Share this article

Social Selling: How to use LinkedIn for Sales

For the past few years, I’ve adopted a combination of both traditional and social selling practices to feed my pipeline with new sales opportunities.

The market shows that social selling is complementary to traditional prospecting like cold calling.

Forrester: 72% of B2B salespeople who use social networks outperform their colleagues. A good salesperson who uses social selling gets 18% more leads and generates 17% more conversation.

To get this kind of result, it’s essential to learn how to use social selling effectively to reap the benefits. Here is a 6-step process that will allow you to be more successful in your sales career.

SOCIAL Process (1)

Select Your Ideal Client

To select your ideal client, you need to understand who needs the product or service you represent. You need to be familiar with the target company’s profile and the decision maker’s. Here is what you need to identify before beginning your work and being able to sell with LinkedIn:

  • Who needs what you’re offering?
  • Industry
  • Geographic area
  • Size of the business
  • The decision maker’s title
  • Their function
  • Problems they wish to resolve
  • Why are they buying?
  • Challenges they wish to meet

Obtain Prospects Information

Before contacting your prospects, you also need to understand their concerns and interests.

  • Take the time to listen
  • Find them and follow them:
  • LinkedIn profiles
  • Group discussions
  • Find out about their company, industry, and challenges
  • What topics are relevant to them?
  • What questions do they ask?

Connect with Decision Makers

Before buying from you, your prospects need to know who you are, and they need to be able to trust you. You need to position yourself as an expert by sharing relevant information. To do this, keep in mind the problems you can solve and the solutions they’re looking for. Here’s how to connect with the decision makers:

  • Send them messages or InMails
  • Show your expertise
  • Gain their trust
  • Like, comment, and add value to the discussion
  • Invite them to join your network

[TEMPLATE] LinkedIn Connection Message

You don’t need to complicate your connection message. This is variant of what I use:

Hello {First.Name},

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.


Inform Your Prospects

Be attentive to your prospects’ news feed and that of their company. Be a leader in your field by helping members of your network.

  • Share relevant content
  • Connect with leaders of the industry
  • Align your messages with marketing
  • Provide answers and ideas
  • Show leadership
  • Help your audience solve problems

[TEMPLATE] LinkedIn First Message

When your prospect accepts your connection request, it’s time to inform and add value. Here’s a message I’ve already used:

Thank you {First.Name} for having accepted my invitation. For your information over 3,500 business leaders have signed-up for our blog which aims to help improve sales performance. Here’s a link to the blog:


Achieve Devirtualization

Sales are vital to you and your company, which is why virtual conversations must become real as soon as possible. Once you have identified a prospect’s problem you can solve, step out of the virtual environment to begin the sales cycle. To complete this step, it’s essential to:

  • Have a clear strategy
  • Use the relationship created via the social network
  • Bring about an offline conversation with your prospect
  • Continue the conversation (meeting, phone call, email, etc.)
  • Make the sales process move forward

[TEMPLATE] LinkedIn Devirtualization Message

When it’s time to speak to prospects IRL, this is the type of message I use:

Hi {First.Name},

We’re connected on LinkedIn. I help business leaders concerned about having the right sales force in place to ensure the company’s growth.

I’m taking the liberty to reach out to propose a short phone call regarding the sales challenges you might be dealing with.

When would be the best time for you?

Thank you,


Leverage your Clients’ Value

Your clients are not only a source of sales revenue for your company; they can also help you position yourself as an expert within your LinkedIn network and refer you to prospects who are not yet members of your network. To leverage your clients’ value:

  • Ask them to write a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile
  • Ask them to give you references for potential prospects
  • Connect with more prospects
  • Keep up your relationship with clients by posting relevant content
  • Increase their loyalty


These six steps are simple, but they require investment on your part. If you’re disciplined and thorough, you’ll be able to reach your sales goals much more easily and even surpass them.

Remember that social selling is a sales activity complementary to prospection by phone and email. You must, therefore, include it in your recipe of activities; without it, you won’t be able to achieve your goals on a regular basis.