I’ve learned over the years that the art of relationship building is incredibly important when growing and sustaining a business. People want to do business with people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST.
This approach worked for me as I’ve grown my own business from scratch to a five-figure monthly turnover using LinkedIn. I’m passionate about teaching others how to do the same using my tried and tested ‘4C Method’ for Prospecting Like a Pro – using the 4 stages of COLLECT, CONNECT, CONVERSE and CONVERT.
Having a high-quality service or product that is tailored to your ideal client profile is incredibly important. But it’s not enough to win clients over and convince them to buy from you.
If you come across as an expert in your field without being over-confident or pushy, with an approachable and friendly manner, and a trustworthy style that builds confidence – your prospective clients are much more likely to want to engage with you.
Think about your interactions in everyday life – it feels good when you interact with people you know, like and trust! It’s just the same in business.
If you keep those three letters – K.L.T – Know, Like Trust – at the forefront of your mind, you’ll definitely be heading in the right direction!
The Art of Social Selling
Relationship building is at the heart of Social Selling – building a rapport with a prospect, then nurturing them until they become a quality lead, utilising social media such as LinkedIn to initiate and build a relationship with your prospective clients until they are ready to engage your services or buy your product. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to nurture a relationship with a prospective client – to get them to know, like and trust you.
Social Selling is another term for Lead Generation which can be either Inbound or Outbound. Let’s have a recap of the difference between the two approaches.
Inbound Lead Generation
Inbound Lead Generation describes people coming to you as a result of your content marketing activities, including posting on LinkedIn, creating articles and leveraging LinkedIn groups. Your expertise, helpfulness and likeability mean prospective clients see you as a thought leader, remembering you when they need support.
Whenever you post content on LinkedIn, ask yourself – ‘How does this add value to my ideal client’? If you encourage your connections to click on your LinkedIn profile, they may be positively surprised to see you giving away free information, advice, and expert opinion. It immediately shows that you are a valuable resource – and help them to know, like and trust you.
Outbound Lead Generation
When it comes to LinkedIn Lead Generation, some people focus on inbound lead generation only, instead of outbound lead generation. Usually, they don’t understand the principles behind social selling and think they have to go into hard-selling, cold-calling ‘sales mode’.
Let’s dispel that misconception straight away. Outbound lead generation IS about prospecting – actively looking for people who are interested in your products and services.
But it’s definitely NOT about pitching to people on LinkedIn. You can’t expect to connect with and try to sell something to a complete stranger without building a relationship first.
It’s also not spamming your connections on LinkedIn. I see this all the time on LinkedIn, unsolicited messages offering me free trials and all sorts of demos. They haven’t even bothered to check out my LinkedIn profile or get to know me. That’s not the way to offer a free product or service.
Done the right way, I find OUTBOUND lead generation to be the most effective. But you need to take the time to converse with your prospective clients and build a rapport with them before you potentially move to a sale – to make sure they know, like and trust you.
The Law of Reciprocity
The Law of Reciprocity is key to the concept of Social Selling, and is a great way to get more leads and ultimately more sales – without going for the hard sell or being ‘spammy’.
It’s an academic theory of social psychology. Fundamentally, when someone does something positive for you, you feel like you should do something positive for them in return.
This might include providing valuable content, advice or a special offer – and by building TRUST, prospective clients are more likely to buy from you.
A great example was when I offered the managing partners of 100 accountancy firms in London a copy of the book I had written (with them in mind!). My strategy was to send them a paperback copy in the post and then follow up with them later. This helped earn the trust of several managing partners, so they were happy to have a conversation over the phone.
I was then able to convert a percentage of these conversations into sales. The more people I spoke to on the phone and in person, the more I converted into real paying clients. They got to know, like and trust me.
You could offer something similar – a free guide or report – anything valuable that helps the people you are targeting. The underlying principle is that people feel obliged to do something in return.
I often get referred business from people and I feel obliged to refer business back to them. That’s the law of reciprocity in action!
The Importance of Rapport Building
Rapport building and showing that you can add value to your prospective clients is at the heart of social selling. It should start even before you’re connected to them on LinkedIn, with a personalised request to connect, and then continue by conversing on LinkedIn with personalised messages to really get to know, like and trust one another.
It’s about nurturing the relationship with your prospective clients and showing them that they can trust you and that you can provide a solution to their pain points – the business problems that are holding them back.
It takes time, but when you’ve invested effort in building the relationship, you’re much more likely to close a sale. And when you get to that stage, it won’t feel ‘salesy’, as you’ve taken the time to get to know them. Instead, it will feel natural, and you’ll know when the time’s right.
It’s all part of my own ‘4C Method’ for Prospecting Like a Pro – a simple 4 step approach that takes you all the way from identifying prospects to your ultimate goal, to CONVERT.
In my Complete LinkedIn Mastery Course, I’ll take you through this approach step by step, and you’ll also have a number of valuable resources at your fingertips, including worksheets, checklists, templates and messaging scripts that you can use right away to get instant results on LinkedIn.
It’s worked for me – and if you keep those three letters at the front of your mind – K.L.T – Know, Like, Trust – it can work for you too.
Just remember my simple explanation of social selling:
Rapport Building plus Value = Sales