Should LinkedIn be used to sell your contractor services? Absolutely…

I wish I had a quid for every time I’ve heard someone say that LinkedIn is not a place to sell!

It’s often said in a rather sanctimonious tone, suggesting that those who steer clear of any form of sales activity are the bastions of social media etiquette, and anyone who operates differently is a heathen spammer who should be rounded up and (virtually) flogged.

Ahead of my free March 7th webinar for readers of ContractorUK, let’s dispel this ‘LinkedIn is not for selling’ myth in two fell swoops, writes Matt Craven, founder of the CV & Interview Advisors.

Busting the myth

1) LinkedIn employs a large “Sales Solutions Team” that is dedicated to helping businesses and their sales teams sell on LinkedIn.

2) LinkedIn has a premium licence called “Sales Navigator” that is sold to sales teams so they can sell on LinkedIn.

So it’s unequivocal. And I’m guessing you can sense which side of the fence that I’m on!

Are you a biz dev contractor?

The reality is, I run a business, and like most businesses, there is no business unless we do some business development. And when I talk about ‘business development,’ I’m just using the modern-day term for sales and marketing.

Of course, I may have missed something all these years; so if anyone knows how to build a business without selling (in some form or another), please let me know, as I would be delighted to learn how this is done.

No time for a TARDIS

And for those who are negative about selling, I say this – if no one ventured to sell and market their products or services, we would all be worse off for it.

I mean who would want to jump in a TARDIS, go back in time, and reprimand Apple for daring to sell the iPhone? Who would berate Henry Ford for having the audacity to promote the Model T automobile?

If a business has a product or service that will benefit someone else, then go ahead and sell the heck out of it!

Remember you’re a business, too

And being true to form, this is where, like in most of my articles, I make the point that contractors are businesses. Well, at least the outside IR35 ones are anyway.

So, if all this is making sense and contractors are businesses, and businesses need to embroil themselves in selling to get some business, then contractors should be doing some selling. And as LinkedIn actively encourages selling on LinkedIn, contractors should be selling on LinkedIn. I repeat, contractors should be selling on LinkedIn! Right?!

Social selling

Now, this is where I change sides, because to me selling should be done in a certain way. It should be consultative and value-adding, rather than gratuitously telling people what you do.

And there’s an etiquette to how businesses should use LinkedIn to sell. The way you reach out and nurture prospects falls under the banner of social selling, and of course it has different rules of engagement than those applied by double-glazing sales reps of the 1980s!

It’s all about building relationships and adding value to those people. Offering help, making introductions, conducting and publishing research, sharing articles and running webinars. These are all ways that you can add value to build relationships.

Be brave!

Having said that, a mediocre marketing campaign will outperform a brilliant one that never sees the light of day, so even if you are merely connecting with potential clients and sending them some semblance of a coherent message that gets you on their radar, that’s better than hiding under a rock and deciding that LinkedIn just isn’t for you.

Remember, fortune favours the brave and generally speaking, who dares wins.

Sales Navigator

I suggest signing up to LinkedIn Sales Navigator, running searches (the search filters are extensive) to find your exact target audience. Then connect with them, message them (in a value-adding way) and eventually build a relationship solid enough to have a real-life conversation.

Obviously, there’s a bit more to it than that, but that’s the gist of it.

Find out more?

As to that ‘bit more’, and if you would like to know more about using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to win more contracting clients, you can join the March 7th Contractor UK webinar I referred to at the top here:

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Written by Matt Craven

Matt is the Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors and Incredibly Linked. He is considered to be a thought-leader in Personal Branding and is regularly engaged as a public speaker to deliver advice and guidance to global audiences on all things related to CV authoring, career advancement, LinkedIn, personal branding and thought leadership.
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