I recently had a conversation with a client about how his organization could get more tangible benefits from encouraging the team to be active on LinkedIn. One of the most measurable approaches is to practice social selling — the art of using thought leadership content and consultative selling techniques on social media platforms.

The gist is to have the same conversations you would ordinarily have with prospects in person early in their buying cycle, but you have them online. You still need your spin technique, you still have to uncover challenges and pain points. But doing so on platforms like LinkedIn allow you to take these traditionally one-to-one conversations and make them one-to-many.

It works. According to a LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) study, there is a strong correlation between achieving sales goals and sales reps with high SSI:

  • 45% more sales opportunities
  • 51% more likely to hit quota
  • 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media
  • 3X more likely to go to club

LinkedIn describes the four pillars for successful social selling as:

1. Create a professional brand

Today’s world of B2B buyers are very selective and will only work with vendors they can trust. A strong professional brand shows you are an active participant in your industry. It leads to more inquiries from prospects. It leads to more responses to your communications.

2. Focus on the right prospects

Social selling enables you to find and connect with prospects more effectively than traditional sales. Over 76% of buyers feel ready to have a social media conversation and identifying prospects that meet your established criteria – such as role, function, or industry – with LinkedIn has never been easier.

3. Engage with insights

Position yourself as a subject matter expert by sharing relevant industry content, commenting on news alerts, and building your professional brand. Over 62% of B2B buyers respond to salespersons that connect with relevant insights and opportunities. Salespersons can enhance their thought leadership by staying up-to-date with prospect news, and by identifying new contacts or decision makers when accounts make key hires.

4. Build trusted relationships

Build trust with prospects by sharing your perspectives and helping provide relevant information to common pain points. Have genuine conversations and focus on the needs of the prospect first, selling second.

These pillars make sense when you think about the way you would approach new business development in more traditional sales channels.

Interested? You can find additional resources on social selling on LinkedIn.

For fun, check your personal SSI at https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/the-social-selling-index-ssi