A special thanks to Lisa Andria for providing our PRO Weekly Learning Moment.
Have you struggled with trying to find new leads and clients in your business?
Perhaps you’ve heard that social media can be effective, specifically LinkedIn, yet wonder why it’s not working for you.
You are not alone. This is a problem faced by many businesses. This problem can be further compounded by the amount of time that you have to spend qualifying leads. This is valuable time that you’re not spending on revenue generating activities.
If you are a business-to-business (B2B) business owner, entrepreneur, professional service provider or sales person, LinkedIn can help you overcome these challenges.
With over 375 million global members LinkedIn is a social media platform that allows users to build a powerful professional network. Similar to a business-networking event, it allows its users to connect and build relationships in a professional setting. But unlike an in person event, users have access to a much larger pool of prospective clients and strategic alliances. In fact, LinkedIn helps you to:
- Have un-gated access to the decision makers at even the highest levels in a business or organization.
- Distribute your content to a wider audience.
- Drive more traffic to your blog and website than other social media platforms.
- Generate more leads – it’s 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook or Twitter.
- Manage your interactions – it has a built in CRM (customer relationship management system) to help you stay organized and on top of your relationships with your connections.
While this sounds impressive, you may still be wondering just why and how LinkedIn is so effective for generating leads, clients and sales in a B2B environment.
It’s simple – LinkedIn is the ultimate relationship-building platform. With such a large number of professionals and executives using the platform, LinkedIn gives you un-gated access to your target market. It also provides you with the tools to find, connect and then build a relationship with them. This dramatically increases the effectiveness of your sales efforts and shortens the length of your sales cycle.
With a complete, professional looking profile and a daily LinkedIn lead generation plan in hand; in as little as 15 minutes a day (depending on your industry and goals), you could begin to fill your sales funnel with your ideal clients.
Here are eight steps to help you start attracting more clients on LinkedIn today.
Step 1: Professional Profile
Before you begin any activities that will put you in front of key decision makers, you must ensure that you have a profile that is professional, search-optimized and most important of all, is client-focused.
I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Just as you would not meet these key decision makers in sloppy or unprofessional attire, so must you ensure that you do nothing to get on their radar until your profile represents you in a way that will help and not hinder your efforts.
Step 2: Identify Prospects
Lead generation on LinkedIn requires you to have a clear grasp of your target market, so begin by thinking of common titles your market would use to describe themselves. This will be a crucial part of finding prospects to connect with online.
These titles relate to their vocation. For example: CEO, Accountant, VP Sales, HR Specialist, etc.
Once you have a few titles that you want to specifically target for new prospects, you can easily find them using two separate methods:
- LinkedIn Advanced Search
- LinkedIn Groups
Step 3: Send a Connection Request
Make first contact when you find a potential prospect by sending a connection request. Start by clicking on their name to go straight to their profile page. If you hit the “Connect” button via LinkedIn search, it will not give you the option to personalize your message.
Don’t make that mistake.
You MUST ensure that you send a personalized connection request message that explains how you know them or why they would want to connect with you. If you fail to do this, they may click the “I Don’t Know” or “Report Spam” option and if you receive five of these, you will be required to enter an email address for every new person you wish to connect with.
Remember that you only have 300 characters, so your reason must be concise and convincing.
Step 4: Send a Thank You Message
When you see someone has accepted your connection request on LinkedIn, reach out with a personalized “thank you” message. Don’t pitch your services or self-promote in any way other than adding the URL to your website in your signature.
If possible, find some commonality in their profile that can be used to engage in a conversation. Just like a cocktail party, the only thing you should be concerned about is getting to know that person and leaving a positive impression on them.
Step 5: Send Relationship Building Messages
Set a reminder to reach out to your new connection in a week with what I like to call a “Relationship Building” message. The sole purpose of this message is to provide something of value to that person with no ulterior motive. Giving without the expectation of receiving is a critical part of building authentic relationships with people.
I like to reach out with something relevant to their business goals. When done right, it shows that you understand their struggles and start to position yourself as an authority on that topic.
Here are a few examples of content you can share:
- Articles/Blog Posts
- Case studies
Be sure to use LinkedIn’s Relationship Tab to keep your prospects organized when sending your relationship building messages.
Step 6: Engage With Them on Shared LinkedIn Groups
Review the groups your prospects are connected in. If you aren’t already a member of groups that your prospects are part of, start joining the most relevant ones that your prospects belong to. You can join up to 50 groups.
Not everyone is active in LinkedIn Groups but when you find a prospect that is, it provides an excellent opportunity to get on their radar in a way that’s demonstrating your expertise and credibility.
Step 7: Connect & Engage On Other Social Media Platforms
It can get a bit awkward to constantly private message someone on LinkedIn if you haven’t yet made enough progress to move the relationship offline. Twitter is my first choice because of the relaxed engagement style. You won’t seem like a creepy stalker if you are interacting with and sharing their interesting posts on Twitter.
If you do find someone on Twitter that you are connected with on LinkedIn, be sure to add him or her to a special Twitter list so you can easily keep track of him or her later on.
Step 8: Move Relationships Offline
This is the most critical step where most people fall short. Without this final step, there’s a whole lot of social without any selling. Once you’ve built enough rapport, you have to make the transition to an offline conversation before anything can happen.
I get 70% of my business from LinkedIn but that doesn’t mean I’m getting a credit card number via a private message – I’m moving that relationship offline before a transaction ever takes place.
If you’ve followed steps 1-7 properly, your prospect should be open to the idea of speaking offline since you’ve demonstrated:
- Your ability to provide value
Consistency Is The Key
Ultimately your success on LinkedIn will depend on your dedication each day to following the process laid out here. With the consistent addition of targeted connections to your network and building your reputation as an expert in your industry, you will begin attracting a steady stream of your ideal clients.
Do you use LinkedIn to generate new leads and clients? What strategies do you use for attracting clients? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.
Taken from TOP DOG Social Media – CEO Melonie Dodaro