Every successful sales relationship starts with a conversation. Sales reps must establish rapport with their prospects before advancing through the buying cycle, and commenting provides a unique opportunity to initiate and strengthen relationships. In fact, 39% of sales reps who regularly comment on their sales prospects’ LinkedIn activities exceed their quota.
Inside Sales expert Ken Krogue calls comments one of his six core skills of social media, and believes that they are powerful tactics to start conversations with prospects. “Comments are the basic element of interaction on social media,” says Krogue. “Comments start engagement.”
While liking and resharing status updates can help achieve top-of-mind awareness, leaving insightful comments can command the attention of your sales prospects.
Finding the right balance with comments
To find commenting opportunities, visit your LinkedIn Home page and view the LinkedIn activity of your connections. You can choose to view either “Top” or “Recent” updates. You can also filter by content your connections have shared, LinkedIn Group contributions, or by updates your connections have made to their LinkedIn profile.
Focusing on quality over quantity will help you attract the right kind of prospect attention. When overzealous sales reps see prospect posts on LinkedIn, they quickly respond and move on to other opportunities. Krogue calls these messages “drive-by comments” and notes that they rarely generate thoughtful responses. Instead, he recommends approaching each comment as the start of a back-and-forth conversation.
3 steps to meaningful conversations
Imagine that you’ve just received an email from a high value prospect looking for your expert opinion. Before putting fingers to your keyboard, work through these 3 steps:
- Sit back and take a deep breath. This counters the body’s natural tendency to lean forward when excited or nervous. Leaning back makes you feel more assertive and confident.
- Reassess what you know about the prospect. What challenges are they currently facing in their line of work? What new opportunities are on their mind? Are they just looking for answers, or do they want to explore a topic further?
- Compose a thoughtful response. Address the specific pain points or topics that the prospect covers, and provide additional insight from your own experiences in the industry. This is not the time to sell your solution, however. You must first position yourself as a trustworthy industry leader before pivoting to your company’s offers.Here are some common techniques that can spark further conversations from comments:
- Posing a thought-provoking question about the topic
- Discussing a recent article or research that provides additional insight to their questions
- Sharing how you, or a company you worked with, handled a similar situation
Anyone can write a quick response in the comment section. But to achieve social selling results, view each comment as the start of a conversation. An enlightened comment encourages your prospects to respond, and elevates your status as a problem-solving partner.