LinkedIn offers vast opportunities for business professionals to expand their networks. With a clear understanding of who you are trying to reach through LinkedIn and a system for building engagement with new contacts, you can use LinkedIn to reach your business goals.
Follow the steps of this LinkedIn Engagement Funnel to build your LinkedIn Sales Strategy.
Identify Ideal Prospects:
When we begin to work with new clients, the first thing we need to know is “who”, specifically, they want to meet. With a well-defined prospect we can then build a campaign to find them on LinkedIn and begin communicating with them. Download our Prospect Profile to begin this process for yourself.
Once you know “who” you want to meet, it’s time to begin searching for them in LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Advanced Search: Type in the keyword, title, location, company, etc that best matches the demographic information you wrote down in your prospect profile.
LinkedIn Groups: Search for group members that use some of the keywords you identified in your prospect profile.
People Who View Your Profile: Take a look at their profile. They just may be a great prospect.
Send a Connection Request:
Once you’ve identified someone that you’d like to connect with, it’s time to invite them to connect. Be sure to customize your invitation to let them know why you are seeking a connection. Be sincere and authentic about wanting to engage with them. This is not the time to “sell” to them.
Follow up with a Thank You message:
When someone accepts your invitation to connect, follow up with a Thank You message. This is no time to leave the conversation. Read more in our post, You Had Me at “Hello”.
Engage with them on LinkedIn:
As with any true relationship, you need to take interest in what the other person is interested in. Linked engagement includes looking at what group discussions they are part of, status updates they’ve made and posts they’ve written. Leave a comment or share the content to show that you are interested.
Send a message with a link to a beneficial resource:
After a week or two of engaging with them throughout LinkedIn, craft another message to them that includes a link to a beneficial resource. This is your opportunity to move the relationship from LinkedIn to your website. Offer something of value and keep the message and relationship authentic. Sales should be kept to a minimum here as well. You can test the results between offering an opt-it resource that allows you to capture their email address or simply directing them to helpful, non-gated content. You may also need to test different types of content to see which one elicits a better response.
Move the relationship offline:
LinkedIn is terrific for meeting new people and beginning the “know, like and trust” phase of a relationship. But, to really build a relationship, you need to move things offline. This could mean asking for a phone call appointment or inviting the person to meet for coffee. Find something that fits into your normal sales cycle that you are comfortable with.
Once you work through this process a few times, patterns will begin to emerge and you can turn LinkedIn prospecting into a system for your business. Create message templates, save specific searches that produce the results you want, block out time on your calendar to go through these steps – all in an effort to make using LinkedIn for your business efficient and effective.