LinkedIn is way more than a social network. According to BusinessofApps, it has nearly 900 million members, and users send over 100 million job applications on the site every month. No matter what your industry or role, LinkedIn is where meaningful and profitable connections are made.
As a salesperson, you can use this network as a massive opportunity. With a large pool of users, your target audience is guaranteed to hang out on the platform. But it can be intimidating to perform cold outreach in any context, especially one in which you want to maintain a professional presence long-term.
Read on for five ideas to improve your Linkedin prospecting and get attention from the people who could benefit most from your services.
Before you dive into prospecting, you’ll want to make sure your LinkedIn profile is an accurate and enticing representation of yourself and your brand. An optimized profile leaves a positive impression on those who visit your page.
Use this checklist to update the key elements:
✓ Professional headshot: Use a high-quality, professional headshot that shows your face clearly and conveys a friendly demeanor. Avoid group photos or casual selfies.
✓ Intentional cover photo: Let your cover image work for you. It should be well-designed, branded and purposeful. Some people include a tagline or a call to action on the image.
✓ Compelling headline: Craft a clear, attention-grabbing headline that highlights your expertise and the value you bring. Make it specific to your industry or niche.
✓ Summary and experience: Write a concise summary that showcases your unique skills and key achievements. The experience section is where you’ll detail your work history and accomplishments, sticking to just what’s relevant. (You can leave off that summer job you had at the ice cream shop in high school.)
✓ Keywords: LinkedIn follows the same SEO principles as search engines and other social networks for indexing pages. Placing keywords throughout your profile can improve its visibility.
Successful LinkedIn prospecting begins with a clear understanding of the people you want to reach. Begin your prospecting journey with a defined ideal customer profile (ICP) that includes demographics, job titles, industries and pain points.
Once you know who you’re looking to connect with in detail, you can use LinkedIn’s advanced search filters to narrow down the individuals who match that criteria. Filter by location, current company, past company, industry and more to get as specific as you need.
When you’re ready to reach out, it’s critical to avoid using generic, spammy templates. Personalization is everything. Here are a few tips for crafting a message that lands.
Note: Some people prefer email over InMail messages. You can try to find emails from LinkedIn to increase your chances of getting a response.
Engagement is essential to establish a history and demonstrate your value on LinkedIn. When you regularly interact with prospects by liking, commenting on and sharing their posts, they’ll see that you’re genuinely interested in their work and opinions. However, be careful not to leave the same comments on many posts — take the time to read and react with care and contemplation.
By the same token, sharing your own content that aligns with your audience’s needs and curiosities can expand your reach. You might write helpful tips, success stories or informative articles. Consistent content sharing can position you as a thought leader and attract more visitors to your profile.
TIP: Consider starting a LinkedIn newsletter if you have lots of past content to compile and distribute. Subscribe to Accelo’s Client Work Matters for ideas.
LinkedIn groups are a gold mine for prospecting because they offer the opportunity to participate in discussions and share your expertise without being overly promotional.
Organic connections will naturally develop if you’re a valuable member who contributes to the group. And you’ll have a shared interest to fall back on when you send out personalized connection requests to the group members who meet the criteria of your ICP.
Post-connection, it’s discovery time! Make that first call count with these guidelines for what to enter in a CRM.