One of the most common scenarios I encounter as a consultant is when businesses dip their toes into social selling on LinkedIn, don’t see any initial success, and pull the plug. Nine times out of ten I can guarantee why: They aren’t pitching to the right people.
The scenario usually goes something like this:Someone reads an article about the magic of LinkedIn for quickly finding new prospects, gets excited, blasts a few things out across their network haphazardly without ever thinking about who they would like to reach strategically, and then sits back and waits for the phone start ringing. When it doesn’t happen, they get bummed out, blame it on LinkedIn being “a waste of time,” and call it a day.
Unfortunately finding success on LinkedIn, like everything in life, requires some effort but the good news is that this is one time when it’s actually pretty easy to work smarter, not harder.
Step 1: Fire Up Excel
How do you break through the noise to get qualified prospects to interact with you and your content on LinkedIn?
The first step toward achieving LinkedIn success is finding out who your prospects actually are. You’d be surprised how often sales teams will ignore this simple fact, or try to get away with answering, “But everyone is a potential client.” Don’t let that be you. We need to hone in on the areas you’ll have the most success, and the more specific the better.
I want you to actually make a spreadsheet of the real prospects you work with every day, especially your current clients. All you need to get started are these 4 very basic pieces of information:
Once you have these, you’ll be able to identify the people who you ACTUALLY want to talk to, because they’re the ones who are ACTUALLY BUYING your product or service! Crazy how that works, right?
Step 2: Get ‘CSI’ on the Data
Now that you have that information, what do you do with it?
Like any good sleuth, you work backwards.
Remember how all those cop shows made a string chart with pushpins on a map to see if there is any kind of a pattern to the crimes? That’s what we need to do next, with the goal of determining where the actual decision makers are hanging out on LinkedIn.
Time to roll up your sleeves and put a little effort in. You’ll want to go back to your Excel spreadsheet and do a search for every one of those names you’ve identified earlier as a real prospect or as a current customer. Log into LinkedIn and look them up, check out their profile, and get a good idea of who they are and what they’re interested in (by the way, now would be a perfect time to connect with your current customers, if you haven’t done so already). While you’re doing this, pay special attention to their group memberships and any affiliations they have; and make sure you capture it in your spreadsheet, as this will be where you want to put the bulk of your effort to locate similar individuals.
The reason you want all that information above (and not just the name) is so that you can make sure you’ve found the RIGHT person, at the right company, doing the right job. Pay attention to their title; other potential leads will probably have something very similar as well.
Step 3: Start Joining
See where we’re going with this?
Once you connect the dots and are able to crunch down a list of professional groups that a good portion of your contacts seem to share, your next job is to join those groups and start engaging with new likeminded individuals. The beauty of this method is that you now have a very targeted approach to finding quality leads, instead of just blasting out updates that are sure to get lost in the noise.
In a future article I’ll be writing about group engagement, how to write effective messaging, and the importance of timing. Stay tuned for those, and as always, feel free to reach out to me using the comments section below.