Episode 61: Leveraging Content to Start Sales Conversations on LinkedIn
In this episode, Brynne and Bob will talk about why it’s important to create meaningful content and what types of content we should be putting out there to attract our target audience and help initiate sales conversations.
Brynne Tillman 00:00
Welcome, welcome to Making Sales Social! We are so excited about today’s topic, which is (Bob Woods: Yes, we are) Yeah, leveraging content to start conversations.
Bob Woods 00:13
Welcome to Making Sales Social Live! As we share LinkedIn and social selling training, strategies, and tips that will have an immediate impact on your business. Join Bill McCormick, Brynne Tillman, and me, Bob Woods every week, Making Sales Social Live!
Brynne Tillman 00:30
Why is it so important?
Bob Woods 00:33
It’s important because you know, where we’re all out there on LinkedIn, we’re all trying to stand out. But a lot of times when it comes to the content that a lot of people put out, it’s either not helpful at all, it’s very unfocused. So people are just putting out content to put out content, which means that it’s bad content, essentially. And that’s mainly because we don’t know who we want to speak to, which I think is very important.
Brynne Tillman 01:03
Absolutely! So let’s break this down, right. So first of all, why is content really important? It’s really important because it is the most effective way to start a conversation. If we do what everybody is doing wrong, which is connect and pitch, right? So we come in, and we’re just telling them how great we are, we lose them, right? That’s connects and pitch is a bait and switch, but content itself, if we can understand what kind of content our prospects want to consume, and we can start a conversation by bringing value and being resource, all of a sudden, they are excited to talk with us, we’re beginning to earn the right to debt, Tim David says talk about making a human connection.
Bob Woods 01:47
Yeah, but that’s exactly what this is all about is making those human connections so that you know, you don’t look like a bot which, because of automation, a lot of people look like bots out there. Using content like this, you prove 100% that you’re human, and you can get a conversation started from that.
Brynne Tillman 02:04
So let’s talk about philosophy first, around that kind of content, right? So the first piece of the philosophy is to treat people on the other side of the message the same way you would on the other side of the table. So we want to look at them as human beings to Tim’s point, we want to look at them as human beings not as leads, that’s the first way to think about it. The second thing we want to do is we want to slow down our outreach to speed up our outcome. So we need to take our time, we need to have conversations, not, you know, quick, cold calling leads on LinkedIn. Number three, we need to understand what it is that our prospects want to consume, we typically will share content constantly around the stuff we like. We had a financial advisor client that would share market watch and while he got lots of engagement, they were from other financial advisors, so we have to start to look at what is it that our prospects want to consume. So with that in mind, and ultimately, we’re going to lead to our solution by being that resource. So let’s talk about kinds of content that we can share. So talk about like, just generally, we can go deeper later. But what are some general types of content we can share
Bob Woods 03:33
general types of content are, are anything from, you know, basic curating of content from other sources that you want to bring up, it could be stories that you just kind of tell on your own about something that you may have experienced, for example, with another client, that or a prospect that you can make into a story to share with that, you know, I come from broadcasting so I always think of it as target audience, but it’s the same type of thing your prospects can learn from the stories that you tell. Another great way is documents so that’s like case studies and things like that, nothing that’s overly pitchy but something that is truly educational, so that you can get your prospects
Brynne Tillman 04:20
Or an e-book, like the document, the books, yeah
Bob Woods 04:23
Yeah! Case studies, e-books, things like that. And then polls are probably the other big one. Yeah, yeah. Polls are huge. Yeah. Polls in a day. Polls that you run yourself on LinkedIn can be huge as well and are huge as well.
Brynne Tillman 04:38
we’re going to talk about polls for sure in a moment. There’s another way to use content without us having to be a thought leader, which is to leverage an influencer or we call the magnets. Someone who is out there sharing content that’s attracting our buyers. It’s kind of like they’re the keynote, right? So we go to an event and you know, Brené Brown shares this piece. She’s the keynote, and all the people that are commenting. These are the people in the audience, and you’re one of them. You’re an audience now, but there’s networking to be had, and we can engage with them. Let’s start when we think about it, we can start with, “Hey, I see your Brene Brown fan. Did you hear on the podcast the other day?” We start a conversation around the topic that we already know, they are interested in. And then we might ask, “Are there any other influencers that you follow?” Hey, I follow this person, I’d love to share information on that. And then after rapport has been built and some trust, and some back and forth, you could say,”Look, I’m not sure if you’re exploring XY and Z. But as someone in your position, you might get some value from a checklist I created, a podcast I was on.” So you can now kind of baby step your way in through conversation, that at that point, if you’ve brought them enough value with other people’s content, when you introduce yours, and there’s an interest, you will get engagement and start conversations. This is what we talked about, “Slow down the outreach to speed up the outcome.” We can quickly do that. So talk a little bit about how we use polls to start conversation.
Bob Woods 06:21
Yeah, so polls are very important because you can tap into what your audience is concerned about, your prospects are concerned about. But yet, you can turn it around and ask a question with a couple of options based on that, essentially. So you’re really giving them a voice into your content and what that means is that, generally speaking, it doesn’t always happen but generally speaking, when they vote, you can, they will sometimes comment on your content but one of the most important things about polls is you can have up to four options. So if you come up with three, and then make the fourth one something like, “others share and comment” or something like that, that’s a great way for them to not only speak up about the poll, but you can gauge their interest at that point. And then, depending on what the poll says and what they say in the comments, that’s a great way to, like Brynne said before, really, start building that relationship based on the poll. And because they registered a comment within there, you know, that they’re interested in otherwise, they will not comment,
Brynne Tillman 07:39
right? They’re investing their time. So let’s think about what makes a good poll. Number one, if you’re like, I’m not sure. Go find a great statistic from an article from a third party article that creates a question that you can now ask with, you know, what is your number one priority? Because they can only vote on one? What is your best, your most, your number one priority? When you have a third party backing this, so now I find 68% (making this up) 68% of people on LinkedIn are using mobile. So I now ask the question, you know, as a LinkedIn trainer, I’m curious, I came across this statistic, and I’m wondering if this is how, you know, the same in my network? Where are you seeing this poll on LinkedIn, desktop or mobile? Other sharing comments, because it could be a tablet, it could be I don’t know, somewhere else, right. So you can and now I get these responses. So let’s say I want to start a conversation with those responses. I click through and I see Bob Woods said mobile. So I reach out and “Hey, Bob, thanks so much for taking the time to vote on my poll. I noticed you voted on mobile. I’m curious how much you’re using mobile and how much using desktop and for what would you be open to a quick call, I’ll share some insights that we gleaned on how other people are using it. And I can learn a little from you.” And now I convert someone that voted on that poll to a conversation. So Steven Farber says, “Polls are a fantastic tool to generate interest, create value and qualify prospects.” Absolutely! And I love the qualify, now I gave a really simple poll. But if you have a poll that allows you to identify a priority that your prospect has, it can absolutely be incredibly valuable.
Bob Woods 09:30
Absolutely! And then just by having a really quality poll, you’re going to stand out from so many other people who show up on other people’s timelines in the first place. And the other benefit is that the more people who vote in your poll, their network is going to be able to see that they voted in the poll as well. So polls generally tend to have a bit more of a viral effect because of that, especially because the LinkedIn algorithm right now is prioritizing putting polls out there more than it is other content too. So that’s like just another reason why you do a really quality poll.
Brynne Tillman 10:07
So and share a little bit of if I want specific people in my network to vote on that, what’s a good way to get that poll in front of them?
Bob Woods 10:17
Yes. So um, you also have the ability to share any type of content. And we’re going to be talking about polls here but when you post something, you can actually send that directly to their LinkedIn messaging inbox, too. So let’s say, for example, you put out a poll that you think that a VP of sales in IT would be interested in, you go through your network because you can only do this with first degree connections, you go through your network, see, which people satisfy that criteria, and then you can send them a quick message with that poll attached to it, just saying, you know, something like, “As a VP, blah, blah, blah, you know, whatever it is, you’re you’re looking for, I’m hoping that you would take a quick 10 seconds to vote on this poll, thank you” And you get it directly into their inbox so if they do miss it in their feed, they have it right there in their messaging inbox.
Brynne Tillman 11:18
So we’ve been honing the verbiage around this. So one of the things you could say, we send it to them and say, “Hey, Bob, as a LinkedIn genius, we’d love to get your one click vote on a poll that we just published. Once the poll closes, I’d be happy to share the insights that I gleaned from that, and you’ll also get the results and notifications” something like this, but I want to leave it open, then I’m going to be reaching out to you to share the insights. So you know, you’re gonna, it’s not out of the blue, when I say, “Hey, I promise to share some insights with you. I’d love to get on a 10 minutes zoom and let you know kind of where you benchmark with your peers.” And you can start to get conversations that way. So we talked a little bit about e-books. One of the things I love with e-books or content like that is you can share it, certainly on the newsfeed. But I love to grab that link so if you click on the three dots at the top of a post, you can copy the link and offer that to people in a welcome message. “So Bob, thanks so much for accepting my connection request. I’m not sure if you’re exploring clever ways to leverage LinkedIn for sales. But if you are, I have this 11 tip, LinkedIn Sales e-book that I’d be very happy to share with you let me know I’m happy to send a link.” Talk about why I’m not sending the link but I’m asking permission to send it.
Bob Woods 12:45
Well. Okay, so first of all, just so everyone knows, a welcome message is what happens after someone accepts a connection request. (Brynne: Right, good job) the second thing is we offer to send the link rather than just sending the link because we did research and I forget that Brynne knows the really specific numbers better than (Brynne: A B testing). Yeah, yeah, yeah, the A B testing that we did so. So we tested two groups of 100. The first group we sent the, we just sent the like 19 responded, the second group was 57, or 67…
Brynne Tillman 13:25
is 69%. So the first group of 100 we sent out the link, “Hope you enjoy this ebook. Here’s the link” 19 clicks through. The second set, we sent the link to 100 people with permission to share the link. 69 said, “Sure, send it to me” and 58 of them clicked through.
Bob Woods 13:49
Those are amazing results, especially if you’re in the marketing world and no click-through rates. That’s just that’s just incredible. It’s astounding.
Brynne Tillman 13:57
Yeah, so the last thing is take inventory of your existing connections. Look at the people that you want to engage. Do a little social listening, figure out what it is that they care about, and start to share content in one of three ways. One is your newsfeed, two is sort of templated so we go one to many, one to few, and one to one. So one to many is your news feed. One to few is I’ve identified 72 sales trainers that I’d like to get this in front of. And one to one is I really want to establish rapport with a very personalized note like, “Hey, Bob, it’s been a couple of years since we connected on LinkedIn. When your profile came up, I thought I’d reach out and connect.” So you know, make sure you’ve got a good mix of those. (I always ask permission prior to sharing a link.) Oh, thanks, Mike.
Bob Woods 14:47
Thanks, Mike. Yeah, it’s very true. So you know, getting permission. I mean, getting permission I think is important in today’s world, especially with all the spam and things like that. That we get by taking the time to actually insert that extra step. So again, slowing down your outreach and you saw from the studies that we did that we got a much greater response so speeding up your outcome. That is another great example of where that little phrase of ours certainly comes true.
Brynne Tillman 15:19
That’s great. Well guys, I hope you enjoyed today, Bob, as always, I have so much fun doing (Bob: oh yeah, this is always great). Making Sales Social Live. So everybody when you are out and about this week, make sure you make your sales social. Have a great day!
Bob Woods 15:36
Thanks, everybody. Bye. Hit subscribe now, and click the notification bell to get the latest videos from Social Sales Link. Give this video a like and comment down below. Register for free resources at linkedInlibrary.com.