How to Use LinkedIn to Prospect
Last week we posted about using LinkedIn as a sales tool and in today’s post we’ll delve into just how exactly LinkedIn can help you find and manage prospects.
As simple as it sounds, one of the first and most powerful tools you should utilize to find your prospects is the advanced search function.
If you know your target market well, LinkedIn makes it easy for you to find who you’re looking for. You can filter your results through searching by name, keyword, job title, industry, current company, past company, location, school, and more.
Another way to seek out prospects through LinkedIn is by asking for an introduction through a current connection.
If you’re doing business with someone you know, like, and trust, why not ask them for an introduction to someone in their circle? This is dependent upon your relationship and the nature of the business, but LinkedIn is a great tool to help connect in this way.
Once you find your prospects, what should you do?
Due to LinkedIn’s limitations on who you can message, it’s necessary to do your research before anything else. Take a look at their profile and see which LinkedIn groups they belong to and participate in. In addition, conducting a Google search, reading up on their company website, and getting to know their business is simply best practice before initiating contact.
If your prospect’s active in any LinkedIn groups, are those particular groups relevant to you?
If they are, it’s a great idea to join them since LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. It provides an indispensable way to engage and interact with your prospect in a more social way. You can start a discussion and begin to get familiar with each other in a professional social environment, without the explicit expectations which would be the case during a sales call.
When you finally feel that you’re at a point where you could provide value to your potential client, it might be time to ask them to connect with you.
Don’t include a sales pitch in the attached message when connecting. Think of something you could write that would entice them to accept your request-an interesting article that they could relate to or even a comment of admiration on something they or their company has done and you find of interest. The request to connect starts your sales relationship with an easy “Yes”.
After they’ve accepted, it’s time to further cultivate your connection.
LinkedIn has now made it simple to keep track of your connections through LinkedIn Contacts. You can take notes, create private tags, keep track of how you met, and even set reminders for yourself about each of your contacts. The mobile app makes it easy to keep the information with you on the go, so you can have it on hand to review before your next sales meeting.
Like all methods of prospecting, LinkedIn requires time and effort, but it can be a tremendous tool in helping your selling process.
Do you use LinkedIn to prospect or only to maintain current connections with colleagues and clients?