Please don't invite people to connect on LinkedIn if you really just want to sell them something. Social media is a great tool for researching prospects and referral sources, and for sharing interesting, relevant information. But it is not the place for a sales pitch.
For example, I was quick to ignore this invitation:
We haven't spoken before, but as a member of (Whatever?) group, I've just read your profile with interest and I was wondering if you could add me to your professional network on LinkedIn.
I also want to offer you my free (Fill in the blank) resources. If you are interested in (1) List Building / Email Marketing, (2) Online Traffic / Lead Generation and (3) Make Money Online, get my resources (PDF reports and videos) for FREE!
Here is the download link…
This message is the social media equivalent of a cold call—which is any attempt to contact someone who doesn’t know you and doesn’t expect to hear from you. And the cold calling success rate is dismal.
Referrals Win the Sale
If this person had read my LinkedIn profile, he would know I don't buy lists and that I do my own lead generation through referral-based selling.
Referral selling statistics show that referrals trump any other business-development method, converting prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. Why? Because people still buy from people they know, like, and trust—and the sales reps those people refer.
Here’s how a referral works:
- You ask a colleague or client (your referral source) to introduce you to a prospect with whom that person has a trusted relationship
- Your referral source talks to (or emails) your prospect and gets agreement to meet with you
- Your referral source introduces the two of you—on the phone, via email, or in person
- You thank your referral source and schedule a time to meet with your prospect
- You call your sales prospect, and she answers the phone (or at least calls you back) because she actuallyexpects your call
Forget Cold—Get Red-Hot Leads
When you receive referral introductions to your prospects, they expect to hear from you. And they actually want to talk to you. Someone they know and trust has vouched for you. Your LinkedIn message is no longer annoying; your email is no longer spam; and your call is no longer cold. You’ve got a red-hot lead on your hands.
From this point, it’s your skills as a salesperson that will help you close the deal.
About the Author
Joanne Black is America’s top referral sales expert. With decades of experience across multiple industries and companies of all sizes, Joanne Black’s simple message about using referral selling as the primary driver of sales is one that resonates with sales and marketing audiences around the globe. Visit www.nomorecoldcalling.com for more articles, tips, and free resources. You can also find Joanne on Twitter @ReferralSales.