Bob Woods, How to Convert Connections to Conversations with LinkedIn – InnovaBuzz 476

Bob Woods

Bob Woods, Social Sales Link

In this episode, I’m really excited to have as my guest, Bob Woods, who was one of the first people on LinkedIn… literally. He joined in December 2002 when LinkedIn was just a few months old, and he’s never looked back. An award-winning salesperson, Bob has utilized LinkedIn and social selling even before social selling was a “thing.”

Bob has trained and coached sales professionals around the world at companies big and small to effectively use LinkedIn and other tools to start sales conversations with qualified buyers. Specific companies where he has trained salespeople and teams include Experian, Penn Mutual, State Street, Fiserv, Triose, and UPS.

In our discussion, Bob talked to me about:

  • Converting LinkedIn connections to conversations and building relationships
  • How to authentically make an offer on LinkedIn
  • Instead of talking about helping, just help

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Listen to the Podcast

Stop talking about helping people, just help them. @BobWoods on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

Show Notes from this episode with Bob Woods of Social Sales Link

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • Always be authentic and genuine when doing sales.
  • Stop talking about helping people, just help them. 
  • When you take the time to actually help people and provide value, you are building yourself as an expert to them and you’ll be top of mind as they discover that they may need your product or service. 
  • Never assume that everybody wants your stuff. The best way to start a conversation is not to pitch your product or service right away.
  • When someone accepts your connection request, send them a quick video of yourself thanking them for connecting with you. Tell them that you have a piece of content that they might be interested in. Ask permission first before sending any links to them as a way of warming up the connection before proposing a phone call or meeting.
  • The yearning for knowledge, being authentic, and really trying to get to know someone should start in the actual connection request.
  • Selling becomes pretty natural when you’ve authentically built yourself and have proven yourself to be a thought leader in your industry by building the relationship.
  • It is not necessarily a NO, but just not yet. It is not that people don’t want to buy from you. They may not be ready for it just yet.
  • It’s all about being of value, and being of value in an authentic way.
  • Follow Richard van der Blom on LinkedIn. He has loads terrific stuff when it comes to what’s working and what’s not working with LinkedIn’s algorithm. 
  • Your content has a better chance of being seen in other people’s news feed when you send or post it in a way that favours the algorithm. 
  • Make sure that your poll adds value. Make sure that its topic is one that people really care about and that you would provide the results in a separate posts. 
  • Create your poll with three real answers and fourth one being “other” to encourage people to comment on your poll.
  • Make sure that your poll is engaging and that it brings value. Be clear about what you want to do.
  • The texts that you put in the post itself is just as important as the poll questions. Create a strong first paragraph about what it is that you are looking for and explain it with at least 150 words because that is what the algorithm likes. Don’t ramble on and on but don’t make it too short. Make it interesting in a way that people will see value by answering it.
  • Reply to every single comment on your posts. It’s rude not comment when people are taking the time to comment on your post, and it hurts you too because you are missing out on a very valuable conversation.
  • Polls are a great social listening tool. It helps you get feedback on things that you are thinking about.
  • One of the great ways to socially listen to what your audience wants is to ask them questions. The best way to do that is via polls. 
  • Frame your poll questions in a way that people who are answering it do get a benefit from it. Do it in a way that piques their interest and lets them know that they will get something out of it.
Selling becomes pretty natural when you've authentically built yourself and have proven yourself to be a thought leader in your industry by building the relationship. @BobWoods on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Bob’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – Have an open mind about everything.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Ask your clients for feedback.
  3. Favourite tool for innovation – LinkedIn
  4. Keep project/client on track –  Teamwork (Project Management Platform). Work extensively with the client before the engagement even starts so that the expectations are set on both sides. Make sure that you are specifically and exactly tailoring what you are doing before you get started, and get total agreement on everything.
  5. Differentiate – Put yourself out there. You cannot differentiate yourself if you are amongst the crowd.

To Be a Leader

Embrace change and figure out how to deal with it. No matter what challenges you have, there are always resources to help you figure things out. Accept that change is not only inevitable, but nowadays, it happens very fast.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Bob through their website and on LinkedIn.

Suggested Guest

Bob suggested we have a conversation with Larry Levine and Darrell Amy from Selling from the Heart. So Larry and Darrell, keep an eye on your inboxes for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz Podcast, courtesy of Bob Woods.


Cool Things About Bob

  • He was the 74,899th person to join the LinkedIn platform.
  • He was awarded the Premium Pacesetters – Silver Award by Colonial Life in 2020, for his sales performance in year 2019, even though he was only with Colonial Life for half of the year. 
  • He was a business journalist prior to starting his own business. 
Put yourself out there. You cannot differentiate yourself if you are amongst the crowd. @BobWoods on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

Listen to the Podcast

Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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