Let’s be honest… lead generation and prospecting can be tedious, it can be expensive, it can be ineffective, and sometimes (I’m thinking of cold calling) it can be downright unpleasant depending on your personality.
But for business owners, these activities are essential. That’s where LinkedIn has become a game changer.
Here are a few reasons LinkedIn is a great tool to improve your prospecting process and book more sales appointments than ever before:
To be clear, prospecting on LinkedIn is especially effective for certain types of business. If your sales process typically involves getting a prospect on the phone or in a meeting in order to close a sale, then this will work great for you.
Before setting up your lead generation and outbound sales campaigns, try considering a few things first.
What are you offering? Describe it as specifically as possible, and list out the functional benefits it provides. Are there any differentiators? How can people trust that it will work?
Who is your ideal customer? Consider who needs your service and would benefit from paying for it. What industry are they in? Where do they live? What kind of education do they have? What services do they provide?
What is your goal? When prospecting on LinkedIn, typically the goal is to schedule calls with people who would benefit from your service.
Start by searching in LinkedIn for people who are 2nd degree connections. Type a target keyword into the search bar, then click “People”, then click “All Filters”.
Now you can select “2nd” under Connections to search only for people who are connected to somebody you’re connected to. This establishes commonality and a reason you might want to connect right from the start.
Now you can further refine your search by going through the rest of the filters. I usually filter the location at least to the country I’m in even if my services aren’t restricted geographically.
The other filters that can be used to great effect are Industries, Services, and Title.
When searching keywords and titles, you can use the codes AND, OR, and NOT.
For example, if there are multiple titles you want to search for, you can use the code “OR” between titles, e.g. Owner OR CEO, or “Marketing Director” OR “VP of Marketing”. You could also do a keyword search such as Vitamin AND Owner NOT Marketing, which would likely show you owners of vitamin shops but not owners of competing marketing agencies.
One other way you could go about connecting with qualified leads is getting involved with groups in your niche. Say you’re a financial services marketer, getting accepted into a financial advisor group on LinkedIn could be extremely beneficial.
To find these groups, just type your keyword into the search bar and click “Groups” under “More”.
A lot of groups are particular about who they let in, so be patient and request to join several groups. Try editing your profile a bit to make it look like you would be able to add value to the people in these groups. Once you’re accepted, spend some time being active and adding value. Meanwhile you can start looking through the members and deciding who would be a great prospect. After some time has passed, send connection requests to those people and every once in a while start hinting in the group discussion about the solutions you have to offer.
One of the reasons LinkedIn is such a great prospecting tool is that messages you send are likely to get much higher engagement than emails. First, the recipient can easily see who’s sending the message, and optimally you’re already connected so the message doesn’t seem as cold. Also, there is a less formal nature to chatting on a social platform which makes it mentally easier for the recipient to engage in a conversation.
Before we go over a few of the most effective messaging strategies, let’s touch on a few key aspects of a quality outreach message.
Introduction – Being on a networking platform, LinkedIn outreach will work better if your lead can understand where you’re coming from. Once you’ve connected with someone, try very briefly giving a bit of background on yourself and what you do, keeping a friendly and conversational tone. People tend to appreciate the information, even if they don’t want your service when it’s offered in the right way.
Add Value – Before making a hard sell, kindly offer to help if they need it or to answer any questions they might have. If you have an article/video/whitepaper you can share that could help your lead in whatever role they have, ask if they’d be interested in seeing that or just send it over without asking for anything in return. This is a great way to build reciprocity.
The point here is, approach the start of the conversation as if you’re just trying to be a valuable connection in their network.
Lower Their Risk – The likelihood of getting a booked appointment goes up when the perceived level of risk for your lead goes down. One thing that can help with this is expressing an interest in them and their business. If you only talk about yourself and the service you’re selling, their guard will go up. So, let them know you want to learn more about them and how you may be able to help.
Another thing that can de-risk the conversation is using terms like, “opportunities”, “collaboration”, “synergies”. When your lead is thinking about exploring potential opportunities, seeing how you may be able collaborate, or capitalizing on synergies with what each of you do – they will feel safe and in control because it sounds like you’re working together. Contrast that with how they’d feel if you use terms like “provide” or “offer” that imply a one-way street.
Keep It Short – Keeping your messages brief will help. If it gets too long then it starts feeling like an email and the message might get ignored. You want it to be very easy to read and respond to.
Adding a note with your connection requests can give a significant boost to your acceptance rate. Point out a commonality between you and the lead, and a reason for wanting to connect. Do not give any sales pitch at this point, remember people are on LinkedIn to network.
Here some examples of potential commonalities:
A super simple connection request message might look something like this:
“Hi John, I noticed we had some mutual connections and there’s some overlap in what we do. Would love to connect!”
This strategy works great for any industry. The goal here is to get them on the phone, confirm they’re a quality prospect, then create a new business relationship or make a sale.
Connection Message: Hi John, I saw we’re both in [industry] and thought we should connect.
1 Day Later (if no reply): Thanks for connecting John. [How’d you get started in industry?] or [What do you specialize in?] (question to start a conversation)
3 Days Later (if no reply): Hey John, do you have time to hop on a quick call this week to see if there’s potential for us to collaborate and help one another?
6-8 Days Later (if no reply): Hi John, I’m sure there are ways we can support one another with both of us being involved in [industry]. Would you be too busy for a quick chat sometime?
This strategy perfectly exemplifies the saying “simple but effective”. You can quickly find the prospects that are interested in your services, without being salesy.
Connection Message: Hi John, I saw we had some mutual connections and that you’re involved in [line of work]. I’d love to connect!
1 Day Later (if no reply): Thanks for connecting John! Just thought I’d introduce myself now that you’re in my network.
[brief overview of who you are and what you do – e.g. After several years of running a full service digital marketing agency, I am now concentrating my efforts into providing business owners with an incredible system that delivers booked sales appointments on auto-pilot.]
I would love to learn more about your business. If you think I can be of any help, let me know and we can have a chat.
3 Days Later (if no reply): Hey John, I’d love to chat about the possibility of collaborating. Would you be too busy to talk in the next few days?
6-8 Days Later (if no reply): Hi John, hope all is well. I just wanted to touch base one more time since I’m not sure if you got my last messages. If you have any interest in seeing how I could help you with your efforts, let me know. I’d be happy to talk about it.
This strategy works great if there is a very specific problem that you solve, or if you have a very niche product or service. Examples might be something like advertising in a heavily regulated industry, or providing cutting-edge technology.
Connection Message: Hi John, I saw your profile and noticed we share similar professional interests. I’d love to connect. Thanks, Sean
1 Day Later (if no reply): Hey John, thanks for connecting. It’s great to connect with like minded people. Quick question – are you actively looking for [product/solution]? (the question could also be something like “do you typically run into issues with [specific problem]?”)
3 Days Later (if no reply): Hey John, [comment to emphasize the problem you solve – e.g. regulations around cannabis products make marketing a bit tricky, don’t they?] I’d love to have a quick chat sometime, do you have a few minutes in the next week or so?
6-8 Days Later (if no reply): Maybe you don’t have any issues with [problem]? If that’s the case, then way to go! If not, I’m happy to share some strategies that have helped people like us [gain this functional benefit]. If that might be of interest to you, let me know and we can have a chat. Best, Sean
A lead magnet in this case is anything that can add value for your prospect while simultaneously building interest in your service. Articles, videos, whitepapers, and slide decks can all work really well here.
Connection Message: Hi John, I saw your profile and noticed we share similar professional interests. I’d love to connect. Thanks, Sean
1 Day Later (if no reply): Hey John, thanks for connecting! It’s great to connect with like minded people.
A bit about me… [brief overview of who you are and what you do]. Based on your job, it seems we [have this in common].
So I just wanted to share [what they’ll get that from your lead magnet – e.g. some proven LinkedIn messaging strategies that tripled my sales appointments], if you don’t mind?
3 Days Later (if no reply): Here’s the guide: [link to lead magnet]
I’d love some feedback – your honest opinion would be greatly appreciated.
6-8 Days Later (if no reply): Hi John, how’s everything? I hope the guide I shared was helpful.
Did you have a chance to go over it? I’d love to hear your thoughts when you have a spare minute.
As much as LinkedIn can improve your prospecting with its search filters and messaging, doing this all manually will still be tedious and time consuming. That’s where an automation tool, and more specifically ProDigital Connect comes in.
Imagine setting your search criteria for finding qualified leads, entering in your message sequence, then with the click of a button having prospects engaging with you week after week.
To take it a step further, imagine being able to easily split test different messaging strategies, with their stats clearly displayed for you.
Now imagine being able to set up canned responses to save even more time. And being able to apply labels to your prospects and track what’s working to move them from a cold lead, to warm, to hot, to eventually being a client.
All of this is made possible by our ProDigital Connect software service. Combining the strategies discussed in this article with the power of automation has consistently generated 10+ conversations per day with qualified prospects. This usually translates into 3 to 8 sales appointments per week – with virtually ZERO effort!
In addition to providing this incredible software, our team will work directly with you to optimize your campaigns as well as your LinkedIn profile, so you can get the best results possible and make more sales.
If you want to see examples of manual LinkedIn outreach as well as setting up a campaign in ProDigital Connect, check out the video below. It will also give some more insight into how the tool works.
Simply using automation will not get you in trouble with LinkedIn. To be extra safe, ProDigital Connect is cloud based, and daily connection requests are limited, with the time between each request randomized.
However, the thing that LinkedIn wants to keep off their platform is spam. So the thing that could potentially be dangerous to the health of your account is engaging with prospects in an unwanted way. That is why we coach our clients to write messages keeping in mind that this is a networking platform. As long as you’re not trying to make a sale in the connection request note, and not being overly spammy, it is highly unlikely that you’ll ever get slapped with any restrictions.
The truth is that you don’t need to do any advertising whatsoever in order to rapidly grow your business. After combining LinkedIn search filters with the power of automation, organic outreach is all you need to scale to $500k annually. Only then should you take a look at ads as a way to continue growing.
As you’ve seen, ProDigital Connect provides the means to generate all the business you need. And it is incredibly affordable, especially when compared to what you would need to spend on advertising to achieve similar results.
To get started, just click the button below and book a time to get a demonstration and discuss the available options.