Connecting with people. It can be so much more gratifying if you are authentic, but it also is exactly what people want and need. The good news is that connecting on LinkedIn is the perfect place to both build relationships and promote your business. Using this platform (like most social media), however, takes time.
Once you’ve decided that LinkedIn is the place for you, use these tips to get you on the road to prospecting bliss!
Why use LinkedIn to Prospect?
As with any type of sales position, you need to prospect. One of the best ways – especially for B2B companies – is to use LinkedIn. It’s by far the #1 professional database; not to mention it’s kept up by the users themselves ensuring higher accuracy.
There are many ways to communicate with prospects, but if you (and your recipients) are getting cold emailing fatigue, you can use LinkedIn. People more often want to be social on a social network than they may want to feel ‘invaded’ in their email inbox.
Connecting on LinkedIn
The word ‘connecting’ itself now spans many different aspects of our lives. From connecting to the internet to emotional connection, this term is used a lot. Fortunately, we can all have our own definition of what it truly means, just like we do for authenticity.
LinkedIn, however, is designed to be more personal. While you don’t have to share what your child did that day, you still want to be yourself. You can discuss and post about what’s truly meaningful to you.
There are many LinkedIn tools you can use to help you curate a list and build relationships as well. No need to use them all, just use what works best for you and your target audience. Overwhelm works for no one.
Creating this connection takes time, though, so have patience with this medium (more than other, more immediate activities like cold calling).
Spruce up Your Own Backyard 🏡
Before you start messaging people, you want to be sure your own profile is up to par with the expectations of the platform. In other words, fill it out! Trying to message people who don’t know you (or even those you do) will not go well if you have this as your profile photo:
The good news is, once you’ve set up all of your information you can now put your best foot forward. Make sure to add everything from your photo, your header image, your work history, all the way through to building up your network.
Now you can connect with those already in your contacts, add the link to your email signatures, and begin your search. You’ll now be reaching out in a much more personal way than through your generic company email.
Be Active 🏃♂️ on the Platform (if you’re not already)
What’s the catch when connecting on LinkedIn with prospects? You must actually use the platform!
Just like any other social media or relationship-building technique, you need to remain in touch with people. Fortunately, there are many ways to do just that on LinkedIn like:
- Engage: Scroll through your feed. Look for interesting posts and interact with them. Comment with your perspective or experience, like the post, and read through others’ comments and reply to them as well if you’d like. There are many ways to engage.
- Share Posts: You can share a post directly from your company’s account onto your personal one. You can share someone else’s post that you’d like to comment on or share with others. Or you can post something interesting you found yourself.
- Use Polls: Is there something you’d like to learn the answer to? Is there a topic that many people are divided on within your industry? Post a poll! See what people really think and spark conversations with them. Just remember, you asked, so don’t get upset if their answers aren’t what you wanted.
- Write Articles: If you’re a fan of writing longer than a few lines of text there are posts you can create that are more blog-like within the platform. Use this medium for professional insights to explain or share what you’ve discovered and show your expertise.
- Join Groups: There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn – there is guaranteed to be one for your industry, join a few. Consider complementary groups as well as your own. You should only join if you’re going to be active, but sometimes it’s beneficial just to be in a similar one as your peers to get help. Just know that there is a limit of 50 on the number of groups you can join.
Cliche alert 🚨: Be Yourself
There is definitely a subtle difference between the authenticity of ‘being yourself’ and ‘being your online self’. You want to treat LinkedIn like the social network it is, but you still need to be professional. The balance is that you don’t want to be too formal (at least in the Western world) or too informal. People want to connect with people, not robots.
You’ll likely refine your style as you test your techniques, but generally, you’ll want to be honest and genuine. People can tell if you’re simply trying to sell to them – even over a computer. Everyone has their own methods, but discovering yourself and what works best for you will be different than everyone else. Go with it!
Target 🎯 Relevant Leads
Now that you’ve set up your complete profile and engaged with others on the platform, you’re ready to start looking for people you want to reach out to. Using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, you can search for your specific target audience to connect with.
There are different ways you can strategize to connect with your targeted leads, but the key is to have a strategy. Being disorganized will only hurt your chances with a prospect as they will immediately have little faith in working with you if you can’t remember their name.
In this sense, you’ll want to use caution when reaching out. Especially in the B2B space, building relationships (which we’ll speak more on below) is one of the most important aspects of prospecting. Start with people in your local area for a week then move to people in your target industry the next week, for example. It’s like finding your group of trees in a forest, only the right ones are the ones you want.
Another great option to help you search for and organize your leads is to use LinkedIn automation tools. There are many (including LaGrowthMachine) that can help you quickly and easily create a system for building your lead list and reaching out.
Having a plan will help you keep your sanity in the long run, too!
LinkedIn Connecting Message
When connecting on LinkedIn you’ll want to start with people you know if you haven’t done so already. These are the ones that you regularly keep in touch with – especially professionally. They might even be in your email contact list (which you can upload to LinkedIn so you can add them easily).
You may or may not have noticed that when you request to add someone you have the option of adding a note. There are two ways to go about this:
- Be transparent with why you’re connecting.
- Don’t include a note at all.
Whether you intentionally or accidentally don’t include a note, you’re relying fully on them and their feelings at that moment. This is a risky option, however, because it tends to reduce acceptance rates. If they’re not in a mood to accept strangers’ requests, you’ll lose a lot of opportunities to chance.
We highly recommend, then, adding something personal as to why you’d like to add them as a connection to your network. You can tell them you are interested in what they do, work in the same or similar industry, or be very direct. For example, telling them you’d like to discuss how you might work together.
We have found that when you include a note with a specific reason to connect, you’ll receive fewer people accepting your request, but more responses. What this means is that you’ll be connecting with people who genuinely want to speak with you instead of those who are not a fit for your goals.
Just remember: This is a professional network so be professional, use some LinkedIn connecting etiquette, and remember that anyone you add or who adds you is exposing their network to you. Ensure this trust isn’t taken lightly.
Connecting on LinkedIn and Other Channels
Now that you’ve set yourself up on LinkedIn, you should remember that not everyone has done so yet. Using additional methods to contact them is highly recommended, especially if your LinkedIn connection request is ignored. The good news is, many (and hopefully yourself included) have added ways to reach them on their profile.
LinkedIn has the option to share your email and Twitter handle and, if you’re using LaGrowthMachine, you can automatically include these in your outreach plan. Use the templates to develop your strategy and automation for contacting them.
Connecting and uploading your contacts’ information will allow you to include Twitter and email to get in touch with your target leads. Not to mention that we’ve found that multi-channel campaigns receive 3.5 times more replies than single-channel campaigns!
Using LinkedIn to develop your cold email strategy is an excellent option to consider to help you reach them in multiple ways.
Build Upon the Relationships
Remembering their name is, of course, not the only important thing in building a new (business) relationship. It’s just the beginning of how you can continue to stay relevant in the industry as well as visible and memorable to your prospects.
To do that, you must be constantly improving upon your outreach and remember these important things when you do it:
- Don’t try to hard sell (remember how we just mentioned it doesn’t work anymore?)
- Care about them and their problem(s) – especially those you can help with
- Be personable – tell them a bit about yourself; remind them you’re another human and not just a screen name
- Fair warning: This could also mean being vulnerable/personal sometimes
There are also many different ways you can show up. Personalized videos are one way to be different, for example. There are even tools like VideoAsk where they can respond with their own videos easily and it’s scalable.
The recent Clubhouse phenomenon has also encouraged people to use voice messages much more. Many apps allow you to do this natively, but most smartphones also have a built-in recording app where you can record a personalized message to send to prospects as well.
Don’t overdo it
Last but not least, be cool! 😎
Don’t be desperate, pushy, or messaging too much or you’ll immediately put them off of responding to you and may even remove you as a connection.
What’s too much you may ask?
It depends on the relationship of course, but typically, if you are new to their network you’ll want to keep it to a max of 2 messages before they send you a new message. If, however, it’s been a week, then you’re welcome to try one more.
Along with not selling too hard, you also don’t want to only sell. If they just feel like a number, they’re automatically going to write you off from any sort of business relationship. No one wants to feel like they’re being used, so “do unto others” as they say, and be a good listener.
Being “authentic” doesn’t have to be a cliché buzzword – especially when connecting on LinkedIn. It can also be a way for you to stay true to yourself without heavy sales techniques that aren’t as well-received today as they were just 10 years ago.
There are many ways to be yourself – even in a sales situation. You just need to discover the right way for you and your audience. Ensure you use the platforms accordingly and you’ll get out of it what you put in. Just remember to be patient as relationships take time.