Are you like many people who think that LinkedIn is just another boring job seeker site? Maybe you set up a profile years ago… check it periodically, but it’s stale and doesn’t get the attention it needs.
Or maybe you’ve got a business profile… posting regular content, getting minimal likes and engagement and it just doesn’t seem worth the time to maintain it…
You’re not alone!
But…if you’re a sales or business development executive, consultant, small business owner or anybody who is looking to generate sales or revenue from their professional product or services (who isn’t?)… you need to take note of the opportunity that LinkedIn provides in terms of lead generation!
There are a lot of misconceptions floating around that LinkedIn isn’t worth the same time and focus as other social platforms (Facebook!!).
But the reality is… this couldn’t be further from the truth!
LinkedIn will deliver the fastest and most effective outcome when trying to generate qualified sales leads online. In this article, I’m going to share with you the important reasons why you must make LinkedIn an essential part of your prospect finding toolbox and show you proven techniques that will help you achieve success and stay ahead of the game!
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. The platform has 600+ million members worldwide and is growing… fast!
Every second, LinkedIn acquires two new members! Yet, it’s one of the most overlooked and underrated social platforms for B2B marketing.
And do you know what the best part about that is….
Each of these users is in BUSINESS!
LinkedIn is like Facebook for professionals… far from a boring job seeker site! It’s a land of B2B opportunities!
Sure, you’ll find many of the classic ‘cut and paste’ resume profiles… those who only login when they’ve received a notification alerting them to the fact that someone has viewed their profile (eek… I’m popular!).
But, do you know who are also regular users of LinkedIn?
Senior level executives and decision makers!
And in most cases, they are the most regular and highly active users on the platform!
Where else are you going to find a GIANT pool of prospective leads… people who are actually in a position to make high level buying decisions and are browsing with their business hat on?
Unlike Facebook or Instagram, LinkedIn users are there in work mode! That means no holiday shots or kid pics (I know you’re sooo excited to see what Steve had for lunch today)! And that’s what makes LinkedIn SO powerful when it comes to generating new business opportunities.
BUT HOW DO I STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD (AND IT’S A BIG CROWD!)?
If you’re using your presence on LinkedIn to promote yourself or your business by posting or sharing relevant pieces of content and engaging with your followers, that’s great… and it’s important!
Did you know that there are over 100,000 articles published on LinkedIn every week? It’s a competitive space! What if your ideal prospect is not following your page?
They’re not going to see all of that fantastic and engaging content! Your main focus should be elsewhere…
The key is in 1-1 direct messaging!
And I don’t mean those spammy sponsored messages. I mean, personalised and targeted messages, specifically tailored to appeal to your prospect.
I’ll go into more detail on the best way to script your message to maximise effectiveness later… but let’s start by creating a profile that’s going hit the spot!
CREATE A SMASHING PROFILE
Too many people focus their profile around themselves (me!). Isn’t that what LinkedIn’s about…. a bit of self-promotion?
What’s the problem?
Well… the unfortunate reality about that approach is that NO ONE CARES! But what they do care about is THEMSELVES!
Don’t let your LinkedIn profile read like a resume (yawn)! Catch your prospect’s attention by turning the focus to them (your potential client) and how you’re going to solve their problem – create a client-focused profile.
Make sure you write in 1st person, it sounds much more natural and allows you to build rapport with the reader. It’s not about bragging about your amazing achievements; this has the potential to sound arrogant.
Your profile needs to demonstrate the problems you solve for the audiences you serve!
As author and business coach, John Lemo demonstrates in his latest book ‘LinkedIn Riches’, it’s important to use subheadings with titles clearly describing what you do and how you will meet the needs of your prospect… such as ‘What I Do?’, ‘How I Do It?’, Why It Works, ‘What Others Say’ and ‘What Makes Me Unique’.
This will hit the mark much better than simply listing your previous work experience and credentials because you’re telling the reader why they need you and how you’re going to help them achieve THEIR goals.
NARROW DOWN YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Don’t try to be too many things to too many people on LinkedIn.
This is important!
Increase your chances of success by creating 2-3 niche audiences and focusing your profile around appealing to players in those markets. Rather than casting a wide net, refer to your niche audiences in your headline and summary and own that space.
CHANGE THE FOCUS FROM COMPANY TO INDIVIDUAL
If you’re not a one-man band and are trying to generate leads as part of a sales department of a larger corporation, increase your open rate by using an executive’s profile to generate leads and feed them off to your sales team.
Who wants to hear from a spammy sales person?
Now imagine receiving a DM from the CEO of a business… now that’s intriguing!
Sales profiles are not as well received. Run content and messaging through the executive’s profile and watch your success rate sky rocket. Yes, it’s important to have a strong company page, but use it more as a brand awareness tool.
Remember the end game… connecting with highly qualified leads who are in the position to make decisions that will affect your bottom line. Stand out from the crowd by putting yourself in front them!
FIND YOUR PROSPECTS
So, how do you find your prospects?
LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest search engines. It’s basically Google Search for B2B!
Using the search tool, LinkedIn allows you to find potential prospects with accuracy. Search by location, employer, job title, industry, using filters to narrow down your search… be as specific as you want to be. Create a list and work on communicating with them via DM individually.
Sounds time consuming?
Imagine if you could save the time and money used to hit prospects with feet on the ground cold-calling and reallocate those resources by connecting with them online via LinkedIn?
Sounds much more resourceful!
Let’s talk about how we go about doing this in more detail…
FINE TUNE YOUR MESSAGE
So you’ve found your prospect… how do you get the breakthrough you need and catch their attention?
A personalised message creates opportunity for conversation! That’s what makes direct messaging so effective.
Cutting and pasting the same message to each prospect is not going to get results… think of direct messaging as a one-on-one virtual coffee meeting. If you saw a prospect at a networking event, would you approach them and cut straight to the chase with a sales pitch?
No! First you’d engage in small chat… it shouldn’t be different online.
The first and most important part of the strategy is to break the professional ice!
Check out their profile – look at their interests and hobbies, sporting teams they support, where they went to school or university, not-for-profit organisations that they’re involved with… find common interests and break the ice by using them as conversation starters!
The likelihood of your prospect engaging with you and your content depends on the amount of trust that you have earned.
I’m not proposing that you sound creepy (or stalkerish), but instead, use this personal information to lay the foundations for a relationship by making yourself more likeable and memorable (and personable).
Ok, so you’ve ‘broken the ice’… now what?
Ask your prospect a question (in a natural non-salesy way) about the specific product or service that you are trying to promote, tying it to the specific benefits they want or the problem that they need solved.
Then, offer something of value… ‘I have a free training video (or blog post, phone consultation etc.).’ Make sure it’s free and of VALUE to your target audience.
But never include the link to the content that you’re offering… ask them for permission! Don’t assume that your prospects want to engage with your content… be polite by asking them if they do!
This can make all the difference.
A positive response to this question immediately qualifies your lead!
Don’t pressure them, make it clear that it’s ok if they aren’t interested – ‘If you’re not interested, no worries at all!’ and give them an easy out. You never know, their situation may change later and they’ll come back to you!
Remember these key takeaway points when constructing your message –
- Break the ice by starting the conversation in a light hearted manner, just like you would in a face-to-face meeting
- Ask them a question around your product or service
- Don’t make it salesy, instead use a conversational and easy going tone
- Provide a simple call to action and ask permission before you send it to them
- Don’t pressure them
- Give them an easy out
- Offer value
If you’ve hit a home run and received a response from your prospect indicating that they’re interested, prove your integrity with a swift response! Send a follow up reply with the promised piece of content and then…
The rest is up to you!
Grabbing attention and provoking curiosity in your prospect is often the toughest part of securing a new client, whether it’s face to face or online. Treating your online interactions in the same way you would any face to face one is key!
It’s absolutely possible to achieve success by generating leads on LinkedIn! The opportunities are there and waiting for you… it will take hard work! But the good news is that the results are sure to surpass any other lead generation method.
If you’re struggling to get the most out of your current efforts and would like to stay one step ahead of your competition… there’s no better time to knuckle down and give LinkedIn the attention it deserves!
And while you’re at it… do yourself a favour and grab yourself a copy (or chill out and listen via audio) of John Lemo’s latest book, ‘LinkedIn Riches, How to use LinkedIn for Business, Sales and Marketing’. Available online now at https://linkedinriches.com/book/
Your business will thank you.