7 rules for deal making on LinkedIn

LinkedIn, as a B2B social network, can be a great platform to make deals. Of all the social media channels, it’s full of proactive business people from service providers and suppliers to buyers and MDs. Occasionally you see shout-outs for recommendations on LinkedIn. This provides the perfect opportunity to respond and get yourself in front of a potential buyer quickly. But when there is competition, how to you stand out from the crowd?

Recently, Find a Creative Pro was hosting an event and we needed some help with some ‘merch.’ Too busy to google suppliers, compare sites and check reviews, we decided to throw it open to the business masses on LinkedIn, to see who came out of the digital woodwork.

We were pleased with the engagement on the post and potential suppliers did respond, which saved time and effort – or so we first thought.

navigating linkedIn overload

What we eventually realised was that instead of making our buying journey easier, almost all the respondents made our life a little more difficult by asking us to check out their site, look at their profile and for us to drop them a line. That’s OK if you only have one respondent but when there are 28, what was supposed to feel like a savvy short cut quickly becomes a quagmire of emails and admin again. You feel obliged to investigate all of them because they are connections, so… we are back to all that time-draining legwork that we were trying to avoid – possibly more than if we’d just searched via Google in the first place.

With this experience as a backdrop, we believe prospecting on LinkedIn needs a few rules to be truly effective. You need to help the buyer with the way you communicate.

1. put USPs front and centre

Do respond to the message within your feed and be creative, tell the potential buyer something special about your provision or product as you need to stand out from the other respondents.

2. always connect

Make the opportunity to start a conversation with the potential buyer, send a connection request.

3. personal contact over Cut ‘n’ Paste

Resist sending a ‘round robin’ message, don’t cut and paste – buyers can spot it a mile off and it’s lazy. This is a potential sale so put in the effort. Make it personal and relevant and respond to the buyer’s request. Be clear how you can help.

4. if you presume to mail, presume to fail

Never automatically add someone you’ve spoken to on LinkedIn to your email marketing list. They won’t thank you for it and will likely unsubscribe. In the age of opt-in this is aptly out – a tongue twister for parties there!

5. ask for the business

They want to buy, you want to sell. Simple. Ask if you can follow up via email, telephone or with samples in the post – whatever it is you do, get the point over. Don’t make them chase you, you are not playing hard-to-get.

6. be true to your pledge

Don’t follow the steps above and then fail to follow through, if you say you’ll call – then call.  If you say you’ll email, then email and do it in a timely fashion.

7. treat open communication as an advert

Others with the same buying need may well be reading the thread, so treat your response as a mini advert. Don’t just post, ‘Yes, I can help’.

If you want to know more about LinkedIn etiquette and best practice for deals, then please contact us at Find a Creative Pro and we can help you turn this social media from a nice extra, to an important sales and marketing platform.