Prior to NASP, Brooke was a multi-million dollar producer and excelled at various executive-level positions in sales and business development, including two Fortune100 companies. She has worked with some of the largest and most successful companies including Lear, General Motors, and United Airlines, and across multiple industries, such as insurance, skincare and cosmetics, technology, and banking.
Brooke has her BS from Michigan State University. She is a mother of two successful children and an avid traveler. Exploring the world and helping people achieve their dreams is her passion. Brooke resides in Austin Tx.