Selling Strategies – The Four C’s of Social Selling on LinkedIn

October 26th, 2018

How can you use LinkedIn (LI) in your selling activities?  That’s a question we get frequently from our clients and the sales consultants we coach.  LI has emerged as a beast, particularly in the B2B selling space, and has made networking far easier and less time consuming than the old days.


In the BL era (Before LinkedIn), a salesperson would have to get in a car, drive to the local business networking event or trade group meeting, mingle around trying to find the right people, spend too much time talking about nonsense with strangers, and hoping to leave the event with some good connections and/or leads.  While this remains a productive activity if you know how to do it right, LI has emerged as an amazing complement to physical networking.  This is “social selling”.

The starting point for LI and social selling is having a great profile – one that appears unique and gives you a competitive advantage in your space.  Here are the basics of having a solid LI profile (according to LI)

  1. A professional photo
  2. Good headline that isn’t your title, but rather a description of your skills and talents
  3. Engaging summary – use your sales Power Statement here
  4. Your current role or position
  5. Your previous work history
  6. Summary of your skills and unique talents
  7. Your educational background

Once you’ve developed a strong profile, now get busy working with LI to improve your visibility, build your network, connect with people and generate some sales leads.

Four Cs of LinkedIn Social Selling

For those less experienced with LI, organize your social selling plans around the four Cs – Connections, Content, Curation and Conversations.  This article provides some detail around each of the four C’s, and provides you a tool to see how your online networking activities stack up against others in your space.

Your Social Selling Index

LI provides you a cool way to see how you stack up to others in your space.  It’s called your Social Selling Dashboard.  You can find your Social Selling Dashboard by going to  See my profile in the image below.

social_selling_ index

While I’m in the top 4% of people in my space, I clearly have opportunities to improve.  In particular, I don’t do much prospecting for sales leads on LinkedIn because I’m fortunate that I don’t have to.  Over the years, I’ve built a relatively strong network and served our clients well, and these efforts have fueled the growth of the business.  Not everyone is so fortunate to be as old and experienced as me – is that really a fortunate thing?  Not sure about that.


A wise man once told me “nobody ever bought something they weren’t aware of”.  Increase your visibility by making connections in LI. First, determine the criteria of the target market with whom you want to connect.  Then, build your list with the Advanced Search tool applying the criteria you’ve created.

Next, reach out to those people with whom you want to connect.  LI did a nice thing and provides a standard connection message, but don’t use it.  It’s so over-used that when someone receives the standard invite, it communicates that you don’t’ really have a personal desire to connect with that person. You just want to sell to them, and that’s not a good reason.


On a social network so ubiquitous as LI, you must position yourself as a thought leader – as someone who gives to others, helps others, provides meaningful information that is a benefit to those in your community.  You also want to position yourself as a trusted advisor.

Creating and sharing original content is the best strategy to position you as a thought leader and trusted advisor.  Sharing your blog posts, whitepapers and other original content on LI is one effective strategy.  Another is posting your content on LI’s version of a blog – Pulse.

To find Pulse on LI, go to your home page and click on the three dots on the right-hand side. From there click on “recent updates”.  You will see an image on the left which looks like some boxes – this is Pulse.

Ideally, your content should appeal specifically to your target market, and should answer the most frequent questions and problems your target market has.  If you consistently share your blog content, are reasonably active on Pulse, and speak emotionally to your target market; you’ll have gone a very long way to conquering the “Content” side of social selling.  Now, onto “Curation”.


When we talk about “curation”, we’re talking about content curation – the act of sharing great content you come across through your streams of information on the web.  After all, you’ve been building your LI network and you want your LI connections to view you as a thought leader.

The original content you create (see Content section) is one step.  Content curation takes your contribution to the network one step further.  One of the best ways to find content that you can share with your network is through  Feedly has a wealth of original content created by others.  If you find something you think your network would value, share it with them.


This is the culmination of everything you’ve done so far.  You’ve created a compelling profile, which presents you as someone worth following.  You’ve consistently created great content that is appealing to your target market, and you have practiced good content curation by sharing good information you found online, through Feedly and other sources.

Now’s the time to make all this work pay off.  Send a personal LI InMail message to someone you want to engage with as part of your selling process.  Don’t be too salesy.  Remember, you want to come off as a trusted advisor.  When making a connection, offer something of value.  For example, send a message to your prospect that says something like,

“I see you’re in xyz business.  We work with many others in your space and understand some of the challenges you have with abc (problem).  We’ve found some effective solutions to (abc problem), and I’d like to share with you what we’ve seen work.  I realize we may not be a fit and that’s ok.  I just think you’d benefit from a short conversation about how others in your industry are solving (abc problem).  May I give you a call?”

This is a non-threatening invitation to talk, and it provides value that might get you a commitment of time from your prospect.


In the modern-day sales role, networking has taken on a whole new meaning – thanks to LinkedIn.  Complement your physical networking at business trade organizations with online networking via LI.  This online networking activity, also known to some as “social selling”, should revolve around four strategies; 1) making connections to other LI members who are in your target market, 2) creating and sharing original content, 3) curating others’ content by sharing it with your network on LI, and 4) capitalizing on all this by reaching out to individual prospects inviting them to a conversation that provides value to them.



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