Closing Time

Turning Strangers into Prospects: LinkedIn Social Selling in 4 Steps

You’ve worked on your personal branding on LinkedIn and are now looking for tangible results.

How do you go from reaching out to someone in your ICP to counting them as a customer?

In this episode of Closing Time, we welcome Mandy McEwen, founder of Mod Girl Marketing, to talk you through her 4-step engage – connect – post – repeat process for LinkedIn social selling. She’ll share tips for using prospecting skills plus effective content to move relationships to the next level.

By adopting Mandy’s framework, you can turn your LinkedIn presence into a powerful tool for sales engagement. Consistency, strategic planning, and a focus on value-driven interactions will pave the way for successful connections and meaningful relationships. Find out how in this episode. 

Watch the video:
Key Moments:
Step 1: Engaging on LinkedIn

LinkedIn was designed as a networking hub for professionals to connect, share insights, and collaborate. It’s more than just a digital resume; it’s a thriving community of like-minded individuals striving for professional growth. With over 900M members globally, LinkedIn is the top network for B2B marketers and salespeople. Your competition is either on LinkedIn (and you need to catch up because your prospects are reading their content instead of yours) or they aren’t, and you have a competitive advantage. To help establish sales rep’s LinkedIn presence and create a social selling machine, Mandy McEwen shares her 4-step social selling process: engage, connect, post, repeat. It seems simple, but building a meaningful following that turns strangers into prospects can be challenging. Thankfully, Mandy is here to help.

Let’s start with step 1: engage. Once your LinkedIn profile is fully optimized (we’re talking profile photo, headline, about section, work history, etc.), it’s time to begin engaging with others on the platform. By engaging, you’re not merely showcasing your presence – you’re actively participating in the ongoing conversations that shape your industry. Begin by curating a list of individuals you’re eager to connect with or make an impression on – such as prospective clients, industry thought leaders, and influencers in your space. LinkedIn success isn’t a solo endeavor. It thrives on community building, fostering friendships, and nurturing relationships rooted in genuine interactions, which means you need to do more than simply “like” others’ posts. Effective engagement means adding meaningful comments that showcase your insights, opinions, and expertise.

Be open to commenting on strangers’ posts that genuinely intrigue you, and aim to continue the conversation with what you comment. While a simple “Great post!” comment sometimes suffices, investing a tad more effort can set you apart. Share your insights, pose thoughtful questions, or recount your own experiences related to the topic. This approach not only underscores your dedication but also fosters engaging discussions. Be intentional with every comment you leave because quality triumphs over quantity on LinkedIn.

Step 2: Sending Connection Requests

Now, time for step #2: connect. The reason for engaging before connecting is to show genuine interest and that you’ve done your homework. Interacting with a person’s content beforehand indicates that you are not a random contact or spammer, which increases the likelihood of your connection request being accepted. Mandy recommends including a personalized note when sending a connection request, such as “Hey Val, I noticed your insightful post on x, y, z yesterday. Your perspective on ABC really resonated with me. I’d love to connect and continue the conversation.” This approach showcases not only your engagement with their content but also your interest in fostering a genuine connection.

Timing plays a crucial role in this process. Try to wait until they’ve acknowledged your comment on their post before sending the connection request. In instances where a person may not be actively posting, see if they are commenting on other posts by navigating to the “Activity” section on their profile. Observing their interactions with others’ posts can provide a foundation for engaging meaningfully.

What if they aren’t posting content or commenting on other posts? Try to find other information on their profile – a professional milestone, shared hobby, company achievement, etc. – to help personalize your connection request. Remember: the goal is not to pitch your products or services but to convey that you’ve invested effort in understanding them on a personalized, deeper level. 

Step 3: Posting on LinkedIn (& Leveraging Content Curation)

If you’re feeling stuck when it’s time to draft a post for LinkedIn, you’re not alone. Many individuals struggle with step 3: posting. One approach that Mandy recommends is Content Curation, aka sharing content created by others. A good starting place is your company’s LinkedIn profile, which stores a treasure trove of relevant content for you to share. Once you have found some posts that you find interesting, click on the “repost with thoughts” button. Add at least two sentences of your thoughts to the post, tag your company page and relevant individuals, and use appropriate hashtags relevant to the content you are reposting. This will help increase the post’s visibility and provide valuable insights for your followers. In addition to your company’s LinkedIn page, visit their website and curate content from recent blogs, case studies, press releases, research reports, etc. Grab a blurb or some data points, maybe even a screenshot, and use that as the foundation of your post.

You can also curate content from other influencers and thought leaders in your space – screenshot a Tweet, write down a memorable quote, talk about a podcast they were recently on – the opportunities are endless for content curation. It doesn’t require you to reinvent the wheel; It’s about leveraging existing valuable content to kickstart your own presence.

In the discussion, Mandy also touches on a technique called “name-dropping.” This strategy involves tagging relevant individuals and companies in your posts or in your LinkedIn request notes. Don’t overdo it with random tagging for the sake of engagement, as it could backfire. Instead, ensure that tags add value to the conversation. Similarly, in LinkedIn connection requests, name-dropping can be a compelling way to initiate connections. For instance, mentioning a recent conversation you had (with permission) with a mutual connection can pique curiosity and facilitate meaningful interactions.

Step 4: Repeating the Process with Time Blocking

The most successful LinkedIn social sellers have prioritized and worked LinkedIn engagement in their everyday routine. How? By time blocking – dedicating a specific time slot on your calendar for LinkedIn engagement. Aim for at least one hour a day of LinkedIn activity. Mandy suggests going one step further and creating a checklist of how you plan to fill that hour. For instance, spend the first 15 minutes actively engaging with your LinkedIn feed, and another 15 interacting with your ICP, then you can allocate time for sending connection requests, etc.

Consider dedicating time, perhaps during weekends, to create and plan content for the upcoming week. This batching approach not only saves time but also ensures a consistent flow of valuable content. Make use of LinkedIn’s scheduling feature to automate posting throughout the week, giving you a steady presence without the need for real-time posting. Tailor this strategy to your personal style and goals. Find the right time of day that aligns with your energy and workflow, and adjust specific tasks as needed. 


You hear about salespeople killing it on LinkedIn all the time,
but you’re wondering exactly how to do it.
Let’s explore social selling tactics on this episode
of Closing Time.
Thanks for tuning in to Closing Time the show for Go to Market Leaders.
I’m Val Riley, head of Content and Digital marketing at Insightly CRM.
Today I’m joined by Mandy McEwen.
She was named by LinkedIn as a top 24 B2B marketer
and she is the CEO and founder of Mod Girl. Marketing.
Welcome to the show, Mandy.. Thanks for having me.
Well, Mandy,
you have this mantra that I love and it goes Engage, connect, post, repeat.
And I’d like to just go through that
because I think it’s a really good way for people to remember
what they’re supposed to be doing on LinkedIn.
So let’s break it down in practical terms.
Let’s start with Engage.
So the LinkedIn platform is all about networking, right?
That’s why it was created in
the first place was obviously a place to meet professionals and network.
So the very first thing you’re going to want to do
when you have your profile optimized is start engaging with people.
So make sure that you have a list of people that you want to get in front of.
Make sure you are following the thought leaders and influencers in your industry
and of course your prospects.
And then you want to start engaging with them consistently, liking their post,
leaving comments and really being part of the community
because that is how you succeed on LinkedIn.
It’s definitely not a look at me, look how great I am,
look at my posts, believe everything I say and that’s it, right?
It really is about building
community, building friends and building those quality relationships.
How do you select posts to comment on
and is it more about like the person, they’re in your ICP?
Or maybe you have a unique point of view to offer on what that post is about?
It really is a variety of different posts that you’re going to want to be
commenting on.
So we have certain buckets, right?
You have your ICP over here and obviously you’re going
to be engaging with them before you reach out.
Then you have kind of your friends, right?
Like the people that reciprocate the engagement
and then you have the thought leaders
and then you have another bucket of just as you’re perusing LinkedIn in your feed
and you see anything that strikes your attention, maybe it motivates
you, maybe you learn something new, then you can leave a comment on that as well.
So you always want to come from a different place,
not necessarily like, great post Val, like keep it up, right?
That’s fine.. If you have 2 seconds, leave a comment.
But if you can leave a little bit more, you know, put some effort into it,
and leave maybe an insightful comment, maybe ask a question,
maybe put your two cents about what you found and your experiences.
Anything to keep the dialog going and make it seem like
you’re genuinely taking time to leave a comment
and you’re not just doing it for the sake of doing it.
So there’s a variety of different ways, but you want to try to stay somewhat
focused, right?
So if you’re following massive influencers with millions of followers
like Gary Vee, for example,. I mean, that’s fine.
If you want to comment on his stuff, but it’s probably not going to help you a ton.
So I’m all about intention and doing everything with intention.
And so we all have a limited time in our day.
Time is not unlimited, unfortunately.
So we have to be really strategic with how we spend that time.
And you need to be smart about the types of posts you’re leaving comments on.
So it’s actually going to do something right and be strategic about that.
All right.
Let’s shift to the next one.
So it goes from Engage to connect.
So the reason we want to engage before we connect is
we want to let them know that we did our homework
and we aren’t just some random spammer or bot.
And so when people see that you engage with their content ahead of time,
they are way more likely to accept your connection request.
So I like sending a note
that says something like, Hey Val,. I saw your post yesterday on x, y, z.
Really enjoy your point about ABC.
I would love to connect here and that’s showing that, you know,
obviously you saw the post and engaged with it,
but the key is to wait until,
if you can, to wait until they actually see your comment
and how we know that is if they react to the comment, obviously they like it.
They might respond or maybe wait two days
and then you send that connection request mentioning that content.
Now I know not everyone is posting content on LinkedIn,
so if they’re not posting content,
look to see if they’re engaging with other people’s content.
So you can look at everyone’s activity section.
So when you go to the activity section, you can look to see
if those individuals are leaving comments on other people’s posts.
And then from those comments you can actually engage.
So you can like someone’s comment, you can respond to the comment
or you can reach out and say, Hey, Val,. I saw your comment yesterday on Courtney’s
post, enjoyed your point about x, y, Z would be happy to connect.
So you’re using that content piece to then send a connection request.
And of course,
if you can’t do the first engage, the first step of this,
then you’re going to have to get creative
and look at something else on their profile,
anything that stands out, anything personal,
maybe something’s going on in their company.
You can mention that, company in the news.
So we always want to start with what are they doing on LinkedIn?
How can we engage with that and how can we mention that in the connection request?
And then if that is not a possibility, you need to think outside the box
and try to find something else on their profile.
The whole goal is to make sure that they realize that you did your homework.
And again,
you’re not just some slimy salesperson trying to pitch slap them immediately.
Well, let’s explore that, too, because if you’re guiding somebody,
is there like an optimum number of connections you want them to try
to make each week or reach out to without like being too salesy?
Is there a specific metric?
Yeah, good question.
So LinkedIn allows 100 connection requests per week,
so that’s the limit that they put.
So I like to recommend
like if you could do, you know, 20 a day, that is amazing, right to start.
And it really does it.
It’s just a matter of don’t be salesy and annoying in the connection
request, right?
So you can send as many as LinkedIn will let you and you can be strategic about it
as long as you’re not coming across annoying.
Gotcha. Your next,
in the list, is Post.
So let’s talk about I mean,. I think this is where people get stuck.
How do you generate ideas for content?
So for those that aren’t super comfortable
with posting content, maybe they haven’t been posting content consistently.
I like to recommend that they curate content.
So the art of content curation and essentially what
that means, that you know, Val, you’re the content marketing expert,
is taking other people’s content and posting them on your LinkedIn feed.
And you can start with your company.
So if you’re an employee,
the company LinkedIn page is a great way to start sharing that content.
Obviously ones that you resonate with and posts
that you actually enjoy and you think your audience would enjoy.
So instead of just clicking the repost button, you want to click
repost with your thoughts and then add your own two cents.
So add at least a few sentences, tag the company page.
Tag anyone else that would be relevant.
Add some hashtags
so it’s almost like a mini post, but you’re sharing the company content.
Something else that I recommend when I train sales teams
is you all have tons of amazing content and use cases and videos, testimonials
and blog posts like every company has all these amazing assets
from their content marketing team, like you Val, and sales people can easily
go and take all of that content and make their own posts from that.
So you can easily go to a case study page on the company website,
take a little blurb.
You don’t even have to really write it yourself.
Like this literally could take you 5 minutes, take a little blurb, maybe
take a screenshot, maybe some data points and then bam, you have your own post.
So I’m a huge fan of content curation, especially for those people
who really need to get their feet wet before they start posting unique content.
And you can also do this not just with your own company
but other individuals that you trust and like and have great content.
Obviously not competitors, but people in the space, other company
pages, maybe even an article you found, maybe even a tweet.
You can you can screenshot and post of someone else’s.
Maybe it’s a quote, right?
Like there’s endless ways that you can curate content to boost
your own thought leadership before you start posting your own unique content.
I actually have a sales team member reach out to me and say,
Hey, is it okay if I post about that webinar we’re having next week?
And I was like, Of course, it is.
Right. Yeah.
So I mean, what you’re saying is, I mean, it’s not rocket science,
but I think everybody needs a bit of a reminder that your content
marketing team has a plethora of stuff for you to use to get that ball rolling
with your content development.
And if you’re wondering what would be best like ask
your content marketing team, ask your marketing team, like, Hey,
do you have any ideas of what we could be posting?
Like this is where the marketing and sales teams
really need to come together in harmony to make this work really well
when it comes to content, because sales people, they’re just
they’re not meant to be posting amazing, unique thought
leadership content all the time, right?
Like that’s not their job.
But a lot of them don’t have time for that.
Like, there’s a very small percentage of them
that are going to post unique content and we can talk about that now.
And there’s lots of, you know, I highly encourage everyone to
post their own unique content, of course, but I understand that time is limited.
We have a quota we have to meet, we have cold
calls and emails and LinkedIn messages and everything we have to take care of it.
A lot of these people are not going to spend hours per day
coming up with content.
And so content curation is by far the easiest way
to start posting content consistently on the platform.
That’s a great way to get started.
So something I saw you mentioned was about name dropping.
Can you talk me through that? Yes.
So name dropping.
I love doing this in LinkedIn messages,
of course, if I have permission and then on post as well.
So when it comes to posting content, any time that you can tag people,
that is relevant, right?
Like don’t tag a bunch of randos just to get engagement.
Don’t do that because it could actually hurt you more than it could help you.
But any time that you can engage with people
and include them in on your posts, you’re going to get more engagement
and not just individuals, but companies as well.
And then on the flip side, with the messages.
So one of the best ways to get people to actually accept your connection request
is if you’re saying, you know,. Hey, Courtney,
Val and I were just talking yesterday, your name came up, would love to connect
with you and fill you in on what we were talking about regarding ABC.
But I have already got permission from Val username.
And so anytime you can include people in again,
it is going to be a way that you’re building faster trust
and you’re going to boost engagement on the content side
and there’s a 99% chance on the messaging side
that people are going to accept your connection request
because they’re like,. Oh yeah, I know that person,
and I wonder what they were talking about, right?
It like piques their curiosity.
Yeah, I would certainly feel compelled to engage with that.
So I think that makes good sense.
Again, if it comes from a place that doesn’t seem salesy but seems like
a useful use of the platform where we’re trying to proliferate a message.
And it really is all about value, you know?
So it’s not like,. Hey, Courtney and I were just talking
and she said, it’s okay for me to pitch you.
You know, it’s more of like, you want to come from a place of value.
We were talking about this and, you know,
you can help provide value before you even pitch anything.
And that’s the whole basis of what
we’re trying to do on. LinkedIn is prove that we are credible
leaders in the space that genuinely care about people and helping people.
And that’s what we’re here for.
And if we’re not the right solution,
that’s fine if we can point you in the right direction.
But regardless, we’re going to try to help you.
And that’s the whole premise of what we’re trying to accomplish.
Okay, So we covered Engage, we covered Connect, we covered Post.
And now, should be the easiest one is Repeat.
So what is a good strategy for making
engaging on LinkedIn part of your everyday routine?
Time blocking,
tip number one, block it on your calendar or it will probably never happen.
Or if it happens, it’s just going to be random and sporadic.
So I’m a huge fan of time blocking and I tell all the sales teams
that I train to put it on your calendar every single day
and you should be spending at least one hour a day on LinkedIn
and we have a one hour a day checklist that we give clients.
And essentially you just walk through everything you need to do.
But the moment you log in,
you need to be looking for, so not only time block like an hour a day,
but then have a sheet or whatever you use to keep organized and say, okay,
for 15 minutes I’m going to spend on my LinkedIn feed just perusing and leaving
comments for another 15 minutes. I have this list of ICPs I’m going after.
I’m going to comment on their post.
For another 15 minutes, I’m going to look at all the connection requests.
Another I’m going to send out connection requests.
I’m going to look at comments, right?
So if you have what you’re going to do every single day, then you’re way
more efficient with your time and it actually gets you somewhere.
And when it comes to content, I’m a huge fan of doing this ahead of time, right?
So batching content.
So for me, I write all my content, my team
and I, on Sundays over the weekend.
And then we have our whole content plan for the week.
And if stuff comes up, that’s cool.. We can throw it in.
If someone shares something of me
and I want to post it like we can arrange, we can iterate, but at least like
the main strategy of the content for the week is planned.
And so the cool thing with LinkedIn now is you can schedule content.
So again, I’m a huge fan of taking advantage of these scheduling mechanisms
and also planning content ahead of time because everyone is busy,
professionals are busy, sales people are busy.
So if you have an idea of what you want to share ahead of time,
you can go ahead and obviously post that and schedule that in.
And then as things come up, you can obviously iterate.
So that’s kind of the process. I like to use.
But it really it’s going to depend on the person
and what works best for them in terms of, you know, what time of day to time block
and what exactly they’re trying to accomplish.
But you really need a plan of action.
And it would be beneficial to write all this down
that I’m saying right now and just a little checklist for yourself
and then just go through that every single day.
I love the tip of breaking that hour into 15 minute increments
because I think sometimes people see a whole hour
and they just can’t organize it in their heads.
But saying, okay, these 15 minutes, these 15 minutes, etc.,
I think that that really would help someone get through that hour, but
make sure it’s super productive. Exactly.
All right.
Well, that’s all the time we have, thanks for all those excellent
social selling tips.
I really appreciate you joining us.
Yeah, thanks for having me.
And thanks to all of you for tuning in.
Remember, you want to like this video, subscribe to the channel
and hit that bell for notifications so you don’t miss an episode.
And we will see you next week on Closing Time.

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