Using LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting
If you view your LinkedIn account as just a networking Database, then you’re not using LinkedIn properly.
The best performing sales professionals use LinkedIn to find potential client leads and connect with them in a way that benefits them hugely.
As there are now 75% of B2B buyers using social media to help them make purchasing decisions, it’s one of the best sales prospecting tools available.
Listed below are 7 ways to use LinkedIn and develop your networking for better prospecting.
- Search for Targeted Prospects
One of your first steps in looking for new prospects is simply by searching your own network. Filter down by job title, location and even level of connection. Find your top prospects quickly with LinkedIn’s advanced search options. Reconnecting with old colleagues might even earn you referrals, which can be the most effective prospects in sales.
- Endorse your Connections
LinkedIn has a system that uses Endorsements for your connections and are great way to keep in touch with your connections and let others know you think highly of their work. Once you start it, it then builds up and you will find you also get endorsements.
- Join and Participate in Groups
Be sensible about which groups to join. Joining groups in the same industry is a great way to network with colleagues, but you won’t find your future prospects there.
The better way is to look for groups filled with people with your ideal target customer’s job titles.
You can search for groups based on region (if you’re business operates locally), and title of users to find your target customers.
So if you are say a Fire Alarm Contractor, you could search for “Contract Manager” as the job title, and the Company can be one of the Facilities Contractors, and the region could be Leicester.
It’s also worth looking at the stats of those groups as well. If you scroll to the bottom of any group page you can click over to ‘Group Statistics’ to see how many members are in the group, their location, breakdown of titles, and overall topic.
Once you’ve joined the relevant group, answer questions and comment on interesting posts to build your opinion and reputation among relevant, potential contacts. (Just don’t be too critical against other users, as you will P..s people off!)
You’ll start to see who regularly posts comments and likely develop opportunities to connect. Remember to provide value and share what you know with users.
- Publishing and Sharing Your Own Posts
Make sure to submit your posts at the right times. The Houston Chronicle noted on their feed that the best times to post on LinkedIn are Tuesdays to Thursdays at noon or between 5 and 6pm.
Write your own posts or share those published by others as well as your Companies LinkedIn account. That lets your network see what you like and comment on. When the time is right (see above), share those posts with the groups you have joined to extend your awareness and gain interest from group members.
Want to automate when the posts get sent out? Why not try Hootsuite to auto share your company’s blog or other news sources relevant to your prospects.
- Send a Compelling Intro Message
Connect with people directly through their profile page, and definitely not via the suggested users in the sidebar. Then you should write a short message about how you know them, which can substantially warm up the initial contact.
You should also use that form to explain to people why you want to connect with them. Compliment them, explain how you know them, or identify a common interest – even if you support the same Football team! You will have to keep your message short. You have to persuade them to want to connect with you.
- The Salesforce ‘Look and Look Back’ Trick
Salesforce have a brilliant tip on how to increase your LinkedIn connections: Look up Tip No 9. Let people know that you’re looking at them.
The “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section can give you a great start at getting your “foot in the door” in two ways:
- If you look up someone’s profile, there’s a good chance many of those users will look you up too.
- Once they then look back at you, you have an excuse to reach out with an invite to connect.
- Use the InMail feature to get to Key Decision Makers
InMail is LinkedIn’s email system – when used properly can help you get through to your prospects especially when other routes fail to get their attention. InMail gets straight through to your connection’s Linkedin inbox, and according to Linkedin is 30 times more likely to get a response than a cold call.
Finally – You must implement…
Your LinkedIn success will depend upon when and how you implement these tips.
Good Luck and enjoy.