Many of us need to reach out to prospects over LinkedIn. As we work hard to do this, we also face many challenges.
- We spend hours connecting with our ideal clients, but have trouble starting or maintaining a sales conversation.
- We sent out hundreds of sales messages, but receive no replies from our prospects.
- We have trouble finding a sustainable way to send out sales messages without feeling overwhelmed.
Today, I will share some of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when it comes to LinkedIn sales outreach. By avoiding these mistakes, you are much more likely to overcome your sales challenges and see better results.
Mistake #1: Asking for a Sales Meeting Too Early
This is a common mistake many entrepreneurs make. They send a LinkedIn connection request to the ideal client, the client accepts, then the next message sent is to tell them what they do and ask for a sales meeting.
Most of us here are in B2B sales. But just like any other kind of sales, it’s all about relationship building.
I like to see it as people to people sales. So, when you ask for a sales meeting too early, you’re more likely to sound “salesy”. More importantly, you start to sound just like any other salesperson trying to gain clients online. Impersonal AND not at all unique.
Instead of asking for a sales meeting right after connecting, take the relationship slow.
Spend a couple of weeks taking note of what your ideal clients are doing, engaging with them on social media, and focusing on providing value before you take things to the next level. Your messages are more likely to stand out because you have taken the time to really get to know your prospect.
Mistake #2 : Generic Sales Messages
Another common mistake that entrepreneurs make when it comes to outreach, is sales messages being too generic.
I know we don’t have a lot of time to sell. Many people choose to craft templates to send to many prospective clients at a time. This is a legitimate sales process and can help you sell more efficiently, at the same time it does not mean these templates should sound generic!
If you’re sending out blast templates like these, focus on creating sales messages that are customized without taking too much of your time.
There are simple ways to do this. For example, you can include the date you’ve sent this message out.
This simple tactic will communicate to your prospect that your message is not just a pre-crafted template.
The more customized your messages, the less generic they will sound.
There are many great methods for achieving this. When you mention the challenges that your ideal clients face, ask yourself whether or not these challenges are specific enough.
The more specific the challenges are, the more credible you sound.
So whenever you sent out sales messages, make sure to talk about the challenges and opportunities that are specific to your ideal clients. For example, make it industry-specific.
Mistake #3: Wrong Target List
The success of your sales starts with a good list. Often times, we’re so eager to connect with prospects and implement our sales strategies that we forget to spend enough time thinking about those prospects to begin with.
The strategy of sales is actually quite simple. You present a solution to a challenge that a group of people are experiencing. If your solution can solve their urgent challenges, you will receive positive responses and see sales success.
However, the foundation of this strategy lies in finding a group of people who face a challenge you can solve with your products/services.
Many entrepreneurs think that whatever they do can be beneficial to everyone and anyone, but this is hardly ever the case.
For example, if you are a social media consultant, you might think that every business needs a strong social media presence, but this is not always true, and if it is, it’s not always a priority. Business clients are only willing to take action and spend resources on the most pressing and urgent challenges. Every business has limited resources and time. They must prioritize carefully.
Your job is to find that specific group of people who are experiencing that urgent and pressing challenges that you can fix.
If the challenge they face is not urgent, they might take their time talking to you.
They might cancel meetings you’ve scheduled with them. They might not even end up working with you at all if they decide something else is more important.
Here’s an example, if you’re a social media manager, you are more likely to connect with somebody who is an e-commerce business versus a traditional manufacturing company. E-commerce businesses depend on social media to get more clients. Traditional manufacturing companies can benefit from social media, but they generate most of their business through referrals and word-of-mouth.
So, take your time creating a list of people or companies that experience the most urgent and pressing challenges that you can solve. The more important and urgent the challenge, the more likely they will talk to you and the shorter your sales cycle will become.
Mistake #4: Outsourcing Your Outreach Before You’ve Figured Out the Foundation
Sales success consists of:
- A good lead list
- Irresistible sales hooks
- Effective sales messages
Every single element requires testing and continual improvements. The process also requires an understanding of your ideal clients to make it work.
One common mistake I see entrepreneurs making is relying on someone else (such as a consultant, virtual assistant, or lead generation company), to do the work for them.
They enlist someone else to tell them what they should be saying, who they should sell to, and how to best serve their ideal clients.
So instead of doing the hard work of trying to figure out who they should sell to, the best solutions to use in order to support their ideal clients, and what they should be saying to be effective and authentic, they spent money asking somebody else to figure it out for them.
I believe it is critically important to have a sales mentor around to show you the best practices. The testing and revising of your sales process requires your active presence and a process of self-discovery and reconfiguration in order to get it exactly right.
If you don’t have a sales process that is already working, avoid outsourcing this important piece of your business to someone else.
On the other hand, once you’ve fully figured out the foundation of your process, you can easily outsource tasks here and there!
Mistake #5: Giving Up Too Early
Many entrepreneurs give up too early.
They spend a couple of weeks sending out messages and trying to get sales meetings but become disheartened when they don’t see the results they wanted.
The reality is that it takes time to build relationships with people.
It also takes time to figure out the best messages and sales hooks to get the attention of your ideal clients. The testing and improvement phase takes time as well.
Instead of continuing to test and improve the sales process, many entrepreneurs become convinced they are not cut out for sales and give up.
If you question whether you are doing the right thing, just remember that sales is all about testing and improving. As long as you keep moving forward and improving, you will get there!
That’s why I created the Executive Lounge for female entrepreneurs, so that you have a community of like-minded women who can help you climb out of the entrepreneurial ruts and provide you with supportive feedback when you need it most.
What LinkedIn sales mistakes do you think you might have made in your sales journey? What has helped you overcome those mistakes?
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