What a crazy half-decade this has been.

Remembering back just 5 years ago, I couldn’t tell you a thing about Social Selling. I had never heard of it. When it came to LinkedIn, I thought it only existed to help me get a job. And Twitter? It was just starting to take off.

Fast forward to today. Social Selling is a real “thing” now. I should know; I breathe it and sell it every day! But when I talk to prospects in several specific industries, I hear that their sales force is over 50 and won’t even consider using LinkedIn or Twitter to engage with prospects and clients.

So, how does this group communicate and try to gain new business? You guessed it. Emails and phone calls.

Don’t get me wrong; both of those mediums may work for another year or so. The problem with them, though, is that these reps’ buyers are changing rapidly. As those who are in my generation (50+) are aging out of the workforce, Millennials are taking their place. Guess what? They don’t use email or answer the phone. Instead, they are fully engaged on LinkedIn and Twitter and other social media. Their buying decisions are absolutely influenced by social.  If individual sales reps do not have a presence in social media, especially on LinkedIn, they may be quickly overlooked.

Consider what happens after you go to any networking event or trade show: You’ve handed out a bunch of business cards to people whom you consider prospects. You know what happens when those contacts get back to their office? They don’t file it in their “Rolodex”—if they’ve even heard of that—or put it into a business card holder. They’re not looking at your Website, either.

What are they doing? Nine times out of 10, they’re Googling your name. So, what’s the first thing that comes up in the results? Your LinkedIn profile. That’s right; your LinkedIn Profile represents you, online!

With that in mind, let me suggest a couple of tips to start your Social Selling journey:

LinkedIn Profile. Your LinkedIn Profile is essentially your mini-Website. and should be treated with the same care and diligence. Make sure you have a professional picture. Consider the Headline as an opportunity to add your value statement, and not just your title at your company. Your Summary is the place where they make a decision if they want to engage with you or not. Make it informative, educational and engaging.

Link in on LinkedIn. Just do it!  You should be connected with all your prospects, customers, friends, family members… as many people as you can. Why? When you ask for a referral or want to meet a new opportunity, it’s both who you know and who they know that counts.

Listen and engage. Want a unique way to let your prospects know you are paying attention? Read what they post and comment, and then like and share if you feel it helps others in your network. Believe me, they will notice.

If I haven’t convinced you, or if you would like to continue the discussion, I invite you connect with me and schedule a conversation. You can access my calendar at www.ScheduleACallWithSallyJo.com or contact me directly at SLaMont@PeopleLinx.com. I welcome your comments and observations.

If you’re having trouble convincing your older sales reps to participate in Social Selling, we recently covered that and other topics surrounding Social Selling adoption within organizations in a Webinar entitled “Gaining Social Selling Buy-In from Your Sales Reps & Leaders.” Sign up to watch the recording of the Webinar today!