While you've been busy deciding what to do with all those random LinkedIn invites, the world's biggest networking platform for professionals has quietly been making itself more and more sales-friendly.

From opening up a freelance marketplace to revamping its advertising platform, LinkedIn is serious about shedding the stereotype that it's only for job seekers and hiring managers.

Marketers Ruin Everything

Of course, the opportunity to sell your products and services using LinkedIn has created lots of ineffective, ill-advised attempts by sales professionals and marketers to hawk their wares on the platform.

In reality, there is a specific strategy and psychology you must embrace if you want to have success selling your products or services on LinkedIn.

I want to spend the rest of this post outlining the exact steps you need to take in order to have success selling on LinkedIn.

Step 1 - Create a Client-Facing Profile

You wouldn't invite prospects to visit your physical office if it was a mess ... so make sure you don't invite them to visit your LinkedIn "office" (i.e., your profile page) without first cleaning things up.

The key is creating what I call a "client-facing" profile ... meaning that instead of having a profile page that reads like an online résumé, instead you talk about the unique value and benefit your product or service provides to your ideal clients and customers.

(Here's a step-by-step, free video training on how to create a killer LinkedIn Profile.)

Step 2 - Identity and Engage with the Right Prospects

One of the most misunderstood and underutilized tools on LinkedIn is its powerful internal search engine.

With a few simple clicks, you can instantly sift through 433 million people in 200+ countries to find the exact person who is the perfect prospect for your business.

Even better, you can use automation tools to send personalized, 1-on-1 invites to scores of prospects in just a few minutes each day.

Step 3 - Sort and Serve

Once you begin bringing in all those new connections, it's critical that you take the time inside of LinkedIn to tag and organize all the prospects into specific lists based on job title, location, industry type or similar criteria.

Step 4 - Give ... with a Twist

This step is critical, and far too many sales and marketing professionals want to skip past it.

It involves what I'll call "professional courtship" ... you can't just ask a prospect to marry you (i.e., make a sale) on the first date.

Even if you just want to get a prospect on the phone for a "free consultation" or "quick chat," you have to earn the right to ask.

That means first giving prospects valuable, free tips and content that actually help them achieve their goals. This method also allows prospects a more passive, non-threatening way to enter into your world and see if you really know your stuff.

It also (depending on the type of content you create and share) gives them a chance to get to know, like and trust you.

And the more quality, valuable and targeted advice you share with a prospect, the more likely he or she is to want to talk more directly with you about paid products and services.

And that's where our final step comes in.

Step 5 - Funnels of Fun

When you combine the power of LinkedIn's network with some basic automation tools and content marketing, you have the makings of a powerful sales funnel.

Here's a simple example:

  • Use this automation tool to find and send personalized invites to your target prospects.
  • Tag each new prospect inside LinkedIn once he or she accepts your personalized invite to connect.
  • Create and share specific content (free tips, advice, etc.) with prospects that you've tagged.
  • Use this automation tool to send hundreds of 1-on-1, personalized messages inside LinkedIn each day to your prospects, sharing a piece of content or free tips, etc.
  • Put a "Call to Action" button directly inside the content you're sharing on LinkedIn to generate warm, inbound leads.
  • Watch for direct replies on LinkedIn Messaging from prospects you're sending free tips and content to, and engage in conversations.
  • When you post content on LinkedIn, you can also monitor who is engaging with it, and then immediately connect and message every single person who likes, comments or shares your post, creating context for "warm" conversations that expand upon the topic of your post or content that you shared.

The Reality of Selling on LinkedIn

Having spent the past 48 months studying how to sell products and services on LinkedIn, and having taught more than 400 professionals how to use the platform for sales and marketing, the steps I've outlined here get proven results.

Give it a shot, and let me know how things go for you!