The subject of using LinkedIn in your sales process often starts with a statistic similar to this:
50-70% of the buyer’s process is spent conducting online research before reaching out to a sales professional.
While this statistic can’t be applied to every industry, most people agree, a buyers’ first move isn’t picking up the phone to talk to a sales person. They’re going to Google or friends and colleagues first. They want to first better understand the problem they’re facing, and then wrap their mind around potential solutions and solution providers.
Once they’re equipped with some questions they’ve developed in their minds about potential solutions they’ll reach out to talk to someone.
So let’s imagine they’re spending 50% of the buying process conducting online research, what does that mean for you, as a sales person?
“The Seller’s 50%”.
“The Seller’s 50%” isn’t defined as the time you put your feet up on your desk and wait for your ideal buyer to finish doing all the work you used to do.
“The Seller’s 50%” is time to be spent figuring out, what on earth those buyers have been up to all that time. Wouldn’t you like to know?
If it were to take 10 hours for your ideal buyer to make a decision, then 50% would mean they spent 5 hours online conducting research. If you think about it, it’s rather insane to think you can start selling at hour 6 without knowing what led up to that moment.
Here are 7 ways you can determine who’s influencing your ideal buyer (without expensive software).
1. YOUR OWN WEBSITE
I know, it seems, obvious, but when’s the last time you read your own website? Seriously.
This is one of the top influencers for your ideal client. Do you know what it says? Whatever it says is influencing your ideal client.
2. COMPETITOR’S COMPANY WEBSITE
While I don’t advocate obsessing about your what your competitor is doing, I think it’s good to check out their website, twitter feed and/or LinkedIn company page, at least once a quarter.
What themes, products, and differentiation does your competitor’s website communicate? Might that change the way you position your product?
3. INDIVIDUAL COMPETITOR’S BIO PAGE & LINKEDIN PROFILES
I believe everyone has a nemesis. If you’re really in toe-to-toe competition with someone, check out their company bio page and LinkedIn profile. If an ideal client were to look at their profile and yours, how would your’s compare?
Who will your ideal client call first? If it’s not you, what can you do about it?
4. NEWSPAPERS, BLOGS, INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS
What does your ideal buyer read? If you don’t know, ask your colleagues.
Once you make a list of 5-10 newspapers and blogs and industry publications, start reading them. Set up a Feedly or Flipboard account to create a customized newspaper you can read every morning.
5. INDUSTRY EVENTS / CONFERENCE
What Industry Events / Conferences does your Ideal Buyer attend? If you don’t know, ask or just google, eg. “Financial Advisor Conferences”.
Even if you can’t attend those conferences, you can read the conference’s website to learn the hot Keynote topics being presented. You can most often follow the conference hashtag to read the top themes and conversations taking place.
6. INDUSTRY INFLUENCERS
One of the simplest ways to find industry influencers is to find out who is speaking at these events. Those are the people your ideal clients are paying attention to. Add these people’s blogs to your Feedly or Flipboard account.
Enter an industry-related hashtag Eg. #finserv into Twitter (or Feedly) and see who is most influential on that topic.
(If you want the fast route, BuzzSumo is a good app to find influencers.
There are two primary benefits to reading what your ideal buyer is reading:
- Buyers don’t want order takers from their sales people, they want a strategic partner. Someone who can, after all that research, help them ask the right questions that apply to their particular business. If you don’t know what they’ve been exposed to, it will quite simply be more difficult to consult them effectively on your solution.
- You need to be the cure for information overload. You need to be your ideal client’s salvation from data exhaustion. If you can help them understand why despite everything they’ve read, you’re the right solution and why, then you’ll have a better chance at winning the deal.
Lastly, now that you understand who is influencing your buyer, you need to become an influencer too. But that’s a blog for another day.
Celina Guerrero is founder of Los Angeles-based social sales strategy and training company, Social to Sales. We help you transform your expertise into revenue through personal branding, social selling and digital influence.
Interested in learning more? Contact Celina at 310-994-8099, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or sign up for our weekly e-news and blog updates by clicking HERE.