Finding sales leads on LinkedIn
We’ve covered what to do before and after you find your prospects, but how exactly do you go about finding prospects on LinkedIn? There are numerous avenues you could go down, read on to find out what they are.
LinkedIn prospect research
One or a combination of the following is a great way to get started with finding leads on LinkedIn:
Boolean keyword search
Get more specific when using LinkedIn’s search function by using a Boolean search. Boolean search is when you combine keywords with what is known as operators or modifiers, such as AND, NOT, and OR. For example, if you looking for “content OR advertising” your search results would feature both content and advertising. If you searched “content NOT advertising” anything with advertising would be omitted.
You can also use parentheses and quotation marks to make your search more specific. With quotations, you can search for an exact phrase or job title, "social media manager," for example. LinkedIn only supports straight quotation marks in its search function. With parenthetical searches you can use multiple terms to refine search results, for example: “content AND advertising NOT (writer OR manager).”
Check out your connections’ connections and your competitors’ networks
Like we said earlier, adding people in your field is a surefire way to find other prospects in your field. Scope them out by perusing your connections’ connections. This research is also effective with your competitors’ networks.
Use the "People Also Viewed" sidebar
With this method, just one prospect can beget even more prospects! You may have noticed that whenever you view a LinkedIn profile, there is a People Also Viewed sidebar that features profiles that are similar or related to the one you’re currently on. If you’re viewing a prospect’s profile, this sidebar is your key to instantly gaining several more.
Use the skill endorsements section
Much like the previous point, your prospects endorsements section is probably filled with people who are similar to them. Check out who gave them endorsements and if they match the profile of your prospect persona.
Reach out to people who have commented on your prospects’ posts
Earlier, we discussed the importance of interacting with your prospects on their posts. You’re missing out with a potential wealth of potential prospects if you don’t interact with other commenters too. Like the previous two sections, your prospects make are likely to attract like-minded people in similar industries. Interacting with these commenters is a great way of building a rapport with prospects before you even send an InMail or invitation to connect.
Reach out to people who have commented on your posts
This engagement is the same principle of the last point, with arguably less effort on your part. Potential prospects have come to you. Don’t waste this opportunity; take the time to respond to people’s comments and interact with them. You never know where it might lead.
Sign up for LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator Tool
Created specifically to help you use LinkedIn for sales prospecting and gaining insights into potential leads, the LinkedIn Sales Navigator Tool does a lot of the groundwork for you. It comes with an advanced lead and company search function that will help you target the most relevant prospects. It also makes lead recommendations and keeps track of changes you should be aware of, from company changes to leads’ job updates.
If you have the budget to spare and plan on using LinkedIn for a great deal of prospecting, sales, investing in the platform is worth it. There are three packages: Professional, which is aimed at individual sales professionals; Team, which is geared toward sales teams; and Enterprise, which is aimed at organizations.
LinkedIn prospecting scripts
The key to sending prospects messages on LinkedIn is keeping it personal. This doesn’t mean getting creepy about it (mentioning you saw it was their kid’s birthday when you stalked their Facebook post is not recommended), it just means showing that you read their profile and have a general sense of who they are career-wise.
If your proposal or product is not relevant to their industry field, then you shouldn’t be messaging this person. We can’t stress this enough.
What we mean about getting personal is tailoring each message to reflect the information you’ve gleaned from your prospect’s profile, or including something you’ve learned if you previously interacted with them on posts or comments.
Be sure to use their name throughout and use “you” rather than “I” so that the focus is on what you or your product or service can do for them. Don’t jump in with what you’re offering straight away.
You don’t want to bombard your prospect. It should be a simple message that outlines who you are, what you can do for them, and request whether or not they would be interested. If the recipient replies affirmative, then you can go into more detail.
Here are three templates for professionals reaching out to potential clients, organizations reaching to potential job candidates, and professionals or organizations offering their product or service.
Remember, unless you have InMail activated, you need to have a first-degree connection to your prospect if you want to message them.