If you think LinkedIn is just for posting career updates, you’re missing out on a valuable way to engage with your customers and prospects! We recently had the pleasure of co-hosting a webinar entitled “Leveraging Vertical IQ to Find Content That Starts Conversations on LinkedIn,” with social selling expert Brynne Tillman, CEO of Social Sales Link and The Modern Banker, and Vertical IQ’s CSO and co-founder, Susan Bell.

Brynne’s superpower is teaching professionals how to utilize LinkedIn to start trust-based conversations without being salesy, while Susan is a highly successful and experienced sales guru. Together, this dynamic duo joined forces to share a bevy of simple but effective ideas on using Industry Intelligence to personalize your approach to prospecting.

As Brynne notes, it’s crucial to share the right kind of information on LinkedIn if you want to build relationships and be seen as a resource who adds value. “One of the mistakes that we often make is we share content we want to share instead of content [our connections] want to consume,” she says.

Earning prospect conversations

To get a conversation with a prospect, we have to earn the right, Brynne explains. “Someone accepting our connection request is not permission to begin sending them stuff. … To earn the right, we have to master the ask-offer ratio — I am going to ask you to spend your time consuming my content.”

Brynne says that after someone reviews your content, they will have one of three reactions: They will feel it was a valueless “connect and pitch,” that is it neutral (not hurting the sharer’s reputation, but also not helping), or that it is compelling, establishing rapport and laying the groundwork for building a relationship.

To get that positive reaction, you must be seen as a resource for content that is valuable enough to make the reader feel it was a good use of their time to consume. As Brynne says, “We must lead to our solution, not with it.” And you can do that by sharing content that matters to the reader.

In his book “Endless Referrals,” Bob Berg says people do business with people they know, like, and trust. But how do we get to know and trust people on LinkedIn or other social selling platforms? Brynne says it’s all about attract, teach, and engage. “We attract them with good content, we teach them with good content, and we engage them by asking for their perspective on good content.”

The right topic to spark engagement

Brynne shared a number of places within your LinkedIn profile where you can surface content that conveys the fact that you are a source of useful information, as well as some helpful tips on how to engage your network effectively. Ultimately, you’re trying to start conversations, but what kind of content will achieve this?
To build credibility, “you start a conversation around what they care about,” says Brynne. “The bottom line is content that starts conversations is content around their industry, client content, and their client’s industry content.”

Susan adds, “Most business owners don’t have the time, inclination, money, et cetera, to do research on their own industry, much less their customers’. They of course know a lot about it, but if you can provide additional, timely insights, that’s a great conversation starter and will help keep you top of mind.”

But here again, Brynne says it’s essential to ask for permission to share content with a LinkedIn connection — even if it seems highly relevant to them. For instance, find a great industry-specific news article, then reach out to people in your network who are in that industry (or work with that industry) using a personalized message. Say you found an article about [topic summary] you thought might be of interest to them, and if they’d like to read it, to let you know — you’d be happy to send the link.

Connect with context and tailored content

Another approach is to ask for a connection’s insights on a recent LinkedIn post related to their industry. As Brynne suggests, that message might say something like, “As a [professional in whatever industry], I would love your insights on this recent post. If you’re open to sharing your thoughts around X, Y, and Z, your comments would be greatly appreciated.’ And now I start to engage with them about asking them for their insights.”

The key here is that you are approaching them in a non-salesy way while simultaneously sharing valuable content about their industry. Brynne says this is effective because “I’m not thinking they’re prospecting me; they’re engaging me, and they care about what I have to say.”

She continues, “Content is vital to creating meaningful connections, period. End of story. Your content shares your thought leadership, perspective, and expertise, along with the curation of expert perspectives from industry insiders. This is how we lead to our solution, not with our solution.”

“Connecting with context is really important,” Brynne notes. “Selling is not a good context. A much more suitable context would be requesting their expertise, thoughtful engagement on their content, leveraging shared connections or experiences, or coming in with credibility, genuine support, or valuable content.”

And this is where Industry Intelligence, like you’ll find on Vertical IQ, can be a crucial, timesaving resource. Industry-specific trends and challenges, current conditions, recent developments, and timely news articles on over 920 industries, as well as 3,400 local economic reports, are just a click away. And all of that content is designed to be shared, providing you with near-limitless opportunities to be viewed as a value-added resource by clients and prospects.
Incorporating Industry Intelligence into your social selling strategy is a no-brainer, according to Brynne. “LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is the most incredible sales tool for finding the right people, and using the one-two punch with Vertical IQ, you find the right people on LinkedIn and then you find the right content for the right people on Vertical IQ.”

Want access to easy-to-share industry content that engages while adding value? Contact us to learn how Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ can save you time while building credibility with clients and prospects.

Subscribe to our blog: