When LinkedIn first hit the scene, it was almost a static catalog of very boring resumes. Then, for misguided salespeople, it became a place for Spammy-Mc-Spamerson sales messages that are readily ignored.
However, if you are dismissing LinkedIn as a waste of time, you are making a big mistake. Used effectively, the tool can be a powerhouse for lead generation, sales and business building.
Just a few stats that are note-worthy:
- There are over 2 BILLION searches a day on LinkedIn.
- At least one member of every Fortune 500 C-Suite is on LinkedIn.
- There is no other free platform where you can uncover this much valuable data about individual prospects.
The following are Five Ways to Use LinkedIn to Score Your Next Client:
- Offline Referrals: LinkedIn can be great for researching potential referrals of your best clients. The problem is, many people are connected to individuals on LinkedIn who they don’t really know well. To combat this, comb the profiles of your best accounts to see if they have been given recommendations or if they have recommended anyone. This will signify a real relationship.
Then, reach out and ask for an intro.
Here’s a sample:
I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to say thanks again for being such a great client. We enjoyed working with you on ______________ (project) and were glad to see (successful outcome).
I was hoping you might be able to help me. I know how busy you are, so if you are too busy I certainly understand.
But I was wondering if you knew NAME OF PERSON YOU SAW THE RECOMMENDATION FOR. I am looking to increase my knowledge of this industry’s needs and contacts and am just looking for a quick intro so I can connect.
Is this something you would be open to?
If so, here’s email copy you can cut and paste for the email intro:
I wanted to offer a quick intro to our marketing firm’s CEO, Kim Walsh-Phillips. Kim and her team have worked with us to (write what you have done for the client). Kim asked me for an introduction to someone in the (x industry) so I am connecting the two of you. She is researching our industry’s needs and building out her network of contacts.
I encourage the two of you to set up a time to talk.
If not, no problem. Thank you again for your business and I look forward to working with you on (future project).
- Prospect Development: LinkedIn offers an opportunity to develop quality lead relationships, starting with the “People You May Know.”
(1) Scroll through the list of “People You May Know” suggested connections and click “connect.” These individuals are generally recommended to you because you share one or more connections. You won’t need to add their email address or how you know each other, so the connection process doesn’t require much time.
(2) As you are adding to your network, jot down those who you’d like to have in your sales pipeline. You can use LinkedIn’s notes feature or an outside CRM like PipeDrive.
(3) Each day, Message 5 of these new contacts to thank them for their connection and ask them about their position and role at their firm.
(4) Make sure your email is them-focused and not you-focused. Think of your conversation the same way you would about being a great guest at a networking event.
“Thanks for connecting with me on LinkedIn. I saw that we are both linked to (name of person). What is your role at XYZ company?”
With each conversation, you are pushing the discussion further along in the conversion from prospect to sales appointment. It is not rocket science but it does take persistence and a system.
- Start a Conversation
Scroll through your newsfeed for postings about job title changes, career moves and work anniversaries. Post a positive comment publicly and then dive into a private conversation using LinkedIn messaging. Ask additional questions about the change, what the person’s role is and what the plans are for the future. Start this first email just talking about them. As the person responds, work to identify opportunities to fulfill needs. Do not sell inside LinkedIn though. Instead request to have a conversation offline and begin your sales dialogue there.
- Have a posting frenzy
Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Long Form Posts to promote your authority to your entire network. To do this quickly, so you can focus on selling and not writing, simply breathe life into old content. Start by writing an introduction to a blog post or article and post the introduction as the Long Form Post.
- Add in Your Specialties
With over 2 billion searches a day on LinkedIn, attract every last qualified prospect you can. A little LinkedIn search hack is to add a final paragraph in your profile that lists all of your specialties. This way you come up in keyword searches by your prospects.
Example from my profile:
Utilize one or two strategies from this post this week to start driving clients into your business.
And then keep your eye out for a special email this weekend with an opportunity to score even more clients using the LinkedIn platform.