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Selling Skills

To thank for a LinkedIn endorsement or not to thank: How to Sell Yourself

Within the past few days, five people have emailed to ask me etiquette questions about social media. I’m not an expert in social media but with my expertise in writing and selling skills, I have some ideas that may help you increase your influenc and ability to persuade through social media:

Q. When someone endorses me, should I send a thank you?
A. Why wouldn’t you? Social media is supposed to be SOCIAL and if someone is kind enough to take a nanosecond out of their life to say that you are somehow special, it seems reasonable and smart to take a full 30 seconds out of your life, to show gratitude. Influence is a collection of perceptions about the benefit you/your product or service will bring to the other person. You add to that collection by being appreciative.

Q. Do texting “rules” or email “rules” apply on LinkedIn?
A. Email. Your reply comes to the other person in the form of an email and it should be business worthy.

Q.On LinkedIn, what etiquette rules should I follow?
A. See above. But more specifically, here is a starter list:
•Begin with a salutation – a greeting. It’s a casual medium so Hi is preferred by most people. Please do not just begin with the recipient’s name. It’s like grunting at them!
•End with a show of warmth. Besides taking the time to type your name, add a close. I prefer Warmest regards because it’s not just warm, it’s warmer (hot?). You want the other person to think well of you; not that you’re so busy that you don’t have time for a bit of thoughtfulness. If Warmest regards isn’t authentic for you, use something that is: Thanks! (if you have something to thank them for!), Best regards, Wishing you the best, All the best. Avoid using just the word Best. A few years back, the WSJ said that was an offensive close. Whenever I ask in real time, how many people don’t like the closing Best, and it’s amazing how many don’t!
•Spelling counts. It’s an email and shouldn’t read like a secret code.
•Keep it brief. How one wants to read a lot. Unless the other person has asked you for information, be very sparing in a LinkedIn response.

Q. How can I sell with LinkedIn?
A. You can’t. Well, you can but only after you establish a trusting relationship. How does that happen? Don’t bother them! Instead post articles that you think might be helpful or send them articles with a brief note: Thought this might be of interest – link, and signature. Done! Most likely, they’ll send you a thank you (see #1!) and then you can respond – without selling – to their kind note. Don’t stalk them. The very first part of selling is caring about your buyer. Stimulate them with insightful information to help them gain additional success and they will be thrilled to talk with you.

What are your questions?

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