With all of the changes in the world, many companies are beginning to question if they should be prospecting during these uncertain conditions.
Some argue that it’s “insincere” to be trying to do sales activity at this time, but we would stand to disagree.
With most people working from home, now is a great time to ramp up your remote prospecting efforts and LinkedIn is a great channel for this.
In fact, at my outbound agency Lead Cookie, we have actually seen a 20% increase in responses across all of our client accounts between January and March.
In this article, we will explore the key fundamentals of how to position yourself on LinkedIn, use Linkedin sales navigator and the proven strategies you can use to prospect effectively.
LinkedIn Prospecting Process:
1. Optimizing your Tagline
2. Optimizing your Profile Copy
3. Engage Prospects by Starting a Conversation
4. Finding the Right Prospects
5. Sending Connection Requests
6. Adding Value to the Conversation
7. Strategically Following Up
Positioning Sets the Foundation for Your Prospecting Efforts
Before you begin prospecting on LinkedIn, you need to be crystal clear on who you’re targeting. Define who truly benefits from your services and figure out who the decision makers are in those types of businesses. If you know who your target is, you can start to position yourself as an authority in those industries through strategic messaging.
Great positioning requires you to highlight your value proposition throughout your LInkedIn page. Optimizing your tagline and profile copy should be your main focus before doing any outbound marketing.
Optimizing Your Tagline
First impressions matter and the first thing prospects see is your tagline. This snapshot of your value is all over LinkedIn and it’s an opportunity to spark interest and drive people to your services.
Your tagline should demonstrate immediate value and have relevance to your target market.
It should not be focused on your position or even the company you work for because that’s not what sells. Saying you’re the CEO of X company tells your prospects nothing about how you are the right person to solve their problems – there’s other sections on LinkedIn to highlight these details.
One way to succinctly describe your value is to follow this format:
I help X (target customer) do Y (the benefit you bring them) through Z (how you accomplish it)
Here’s an example of a great tagline:
In one clean sentence, it’s clear who he helps, the value he brings, and the tangible way he does it.
Optimizing your Profile Copy
Just like with your tagline, your profile copy needs to communicate value clearly and succinctly. No one wants to read a novel about all of your accomplishments and accolades. You need to grab attention with messaging and language that resonates with your audience.
When it comes to messaging, it needs to be all about your prospects. After reading your profile, they should see you as the solution to their problems.
A framework we recommend goes as follows:
- What I do
- How I do it
- Who I work with
- What people are saying
- My Background
- Contact Me
Note on Profile Picture: It’s helpful to model the types of photos your target audience uses.
Engage Prospects by Starting a Conversation
LinkedIn is a place for starting someone along your sales process, not to close.
It’s not a place for describing every detail of your business or being a pushy salesperson.
You just want to spark enough interest so that it leads to more meaningful conversations in the future.
Have an idea of what that next step would look like and nurture that connection until it’s the right time for them to take action. Maybe you want to get them on a call or have them read a valuable resource of yours to build authority and trust.
Don’t ask for anything big. Focus on the small steps that increase your chances of moving further into the sales process.
Finding the Right People
With the help of LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can search out your target market based on criteria you set.
This will allow you to seek out individuals as well as companies that align with your criteria.
There won’t be filters for every detail of your audience which means you may have to manually verify certain accounts or people to see if they will actually be a good prospect.
This takes a little more work but it’s well worth your time.
Check out these resources for more information on using LinkedIn Sales Navigator:
- Using Booleans on LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- How to Use Sales Navigator Account Search to ID Ideal Companies and Leads
Sending Connection Requests
The first step after you have your message and target market down is to begin sending connection requests.
Your requests should feel natural, be very conversational, and have practical relevance to the prospect. There should also be no sales pitch within this first message. It needs to be short, effective, and focused on the prospect.
You are doing very interesting work in (X industry) and thought it would be great to connect. I’d love to learn more about what you’re working on.
This gives the prospect the option to engage or ignore. It’s important to keep the ball in their court at this stage.
Adding Value to the Conversation
If your prospect accepts the request, the second message should thank them for accepting and begin to highlight your value.
Once again be short and concise as possible while providing enough value.
Hook them with a pain point and then describe how you have helped similar companies tackle that problem. Finally, have another call to action that keeps the ball in their court and is only meant to continue the conversation.
Here’s an example of what this 2nd message could look like:
Hi (prospect) thanks for connecting. Many experts in our field seem to have trouble turning their great ideas into content which would really expand their reach and authority. I was curious if this has been a difficult process for you as well?
Many of our clients such as (name relevant and respected businesses) have worked with our creation team to produce thought leadership content on a consistent basis.
Would be interested to see how you go about creating content that engages.
There are many ways to approach this message but the key is to be casual, relevant, and keep the conversation going.
Strategically Following Up
If there’s been no response after a week from sending the 2nd message, you can bring more credibility to the conversation to re-engage them.
This could be in the form of a relevant testimonial or even sending a case study. The key here is to ask before sending anything. Engagement rates are much higher when you ask versus just sending over a link or resource.
These messages could look like:
We know working with a content vendor can sometimes be a hassle and that’s why we’ve made our process as smooth and efficient as possible. Here’s what one of our clients said…..
We recently helped (X client) increase their conversion rates by 30% through the use of content. We wrote up a case study and can send it your way if you would like to take a look?
You can also use personalisation your message with tools such as Hyperise by embedding personalized images
Once again, keep your messaging about your prospect.
Note: If you still don’t get a response after the third message, politely ask if there’s a better time to connect. Keep it short and to the point. Now just might not be the right time.
The Bottom Line for LinkedIn Prospecting
LinkedIn is a great channel to continue prospecting in a remote environment. It all starts with great positioning and knowing your target market.
With this information in hand, you can begin strategically reaching out by demonstrating your value and showing prospects that you’re equipped to solve their problems.
The key thing to keep in mind is that your efforts on LinkedIn are for the purpose of leading to meaningful conversations outside of the platform.
You’re not trying to close deals on LinkedIn, you’re trying to generate enough interest to set up a call or meeting that will lead a prospect further into your sales process.
There will be some trial and error in this process, but by refining your message and finding what works, you will build a repeatable system to generate leads and win more business.