6 Tips for Finding Prospects on LinkedIn

social media how toAre you using LinkedIn to connect with new leads and clients?

Do you want to learn about social selling tactics on LinkedIn?

Social selling is the use of social media to discover and connect with new leads and new clients.

In this article, you’ll discover a 6-step process to find new leads and attract new clients on LinkedIn.

no 6

Start social selling on LinkedIn with these 6 simple steps. Image source: iStockphoto

#1: Make Your Profile Easy to Find

Most of social selling requires an active outreach process. But you can draw prospective clients to you when you optimize your profile with keywords a potential new client might use when seeking out someone with the products or services that you provide. Add strong keywords to the Title and Summary sections of your profile to ensure you show up in search results.

Remember that you’ll only show up in search results for people in your network. This includes first-, second- and third-level connections, and people who are members of groups you belong to. For this reason it’s beneficial to have a larger LinkedIn network rather than keeping it limited to close personal connections.

The more connections you have, the more searches you will show up in. That said, try not to treat LinkedIn as a popularity contest, since you’re limited to 3000 connection invites.

#2: Create Strategic Alliances

Next you’ll want to remember to network and build business relationships with peers in your industry.

Find professionals who share a target market similar to yours, but don’t offer the service you provide. Once you connect with them, consider fostering a reciprocal relationship to generate referrals for each of you.

what do i have to offer

Before connecting with a prospect, ask yourself "What do I have to offer her?"

The third-party credibility you receive will dramatically shorten the sales cycle with prospective clients.

#3: ‘Search’ for Opportunities

Now you can focus on finding the prospects you want for your business.

First, join a few LinkedIn groups to network with a wider audience.

Second, use the excellent functionality of Advanced Search to find prospects. You can filter by relationship, groups, location and industry, and the Save Search function even allows you to store effective criteria.

people search

Search by relationship, groups, location and industry.

Use the Tags feature in LinkedIn Contacts to sort your results and save profiles of prospects to the Profile Organizer without being connected to them.

#4: Carefully Craft Your Message

After you identify someone you want to connect with, you’ll want to carefully tailor your communication.

A great first impression with your prospects on LinkedIn should leave them with an interest in your service and a willingness to continue communication.

Approach your prospects with a connection request naturally. Always start by greeting them by name. Be clear and concise in your body paragraph. Give them a reason to click “Accept“.

personalize your request

Personalize your connection request and tell them why you want to connect.

Personalize your connection request to avoid being flagged as spam. If you’re flagged too often, you’ll be required to add an email address to each connection request you send.

You can also contact your prospects through InMail, which can be purchased by unpaid members. These messages have a very high open and response rate and if the prospect doesn’t respond in seven days, the InMail will be credited back to your account.

#5: Build the Relationship

Once your connection request is accepted, develop the relationship through sustained communication.

Do you want to build buyer confidence and credibility? Offer your prospect something of value in the form of a helpful article, eBook or other free download. Whatever it is, ensure that it is of clear value so it isn’t dismissed as spam or self-serving.

offer value

Offer your prospects value with a free download.

Depending on your social selling strategy, you can send a follow-up message over the next several weeks. Set up reminders using the LinkedIn Contacts feature. Remember the content of these messages can vary, but you shouldn’t include sales materials.

offer something of value

Build your relationships with prospects by offering them something of value.

Do you need to organize this process? The Tags, Notes and Reminder features inside LinkedIn can help you.

Create a series of tags denoting stages (Lead-1, Lead-2 and Lead-3) to advance prospects as you continue through the process.

Store useful information about your contacts in the Notes feature and use the Reminder feature to let you know when your contact should be emailed next so they aren’t overlooked.

use features

Keep track of where you are in the social selling process using the Tags, Notes and Reminder features on the profile page.

You’ll also want to stay up to date on what your contacts are doing on LinkedIn. The Your Day feature highlights the birthdays, business anniversaries and job changes of all of your contacts.

acknowledge special occasions

Develop your new and existing relationships on LinkedIn by acknowledging special occasions for prospects using the Your Day feature.

Use this information to further your relationships with a comment directly from the Your Day feature or with a personal message.

#6: Move Online Connections to Offline Conversations

Eventually, you want to move the contacts you’ve identified as prospects further into a business relationship by moving off the LinkedIn platform into an offline conversation via phone or in person.

move relationship offline

Social selling starts online but moves offline to further the relationship.

Think about moving the relationship offline after a contact has responded to one of your relationship-building messages. If there’s no response after one or two attempts, consider sending one final message that briefly explains how you can solve their “problem.”

Everyone online has a problem that they are looking to solve and if you can tap into that and provide a solution, you’ll convert sales from LinkedIn.

Group unresponsive prospects under a tag for dormant contacts. You can continue to reach out to these prospects through the Your Day feature and by actively contributing to common groups they are members of.

Over to You

Follow these 6 steps to discover and connect with new leads and new clients. Integrated into your business strategy, you’re sure to transform your connections into business relationships.

Social selling produces better results than cold calling and allows you to easily reach the decision-makers. To be successful, strive to offer value and build credibility. After all, that’s what we look for when we do business with people, isn’t it?

What do you think? Are you using LinkedIn for social selling? What successes have you had? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Image from iStockPhoto.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Melonie Dodaro

Melonie Dodaro, is the author of the #1 international bestseller The LinkedIn Code. She is also the founder of Top Dog Social Media and dubbed by the media as Canada’s #1 LinkedIn expert. Other posts by »




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  • http://nitishdhiman.com/ Nitish Dhiman

    Tremendous article Melonie. I always get something new from you while it is on “Top Dog Social Media” or it is on Social Media Examiner.

  • http://nitishdhiman.com/ Nitish Dhiman

    Tremendous article Melonie. I always get something new from you while it is on “Top Dog Social Media” or it is on Social Media Examiner.

  • http://www.SelfEmployedKing.com/ Mike Kawula

    Love #6: Move Online Connections to Offline Conversations

    So True! Have an Awesome Week!

  • http://www.SelfEmployedKing.com/ Mike Kawula

    Love #6: Move Online Connections to Offline Conversations

    So True! Have an Awesome Week!

  • http://www.LinkedInRiches.com/ John Nemo

    Great tips! I’ve done more than $135k in revenue in just 90 days using LinkedIn, and using many of the strategies outlined above. The biggest tip I’d add is to REALLY leverage Groups and to use the “Search” feature within Groups to quickly/easily find prospects to connect with. You can create a personalized invite that says, “Hey, I see we’re both members of Group XYZ and I’d love to connect and also invite to my Group on XYZ.” That way you not only make the connection, but then you funnel those high-quality leads into your own, branded LinkedIn Group where you share your best content/tips/advice. And then you have a ready-made prospect pool in your branded LinkedIn Group as well!

  • http://www.LinkedInRiches.com/ John Nemo

    Great tips! I’ve done more than $135k in revenue in just 90 days using LinkedIn, and using many of the strategies outlined above. The biggest tip I’d add is to REALLY leverage Groups and to use the “Search” feature within Groups to quickly/easily find prospects to connect with. You can create a personalized invite that says, “Hey, I see we’re both members of Group XYZ and I’d love to connect and also invite to my Group on XYZ.” That way you not only make the connection, but then you funnel those high-quality leads into your own, branded LinkedIn Group where you share your best content/tips/advice. And then you have a ready-made prospect pool in your branded LinkedIn Group as well!

  • Inbound Insurance Mk

    Great advice. I’ve never used the notes and reminder features, so will check those out!

  • Inbound Insurance Mk

    Great advice. I’ve never used the notes and reminder features, so will check those out!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    That’s part of the new LinkedIn Contacts and it has really improved being able to use LinkedIn for prospecting!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    That’s part of the new LinkedIn Contacts and it has really improved being able to use LinkedIn for prospecting!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Yes that ties in perfectly also to #3, that was you can search the groups by using Advanced Search to find the people who are targeted within each group. I totally agree of the power of great your own LinkedIn group John.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Yes that ties in perfectly also to #3, that was you can search the groups by using Advanced Search to find the people who are targeted within each group. I totally agree of the power of great your own LinkedIn group John.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    That’s what many people miss Mike, they try and keep conversations online. Moving the conversation offline is what’s needed to convert a prospect to a client.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    That’s what many people miss Mike, they try and keep conversations online. Moving the conversation offline is what’s needed to convert a prospect to a client.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Thanks Nitish!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Thanks Nitish!

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    It can definitely be tough to learn how to convert using LinkedIn, but
    here you’ve explained how to discover and connect with potential clients
    in a very easy-to-understand way. “Build the Relationship” is
    absolutely an important tip here, and I also like your suggestion about
    taking online relationships offline – so important! Thanks for the great
    post Melonie!

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    It can definitely be tough to learn how to convert using LinkedIn, but
    here you’ve explained how to discover and connect with potential clients
    in a very easy-to-understand way. “Build the Relationship” is
    absolutely an important tip here, and I also like your suggestion about
    taking online relationships offline – so important! Thanks for the great
    post Melonie!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Agreed, move the relationships forward and taking them offline is so important.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Agreed, move the relationships forward and taking them offline is so important.

  • http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chrisformosa/ Chris Formosa

    Great post, Melonie! I definitely learned TONS from you — didn’t realize we had a limit on the number of requests we can send. It’s also always great to see ya around the “inter-webs”!

  • http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chrisformosa/ Chris Formosa

    Great post, Melonie! I definitely learned TONS from you — didn’t realize we had a limit on the number of requests we can send. It’s also always great to see ya around the “inter-webs”!

  • http://www.socialmediamorewithless.com/ Teresa Pangan

    Great article – no surprise. Melonie you are the LinkedIn guru. Love how you give tactics for moving the relationship along and if no response after two messages send final one and then use time nurturing other relationships. I love to also use LinkedIn for nurturing prospects I discovered in other social media platforms and widen my network with theirs through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is such a gem.

  • http://www.socialmediamorewithless.com/ Teresa Pangan

    Great article – no surprise. Melonie you are the LinkedIn guru. Love how you give tactics for moving the relationship along and if no response after two messages send final one and then use time nurturing other relationships. I love to also use LinkedIn for nurturing prospects I discovered in other social media platforms and widen my network with theirs through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is such a gem.

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  • AmandahBlackwell

    I agree with “Find professionals who share a target market similar to yours, but don’t offer the service you provide.” It’s okay to network with others who offer the same service as you, but it’s good to have a balance.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I agree with “Find professionals who share a target market similar to yours, but don’t offer the service you provide.” It’s okay to network with others who offer the same service as you, but it’s good to have a balance.

  • Dorothy

    Well done… User Friendly. Where were you when I was in the job market. Even tho I am retired,I still have an interest in my field and who’s who in it. And, I would like to add support for those searching for endorsement.

  • Emily

    Impressive, Melonie, the way you succinctly pull it all together. Such great ideas even an ole lady can use.
    I add one thing: Share this article on LinkedIn, and impress your people!

  • Emily

    Impressive, Melonie, the way you succinctly pull it all together. Such great ideas even an ole lady can use.
    I add one thing: Share this article on LinkedIn, and impress your people!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Great idea Emily ;) thank you!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Great idea Emily ;) thank you!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Totally agree!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    I agree with you Teresa, LinkedIn is a gem. Glad you found this article helpful.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Thanks Chris!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Thanks Chris!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Great Dorothy!

  • http://www.guaranteedseo.com/ GuaranteedSEO

    Great tips! It is important to remember that online connections are stepping stone to real life connections where business can actually occur! That said, LinkedIn is great for networking for business as it already provides a more professional environment compared to other social media tools like Facebook.

  • http://www.guaranteedseo.com/ GuaranteedSEO

    Great tips! It is important to remember that online connections are stepping stone to real life connections where business can actually occur! That said, LinkedIn is great for networking for business as it already provides a more professional environment compared to other social media tools like Facebook.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Absolutely, step #6 is the most important in converting a prospect to a client!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Absolutely, step #6 is the most important in converting a prospect to a client!

  • Ava Cristi

    That’s what LinkedIn is all about: making connections for the purpose of advancing yourself personally and professionally. For a service professional, those connections are prospects. Taking the time to develop warm connections is how LinkedIn can be used to turn prospects into sales.

  • Ava Cristi

    That’s what LinkedIn is all about: making connections for the purpose of advancing yourself personally and professionally. For a service professional, those connections are prospects. Taking the time to develop warm connections is how LinkedIn can be used to turn prospects into sales.

  • http://relate.ly/ Matt Kress

    Great advice. A good way to follow up and add value is by sharing a blog post, article, white paper, or something interesting based on that person’s industry or something that you’ve talked about.

    Doing that has helped me build credibility and establish myself as a trusted advisor when reaching out to people as well.

    Love the post and thanks for sharing it with the community here!

  • http://relate.ly/ Matt Kress

    Great advice. A good way to follow up and add value is by sharing a blog post, article, white paper, or something interesting based on that person’s industry or something that you’ve talked about.

    Doing that has helped me build credibility and establish myself as a trusted advisor when reaching out to people as well.

    Love the post and thanks for sharing it with the community here!

  • Vivian Eisenecher

    Wow! Thanks for all the great tips. I will integrate them into my daily networking.
    Vivian Eisenecher

  • Stevie Godson

    As a freelancer, surely it’s better to hook up with people who need your services rather than with people who are in the same field. Just a thought.

  • Gina R. Smith

    Great article! Thanks for sharing. I’m not good at social media and your article really gave me some good ideas to try.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Awesome Gina! Glad it helped you.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Of course! In Step 3 you want to search for your ideal clients, not those in the same field :)

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Happy they helped you Vivian.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Absolutely Matt, you have this dialed in! ;)

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    I love LinkedIn. Thanks for covering this, Melonie! I think the platform is great for finding and fostering valuable industry connections or sales prospects. I haven’t taken advantage of the tags, notes and reminder features yet, but it’s next on my list. I had about 20 business cards from a conference the other week, and taking digital notes on LinkedIn right away would have been extremely helpful in remembering everyone, knowing exactly what we talked about, etc.

    Bridging online/offline is what really drives it all home. Meeting offline, even for a short while, really solidifies my connections!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    I totally agree Sarah. You will love all the new features from the LinkedIn Contacts roll out (tags/notes/reminders).

  • Melonie Dodaro

    I totally agree Ava and it’s a step many miss.

  • Nadia

    Please take into consideration that the Notes feature is not available for all Linkedin users at the moment!

  • rick ferola

    great info for someone new to linked in
    thanks

  • Melonie Dodaro

    My pleasure Rick!

  • Hakeem Amar

    Thanks for sharing, Melonie!
    Many good tips for prospecting through LinkedIn… Personally, I’ve achieved very satisfactory results with InMail, especially when I have been able to identify specific needs that a potential client has, and providing them with a short description of my proposed remedy or solution.

  • http://tyronneratcliff.com/ Tyronne Ratcliff

    Solid content Melonie. LinkedIn is an absolute goldmine. I’m definitely going to put these LinkedIn tips into action. Have a good one!

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  • Vignesh

    Excellent, hope your team will share more and more to get connect

  • Promotional Elements

    Great article. Can you suggest ways to increase connections on LinkedIn through Company Pages? I am struggling with this.

  • chevyd80

    Thanks for this, Melodie. I can say that I gained a couple of guest for my radio show/podcast through LinkedIn. You are on top of your game.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Thank you!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Company pages are a little more difficult because you can proactively connect with people. They have however recently added Sponsored Updates which is a good way to increase visibility and attract more followers of your company page.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    That’s great Tyronne! Best of luck with your continued success using LinkedIn.

  • Maddy

    Awesome article, Melonie! I think my favorite had to be #6 to move online conversations to offline and in real time. This goes along with #5 of building relationships which I think is something that a young generation is currently undervaluing. When it comes to interviewing for a job (after finding great prospects) you want to be able to in a sense ‘emobody’ the persona of that person if you’re using them as a reference or they were the solid connection that could have led you to that point.

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  • Melonie Dodaro

    Hi Addy, yes I agree #6 is often missed and is the most important step of all. Glad you liked the article!

  • http://follr.me/joe Joe Dahleen

    Melonie – Great job on this article. Really enjoyed it because I can use it!

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  • Rita Conroy-Martin

    very useful article! Thank you!







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