LinkedIn Prospecting: How to Find Your Next Customer on LinkedIn

Do you use LinkedIn for your business?

Are you wondering how to use LinkedIn to find prospects and customers?

To learn about how to build strategic relationships through LinkedIn, I interview Viveka von Rosen for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, I interview Viveka von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and founder of Linked Into Business.

Viveka shares how she prospects on LinkedIn for her business.

You’ll learn about the tools available to make prospecting easy and what you need to do to get started.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

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Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

LinkedIn Prospecting

What is prospecting?

Viveka explains that a prospect is someone whom you either find or attract to you who’s in a company, business, industry or organization that has a need for your product or service.

Before social media, prospecting was done through very expensive outbound sales. However, social media and LinkedIn in particular have changed this. You’ll hear why Viveka loves prospecting.

linked home page

LinkedIn is great for finding prospects.

Social media has changed us from the age of the seller to the age of the consumer. Consumers now tell us want they want. A large part of prospecting is to know who your ideal clients are and know their needs. Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn and Twitter make the research a lot easier.

As a seller, it’s also a lot easier and cheaper to get out there and position yourself as a thought leader. This engenders the feeling of “know, like and trust” in a client or prospect with whom you may not have had direct interaction. It makes it easier to close the sale.

In Jill Konrath’s book, Selling to BIG Companies, she talks about how you have to know whom to sell to. This is why LinkedIn is so important—it tells you who works at the companies, their positions and whom they interact with. It enables you to reach out to the right person.

Listen to the show to find out why groups can be so powerful.

LinkedIn for prospecting

Viveka explains the two aspects of prospecting—inbound and outbound. Actively prospecting is just a matter of research.

With a combination of keywords, titles, company name and location, you can use the Advanced Search on LinkedIn to discover the people you want to interact with. These are your prospects.

linked in advanced search criteria

Advanced Search on LinkedIn is a great research tool.

You’ll hear about some of the great benefits of LinkedIn and also some of its limitations.

One of the most powerful search categories is Location. Not only can you see who lives in your town, but also when you attend trade shows or conferences, it’s a great way to connect with people before the event.

A really cool app that you can use for conferences is Bizzabo, which has a LinkedIn API interface. There are thousands of events in there and you can see who will be at the event. It shows you their LinkedIn profile. In the show, you’ll also discover another app which can be used for prospecting.

bizzabo homepage

We used Bizzabo for Social Media Marketing World.

If you want to meet prospects face to face before an event, a cool new app called Trendr will set up a live meeting place.

Listen to the show to find out how you can discover if a prospect is active in a particular LinkedIn group.

Viveka’s experience on LinkedIn

Viveka is extremely active on LinkedIn, either prospecting or inbound. She says that 70-80% of her business comes through LinkedIn and the remainder through things that she markets on Twitter.

When you own a LinkedIn group, it allows you to position yourself as a thought leader. Viveka owns quite a few groups. Make sure the content you share is helpful and useful and not at all promotional. You need to ask questions and respond to other group members’ discussions.

You’ll hear about Viveka’s most active group, and how it’s a support system for the LinkedIn chat on Twitter.

Listen to the show to learn how to @mention someone on LinkedIn.

The first thing to do when prospecting on LinkedIn

Viveka advises that the first thing you should do is to look professional. Make sure your personal profile, company page and groups are all up to date. It helps to have the latest features enabled and ensure you are well-branded across all your touch points.

viveka von rosen linkedin account profile

It's great for your own visibility to have a very professional personal profile on LinkedIn.

When you join groups, you need to be clear about your target market and join these particular groups. You can join up to 50 groups. It’s a great way to be proactive. When you invite people, be honest and let them know you want to grow your network with influencers in your industry.

LinkedIn has a great free tool called Get Introduced. Viveka feels that most people aren’t aware of it because it’s hidden. You get 5 introductions at a time with the free account and 15 with the basic paid account.

get introduced drop down

Get Introduced is in a drop-down box to the right of the Send InMail link.

There are many different ways to actively prospect and Viveka has used all of them.

When you join a group, LinkedIn allows you to InMail people who are also members of that group, or you can send them a message.

You’ll learn the best way to find out if a group is a good fit before you join. Viveka has created a list on Listly for the groups that she likes.

Listen to the show to hear about how LinkedIn’s SWAM (Site-Wide Auto Moderation) works.

Prospecting etiquette on LinkedIn

Viveka says that it always comes back to the 80/20 rule. If you provide 80% useful content to attract your prospects, then 20% of the time you can invite people to see your webinar or download something.

When you message someone, make it conversational. Don’t do a sales pitch in a message. You can let people know about a free webinar or download, but if you want someone to buy your stuff, then don’t pitch them in an email.

The best way to contact a prospect whom you don’t know is to send them an InMail or message through a group. You’ll hear Viveka give an example of what she calls the “easy yes” and how to build that familiarity with people.

To help you find directors and executive-level people within a company, Account Researcher by eGrabber is a really cool tool.

account researcher egrabber homepage

Account Researcher helps you find a prospect's email address and telephone number.

To help you keep track of all your prospects, Viveka highly recommends that you download the new LinkedIn Contacts feature, which is a free tool within LinkedIn. You can make notes on your clients/prospects and tag them. You can also set reminders for yourself.

linkedin new contacts

Everyone will get the new LinkedIn Contacts feature within the next 3-6 months.

The LinkedIn app for mobile is pretty good too. Sixty-seven percent of people interact primarily through the mobile apps.

Listen to the show to find out which third-party CRM systems work well with LinkedIn.

Discovery of the Week

I recently received a tweet about a really cool resource called Tweet Binder, which aggregates all tweets around a hashtag.

tweetbinder hashtag reports

These are a few of the stats for our Social Media Success Summit 2013 hashtag (#SMSS13).

When you put in your hashtag, it will show you exactly how many people have tweeted with that hashtag. It removes all spammers. You can see the activity on a graph, which includes the number that are replies, have links and pictures, original tweets and retweets.

There are four different rankings for top contributor categories. It shows who your most active users are with that hashtag, who has the highest impact, who’s the most popular and the most original tweets. It then creates binders around topics that people are chatting about.

We shared this tool with everyone who was tweeting every day about Social Media Success Summit and they got really excited because they wanted to get onto the leader boards.

I’m extremely impressed with Tweet Binder. There is a free version and a paid version. Be sure to check it out.

Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how this works for you.

Other Show Mentions

SMMW logoWe have opened up the gates for Social Media Marketing World 2014. It’s our physical mega-conference which is set to return to San Diego, California on March 26, 27 and 28.

You’ll hear Douglas Karr with the Marketing Tech Blog and DK New Media give a testimonial from this year’s event.

More than 60 of the world’s leading social media marketers will present in four different tracks. It’s going to be spectacular.

I strongly recommend you check out some of the videos and the testimonials. You can learn a lot more about it here.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, founder of My Kids' Adventures and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He's also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by »




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