First things first: social selling is not traditional selling. It involves a series of soft touches to stay on the radar of prospects, customers, media, and others and it is done via social networking platforms, especially LinkedIn.
To assist your government contracting business, I have outlined five tips to boost your social selling strategy:
1. Use LinkedIn for Social Selling
For effective social selling to occur, there is one major precondition: your LinkedIn profile must be up-to-date and clearly enunciate what you do and who you do it for. Your profile needs several things in place in order to work for you 24/7/365. First, the information must be current and accurate.
Secondly, write it so that people do not think they are reading a resume, but are having a conversation with you. Writing in first person is highly recommended.
Thirdly, your opening screen shot must capture the attention of the viewer immediately. The three elements of the opening screen shot are your headshot (photo), your headline (the line under your name), and the background area (default is that blue background with dots and lines).
The headshot should be you, smiling, in business attire: no bar scenes, selfie of you behind the wheel of your car, family photo, or you at a sporting event. Remember, this is a business network.
The background is a free, giant billboard you can use for branding and positioning you and your company. Your headline should not simply be your job title, but should say whatyou do and whoyou do it for. If you want to know more about your options to boost your LinkedIn background, please check out my profile element tips.
The next important area is the “About” section. Most people cut and paste resume fodder here. Don’t do that! Tell your story: what you do, why you do it for, and how you got here. And remember, enthusiasm is key!
2. Connect: Incoming and Outgoing
Whether you are reaching out to connect with someone or responding to an incoming request, always review the profile of that person. You should look at shared connections and their background. Shared connections indicates to you how connected they are in your niche. Their background may include places you both have worked. Each of these gives you a clearer context of your relationship with that person. Also look at their current company and see if you know anyone there.
3. Respond to Incoming Requests and Add Content to Outgoing Requests
The information you get from doing the last step gives you the information you need to customize both responses and requests. For incoming requests you may be able to accept by saying “Thanks for reaching out- happy to connect. Please give my best regards to Anne Brown (someone you know in their company) when you see her.”
Rather than simply sending the form letter to request a connection, you can now say “We share 26 connections, including X & Y…” or “(Name) – I would welcome connecting with you to expand my network with your company. Please tell Bill Smith I said hello when you see him.” Knowing other people in their company will establish instant credibility.
These efforts only take a short time and make connecting more meaningful.
For LinkedIn, keep it all business. You should only connect with those who are germane to what you do in the market. Family and friend stuff is for Facebook.
4. Acknowledge Promotions, Job Changes, and Birthdays
Every day in your “Notifications” you can see job changes (promotions or migration) and birthdays. These offer an excellent opportunity to get back in touch with key people in your network
Take a quick look at the profile of that person. Determine where they are in the food chain of their organization and decide if you should spend another minute of research. If they require more research (i.e., they could help you with that company or agency) check out their current employer. If it is a birthday greeting, you can say “Happy birthday- make it a great day! How goes life at (company/agency) X? Do you have time for a quick call over the next week?”
The same would apply for a new position in the same company or a position in a new company. Acknowledge the event, but give it some context and try to start a new conversation.
5. Utilize the Home Page Feed for Social Selling
When you open LinkedIn you open on your home page, which is an active feed regarding what people in your network are doing (liking, commenting, posting, and more).
Scroll down the feed and find a few things to “like,” comment on, or re-share. When you do this, that connection is alerted to your action. The more you do this for people in your network, the higher you will stay on their radar.
This process is easy to do and worth your time!
Done well, each of these activities helps keep you on the radar.
Your activity on LinkedIn keeps you top of mind.
Your inactivity on LinkedIn buries you deep.
Be on the lookout for Mark Amtower’s appearance on our New Normal in Government Contracting series, where we discuss methods for staying afloat during the pandemic with leaders in the GovCon industry.
If you need help boosting your marketing strategy during COVID-19, please contact Mark Amtower at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need assistance crafting a winning federal proposal, please reach out to our proposal experts today!
About Mark Amtower
Author, consultant, speaker, LinkedIn coach and radio host, Mark Amtower has focused on one market – Global One – doing business with government – for more than thirty years. Known in Washington, DC for his all-black attire and extreme candor, Amtower is by far the most influential and candid voice in business-to-government marketing, quoted in over 250 publications, doing interviews on business-talk radio around the country, speaking at 20-30 conferences and seminars each year. Each year Amtower consults with senior management in selected companies on government marketing programs. He is the author of Amazon best seller Selling to the Government(2011) and Government Marketing Best Practices (2005). His e-newsletter, The Amtower Report, is widely read by the Federal contracting community. He is widely recognized as a leading authority on Federal marketing and consults with senior management in several companies on government marketing programs. Amtower has advised over 2,500 companies since founding Amtower & Company in 1985. His consulting services have led to well over $30 billion in sales, helping many companies become category leaders in the government market. If you would like assistance reaching your target market, please reach out to Mark at email@example.com.