LinkedIn: the art of convincing to increase your sales.

These days, promotion is simply not enough for companies to increase their visibility. Expertise matters. To this effect, LinkedIn is an excellent platform to develop your brand. We met with Renée Fortin, Vice-President and Partner at entremetteuse to discuss the topic.

Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) – We all know LinkedIn as a site that features individual profiles. Creating an account is one of the first things we do when we’re looking for a job. Are companies also using LinkedIn?

Renée Fortin (R.F.) –  Yes, if they are focused on B2B, or eventually B2C (it’s a way to attract professionals) and if they have enough employees to efficiently manage their page.

CCMM –What is the goal of a company’s LinkedIn page?

R.F. – Many organizations are also asking this question. Even if they’re familiar with how the platform works, most of them don’t know what to do with it. What they need to keep in mind is that LinkedIn is a tool to manage a brand image. The company needs to use this network to showcase their skills and share relevant content and a promotional offer, but only once in a while. If they want to be taken seriously, they need to make sure there is a ratio between their promotional content and content that is related to the company’s expertise.

CCMM – Does this piece of advice also apply to individual profiles?

R.F. – Absolutely. Generally, making contact on LinkedIn is the first step to a more personal interaction with potential clients or partners, hopefully leading to meeting with them in person. The most common mistake is to try to sell a product or a service before your contact even knows who you are or what skills you possess. You’ll end up scaring off your new contact and you will face rejection.

CCMM – In the end, it’s all about convincing your contacts in order to increase your sales?

R.F. –  In summary, yes. “Cold calls” 1 are not as efficient as they once were. Today, if you want to gain new customers or find new partners, you need to build a relationship of trust with them, and then you can propose products or services that correspond to their needs (current or future).

CCMM – Is there something companies are ignoring that could actually increase their visibility?

R.F. – Discussion groups: they could be very useful for SMEs because of the variety of people who participate and the potential for making new connections. The topics discussed focus on trends or the growth of a sector or industry. Discussion groups often include specialists and centre on a specific theme. Starting a conversation and taking part in one that’s related to your industry has an enormous potential to increase your visibility and is a smart, easy, and free way to draw attention to your expertise.

CCMM – LinkedIn has just updated its layout. What are your thoughts on this change?

R.F. – It’s such as major change that I’ve started calling it “LinkedIn 2017”. There are a few guides that will help you navigate the new platform, which is not at all intuitive. You’ll find generic information, but you might not be able to take advantage of everything the site has to offer. You’ll need to do a bit more digging to understand how to use the tools available. Note that some of the tools previously available, which were free or inexpensive, have disappeared, which is a shame for the user. They’ll have to compensate for this loss by signing up for subscription plans, which are more expensive, to obtain the same results.

I’ll end with the following observation: the “personal brand” or “brand image” principle remains strong, even though it might seem like LinkedIn is turning into a recruitment platform.

1Soliciting someone in order to sell them a product or service.

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