Want to manage your LinkedIn prospects more effectively?
LinkedIn is the go-to social platform for generating leads and building trust with your ideal prospects.
In this article, you'll discover four tips to help you get more out of your LinkedIn sales efforts.
#1: Join LinkedIn ProFinder: The Freelance Marketplace
If you're a freelancer or independent professional, consider becoming part of LinkedIn's ProFinder network. This is a place where LinkedIn members can seek out experts for a service, such as designers, writers, editors, accountants, marketing consultants, web developers, and more.
To access ProFinder, click the Interests tab on the LinkedIn navigation bar and select ProFinder.
Here's how ProFinder works. If businesses are looking for a provider, they answer a few questions about the services they're seeking and specify a time frame and budget. LinkedIn then connects them to the best local professionals from their vetted list. Businesses receive bids for their work delivered directly to their inbox.
If you want to apply to be a ProFinder provider, go to the ProFinder signup page. Answer the questions as prompted to clarify your areas of expertise and complete the signup process.
It's important that you have current recommendations on your LinkedIn profile, because potential leads will see them in your ProFinder profile. Your Summary section could also be key to getting hired, so make sure your summary details are complete. It's where you explain why you're the best choice and what makes you credible, and describe the results you've achieved for others.
Note: After submitting 10 proposals, LinkedIn may ask you to upgrade your subscription before they'll share more leads. Also, if you're in the financial services industry, this probably won't work for you because of compliance and price quoting, which is mandatory when bidding on work.
#2: Use Third-Party Tools to Manage Your Prospecting Efforts
If you want to manage your contacts, there are two third-party apps that can help in CRM and follow-up. These tools are sales aids that can save you time and keep your leads organized. However, remember that nothing replaces building real, long-term relationships with your prospects. Test these tools for your individual sales strategies.
Dux-Soup offers both free and paid versions. The app is ideal for taking notes on your contacts. The Dux-Soup for LinkedIn Chrome extension will keep track of every LinkedIn profile you visit and let you make notes directly on the profile page.
Nimble is a great social selling tool that integrates easily with LinkedIn. It's designed for social listening and engagement. The browser extension is available for Chrome and Firefox. You can try it for free with a 14-day trial; the cost after that is $25 per month.
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With Microsoft's recent acquisition of LinkedIn, it's worth paying attention to what happens with Microsoft's Dynamics 365 CRM. Who knows? Maybe there will be an integration with LinkedIn in the future.
You may want to check out LinkedIn's Sales Navigator product (which is available as a 30-day free trial) or a CRM such as Salesforce. Typically larger businesses will have the budgets and sales teams to support these products.
#3: Nurture Your Relationships
Staying connected and top of mind with your audience is paramount for building awareness and developing trust. LinkedIn makes it easy to tap into what's happening in your network.
Use Native Prompts to Start a Conversation
Take a look at the Ways to Keep in Touch box on LinkedIn's home page. These prompts are meant to encourage you to engage consistently with the people in your network, so take a few minutes a day to reach out to connections with a personal message.
If you do congratulate someone on an anniversary, new job, or promotion, go beyond simply saying “congrats.” Be specific and mention what you're congratulating the person for.
Premium account holders can go to the messages page and click the light bulb icon to get ideas for starting a conversation with a connection.
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Build a Reputation as a Trusted Resource
It's important to recognize that how we do business has changed. Today's buyers have access to more information online. They've already made a decision on what to buy; the question is who will they buy from? People do business with and refer business to those they know, like, and trust. In other words, they buy from people who have taken the time to build a relationship with them.
How do you add value? By solving the problems of your prospects. Take the time to pay attention to what your prospects' needs are. You have to be a problem-finder before you can be a problem-solver.
You want to become a valued resource. To do that, share relevant articles as LinkedIn status updates or as direct messages to prospects, letting them know you want to help. Focus on giving, not selling, as you build your relationships.
Remember, building relationships with your ideal prospects requires consistency. You need to deliver valuable content and meaningful conversation. Keeping these points in mind will help you win trust and get the opportunity to ask for a meeting or phone call.
#4: Download Your LinkedIn Connection Data for Facebook Targeting and CRM Import
You've spent years developing your LinkedIn profile, connections, posts, messages, and recommendations, and those details belong to you. Fortunately, LinkedIn lets you download that information as an archive.
While you can use the Export LinkedIn Connections feature, you can also do a full download of your data to get more detailed information about the people in your network.
To download your data, first click your photo in the upper-right corner and then click Privacy & Settings in the drop-down menu.
Find the Getting an Archive of Your Data option and click on Change. On the next page, click Request Archive.
In a few minutes, you'll receive an email message from LinkedIn that they've compiled the first installment of your archive. Click on Download It With This Link in the email.
Finally, click the Download button and save the archive to your computer.
Once you've downloaded your archive, you'll have a series of CSV files.
In your Connections file, your contacts are listed by first name, last name, email address, company, and current position. You'll also find any notes you've added to their profiles and the folders you may have tagged them in.
With this data, you can now leverage your connections for prospecting. One way to do this is to upload your ideal prospects to your CRM system. Follow, track, and connect with your prospects on a strategic level. Your goal is to stay top of mind and one way to do that is to comment on their status updates.
Also consider uploading your contact list to a Facebook custom audience and creating an advertising campaign. Targeting your connections with Facebook ads is more likely to deliver results because you already have a relationship. You can use this tactic to promote webinars, workshops, and more.
Don't upload your LinkedIn contacts to your email list though. Remember, an email list is permission-based marketing. Adding people to your list who haven't opted in is an easy way to lose trust with people you've worked hard to connect with.
Note: Your LinkedIn archive also includes all of the information in your own LinkedIn profile, so you'll have a record of key data such as your recommendations and endorsements.
Want more like this? Explore our LinkedIn for Business guide!
These tips will help you organize and focus on your ideal prospects on LinkedIn, but you'll have to do the work of building relationships. Show up consistently and offer value to those you serve, because ultimately that will be your competitive advantage.
What do you think? Do you use some of these tactics on LinkedIn? What's working for your lead generation efforts? Please share your thoughts and comments below.
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