“About 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering–to personality and the ability to lead people.”
Dale Carnegie wrote these words in 1936 as part of his groundbreaking book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People.”
“Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business,” Carnegie also wrote.
And while much has changed in the way we conduct business since 1936, the ability to win over people remains to be the critical component to closing deals.
If you want to be successful in generating sales on LinkedIn, or any digital platform for that matter, you must understand and master the concept of one-on-one personalized marketing.
This means going beyond old school advertising like blasting out a press release, an advertisement, or an offer.
In order to be successful selling on LinkedIn you must understand people. Get to know what they’re passionate about, what their problems are and what they need help with!
Small Talk to Sales
And while this, in theory, is great — I’m sure we’d all love to grab coffee with and chat up all our prospects personally — time is a very valuable commodity.
When you’re on LinkedIn, you can look at a prospect’s profile and you immediately know where they live, where they went to college, where they work and what their hobbies and interests are.
You have all the messaging icebreakers you’d learn in 15 minutes of small talk!
This is part of the skill in “human engineering” that Carnegie talks about. You have the ability to engage people at a personal, one-on-one level.
You also have an ability to break the ice and strike up a conversation around topics that the person is comfortable and familiar with without being salesy, spammy or sleazy.
Think of each 1-on-1 interaction you have with a prospect on LinkedIn like an online coffee meeting. You break the ice and begin the relationship by getting the other person talking about himself or herself.
How it Works
Like Google, you can leverage LinkedIn as a search engine for professionals to create these conversations.
Use LinkedIn search to find your ideal prospects, using keywords, such as someone’s job title, and then used LinkedIn’s advanced filters to refine your search to include where someone lives, where he or she went to college, etc.
You now have a customized list of your ideal prospects ready to go!
Best of all, LinkedIn has already delivered all the data points you need to start the conversation off with some small talk (where the person lives, went to school, where he or she works, etc.) before you jump into business.
Talk, Pivot, Close
You can pivot from the initial icebreakers (via your LinkedIn invitation and first messages) into a one-on-one conversation where you offer something of value to your ideal prospect.
The idea here is simple – you must earn the right to ask someone for their time and attention on LinkedIn.
You do that by providing some free tips, free advice, content, etc., that is aimed at solving one of the key prospects or pain points your ideal prospect has inside his or her business.
Because you’ve started the relationship off in a casual, 1-on-1 conversation style via LinkedIn, you can share your free tips or resources as a natural extension of the conversation.
For example, say I am targeting Business Coaches and Consultants.
After breaking the ice via my initial LinkedIn invite and bantering a bit via LinkedIn messages, I can say to a specific Business Coach prospect something like this:
“So I thought you might find this helpful – it’s a free resource guide for Business Coaches and Consultants looking to get more clients online. I’ll put a link to it below, and you can download it if you like. I’d love to hear what you think of it. And if not, no worries. Great talking to you and hope you have an awesome day!”
Because I’m offering something of value right away, and not asking for anything in return (a phone call, a meeting, etc.), I’m earning the time and attention of that prospect so I can make a bigger “ask” later on.
(Related: How to Personalize multiple LinkedIn Messages)
Using third party automation tools like LinMailPro, LinkedIn instantly scales your ability to have and have scores of these online “coffee meetings” every day, with each one being targeted to your ideal prospects online.
And it all comes back to something Dale Carnegie talked about more than 75 years ago: Human engineering.
In spite of all the technology and reduction in face to face interactions in today’s digital marketplace, people are still doing business with people.
As Carnegie noted: “In the heyday of his activity, John D. Rockefeller said that ‘the ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee. And I will pay more for that ability,’ said Rockefeller, “than for any other under the sun.'”
LinkedIn offers a tremendous opportunity for you to build the “Know, Like, and Trust” values with your prospective customers – so make sure you take advantage!