Social selling on LinkedIn has been a major focus for me and my team in recent months. We’ve been diving in deep and most recently hosted a webinar all about LinkedIn social selling, as well as LinkedIn prospecting.
LinkedIn is by far one of the most vast platforms in terms of information and communication. And this can make it difficult for marketing professionals and business owners to really dig their heels in. After all, it can come across as pretty overwhelming.
Whether you’re hoping to take a more subtle sales approach or are ready to take any and all opportunities available for business growth, we’re writing this guide to answer some of your biggest questions as well as present a few LinkedIn prospecting “best practices” to help you along the way.
Don’t Hesitate to Expand Your Reach With LinkedIn Prospecting
LinkedIn is an enormous platform built especially for social selling and networking between business professionals in every industry. This means that every individual who is presenting themselves on the site is there for one reason: finding opportunity.
Whether that opportunity exists in a new position or closing deals, the path to opportunity is very much the same in that your ultimate goal is to grow your network, make connections and create relationships within your circles and then find opportunity within them.
With over 50% of B2B buyers making decisions about purchases on LinkedIn, you have a unique opportunity to find your target audience and reach out to them in an environment made for marketing and sales interaction.
Hesitating about whether you should reach out on LinkedIn isn’t necessary. Your connections will expect it. The issue will be if you take your LinkedIn prospecting too far and don’t build a dam before you send a boat.
Too sales-y and your connections won’t want to connect any further, so don’t hesitate to utilize LinkedIn as a prospecting tool, but absolutely strive to be personal and engaging in your interaction, or your LinkedIn prospecting efforts will backfire.
LinkedIn Prospecting: It’s All in the Approach
Prospecting on LinkedIn comes in two flavors. One is known as “value bombing” and the other is the modern equivalent of cold calling for the internet age.
Value bombing is more of an inbound approach. In essence, it’s the process of finding your target customers and reaching out to them to share information or valuable tools without expecting anything in return.
This type of prospecting is best if your goal is not to make immediate sales. It will allow you to cultivate relationships and build trust and credibility in the eyes of your customers, which will make closing deals or up-selling much easier in the future.
The cold prospecting approach is great for the more sales-oriented campaigns, but if you’re looking to a future of more long-term success, the value bombing LinkedIn prospecting approach is by far a better option.
RELATED: LinkedIn Stories: The Ultimate Guide
Why Value Bombing is a Better Long-Term Approach to LinkedIn Prospecting
In a world where providing value is of crucial importance, it’s no wonder that individuals and businesses looking for potential services or products on LinkedIn opt for choosing providers that strive to offer their customers education about their products and services.
In our modern age, people are striving for valuable relationships. They want to build a community. LinkedIn offers business owners, executives, sales representatives and marketing professionals the perfect opportunity to do this online and without a significant amount of time and financial investment.
RELATED: LinkedIn Stories: The Ultimate Guide
Your Guide to LinkedIn Prospecting
When it comes to prospecting on LinkedIn, there’s isn’t a definitive list of things you can do to get perfect results. However, there are particular guidelines you can follow for best results.
- Clean Up Your Profile
- Utilizing LinkedIn Pulse for Prospecting
- There’s No Reason to Limit Yourself When it Comes to Outreach
- LinkedIn Premium: Worth the Investment?
- Utilize LinkedIn Search for LinkedIn Prospecting
- Browse the Users Interacting With Your Profile
- Utilizing “People Also Viewed”
- Utilize LinkedIn Groups
- Connect a CRM
- Utilize LinkedIn Endorsements for Prospecting
- LinkedIn Prospecting as an Art
Let's get started.
1) Clean Up Your Profile
Before you can begin your journey reaching out and making connections and sales, you need to make sure your LinkedIn profile is top-notch in order to get the best results.
Your profile picture, cover photo, headline and bio should be regularly updated, as well as any achievements, awards and certifications.
If you want to attract more sales and connections from your profile, you want to make sure you’re drawing parallels between the way your product or services can benefit your visitors and why they should consider utilizing them.
If there’s anything you will want to avoid, it’s sounding overly generic or too sales-y, so approach everything as organically as possible. I.e, instead of saying “Call me TODAY for a website tune-up!” you could say something like: “Using X I was able to get Y results from my website. Ask me for details!”
2) Utilizing LinkedIn Pulse for Prospecting
Whether you’re familiar with this in-network platform or completely oblivious of it’s portfolio-building opportunities, utilizing this blogging platform within LinkedIn can be key to your success.
This can add interest, depth and tangible experience to your profile; something that a lot of business professionals and specialists are looking for, no matter your target audience or industry.
As it will show up in your profile, it’s a fantastic way to showcase your professional reputation, experience and ability without “tooting your own horn”.
3) There’s No Reason to Limit Yourself When it Comes to Outreach
Nobody says you have to choose between cold outreach and value bombing. In fact, a good mix of both can be just what your business needs in terms of building a better, trusted network while also closing deals through traditional sales methods on the side.
However, you probably will want to create your own specific “style”. This can mean you reach out with a free tool or blog, or perhaps a free phone call; or perhaps reach out and first ask where your connections expertise exist.
It’s an excellent icebreaker, both because people love talking about themselves and what they’re passionate about, as well as gives you an opportunity to present something that could help them reach their goals better and faster.
4) LinkedIn Premium: Worth the Investment?
As a business owner, I can confirm that I use LinkedIn Premium on a daily basis to identify new and potential clients for our business, as well as valuable connections to further build my network.
There are four options when it comes to upgrading your LinkedIn. Career, Business, Sales, and Hiring. Depending on what your goal is, each one of these have different costs and benefits. I use the Sales Navigator.
5) Utilize LinkedIn Search for LinkedIn Prospecting
Don’t have a premium account? Not a problem! Even the traditional options for search on LinkedIn are detailed and work pretty well for prospecting. You’ll be able to make specific searches by industry and position, allowing you to better target for better results.
Just remember that using automated tools when it comes to LinkedIn search is not an option as it is against LinkedIn’s terms of service.
Instead, use SEARCH ALERTS, which is the practice of setting up a specific search that you run often for prospects, and then allowing LinkedIn’s algorithm to email you the best of the results every week.
Time can’t be replaced, so work smarter and not harder!
6) Browse the Users Interacting With Your Profile
Not only will this draw attention to you and in all likelihood bring them back to your profile, it also allows you to grow your network and possibly meet potential prospects.
Of course, not everyone viewing your profile is the perfect match. But they could be close. And remember, starting a conversation and gaining a connection is never a waste. Connections have connections, and it’s very possible that someone viewing your profile can put you in touch with someone in need of your services.
7) Utilizing “People Also Viewed”
It can be frustrating how underrated this trick is for business professionals. When it comes to prospecting, it’s important to utilize every opportunity you have to make new connections. A day shouldn’t pass when you’re not adding someone back or looking for opportunity on LinkedIn.
The “people also viewed” section on your prospects profiles are prospect GOLD MINES. These are people that have been identified as similar or close to similar with your target audience and are being viewed for similar reasons.
Take advantage of the free research and add away! Get the conversation going. It’s worth it, believe me.
8) Utilize LinkedIn Groups
What if you could be sure you were only putting your effort into potential prospects in a specific industry?
Well, you can. LinkedIn groups make interacting with your target audience easier than ever. Just make sure you’re keeping your interaction value-packed and personal. Nobody wants to feel like they’re getting auto-responses or the equivalent of cold glances and words on their posts and comment responses.
9) Connect a CRM
Tracking and analyzing your efforts are a great way to know whether you need to shift your efforts and focus or continue in the direction you’re currently headed in.
Connecting a CRM can do this for you. Pretty soon, following this guide will have you bringing in a steady stream of warm leads that you’ll be able to work accordingly. Take advantage of the opportunity and utilize the tools that can help you reach your prospecting goals.
10) Utilize LinkedIn Endorsements for Prospecting
This is a little trick that very few people actually know about or use. Next time you’re on a prospects profile, scroll down to their endorsements and study them.
You’ll come to notice that people in a similar industry will often be the ones giving praise. For instance: content writers will often endorse other content writers. Medical professionals will often endorse other medical professionals and so on and so forth.
This gives marketing and sales executives like us a door of opportunity to engage with similar prospects; without the work!
11) LinkedIn Prospecting as an Art
It’s all about the approach. If you’re starting the game swinging with no ball, you won’t get anywhere. LinkedIn prospecting is very much an art and a talent that must be exercised and improved on as time goes on.
Don’t worry. Even if you’re not an expert going in, it’ll get easier. Eventually, you’ll learn exactly how to start the conversation and keep it going while also working your prospects down each stage of the buying journey. And not long after that, you’ll be seeing significant business growth as well as a large network to show for it.
This isn’t a microwave and you’re done kind of LinkedIn strategy. It’ll always be a work in progress as you find out what works best for you and your brand and your team across LinkedIn.
Need More LinkedIn Prospecting Help?
When it comes to LinkedIn prospecting and social selling, we’re on top of our game and have made it our mission to help businesses like yours utilize their LinkedIn profiles to bring in more business, make more sales and make more money.
We’d love to help you elevate your LinkedIn experience for better results.. Give us a call or drop us a note and let’s talk TODAY!