Tips and strategies to easily prospect on LinkedIn

When prospecting on LinkedIn, remain engaging not (I dare say, never) salesy. To easily prospect on LinkedIn calls for a strategic approach, consistent effort, and genuine engagement. Prospecting is the cornerstone of successful selling; it is the most important step in the sales cycle. Prospecting is the never-ending quest for potential buyers of what you are selling. With a staggering one billion members spread across 200counties, the pool of prospects to draw from is almost bottomless. But it matters how you do it

Prospecting on LinkedIn is at once easy and difficult. Easy because you have direct access to the prospect. You instantly bypass any gatekeeper. This is perhaps the greatest benefit of prospecting on LinkedIn.  On the other hand, it is complex because LinkedIn is ideally not for prospecting but professionally ‘advertising’ oneself; complex also because unlike the other social media platforms (think Facebook, Instagram) it is comparatively ‘serious’, semi-formal and ideally intended for the workplace. And it is because of this ‘seriousness’ that to successfully prospect on LinkedIn you will need to network, not sell.

Be unique to easily prospect on LinkedIn

Now when I say network, I do not mean seek connections left, right and centre. Such arbitrariness is akin to shooting pellets from a shotgun hoping one will hit the mark. But hope is not a strategy. So to easily prospect on LinkedIn be deliberate. First, know your prospect. Who is he? Be clear. For example, if you have lorries which are available for hire from businesses that need them, then your prospect is the decision maker in that business.  And this could be the logistics, supply chain or procurement manager.

Next, knowing LinkedIn is a search engine, search for any of the three roles and a multitude of prospects complete with name and title will pop up. Your eyes light up like a torch in the dark; you can’t believe your luck; you’ve just hit the mother lode you think. Your days of prospecting are finally over. ‘I’ll just send them a message pitching to all of them instantly. I can even copy paste the same pitch to all 100 in a day and continue hounding them every week all from behind a computer working from home!” Oh, how I wish it were that simple. Doing that is a sure-fire way to getting yourself blocked by them, reported, and therefore flagged as a spammer by LinkedIn.  Game over! You are dead on arrival.

Easily prospect on LinkedIn

To easily prospect on LinkedIn. Introspect-Optimize your profile

So, what to do? Be unique. First, introspect; do some housekeeping. You see, in the same way you can easily and quickly access others they can equally do so you. So, check your own LinkedIn profile. Do you have a (clear) photo? If not, ‘What are you hiding?’, is the unspoken question prospects ask themselves, and (most certainly) avoid you.

Secondly, what’s your title? Does it have sales person or such reference to the role?  If so, you may want to revise that to something more inviting. Prospects have no problem buying; they have a problem being sold to.  This is true, not just on LinkedIn but in general. Your Sales Rep title (or its equivalent) just sends out a flare to them that you are to be avoided. (Incidentally your search may also yield Logistics Groups. Join them. Participate in the discussions and share to benefit others not yourself.)  

Engage the prospect, without selling

Embrace the power of this professional network and unlock a world of opportunities for your career or business. To successfully prospect on LinkedIn is a journey, not an event. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Its endgame is a meeting not a sale. You want a meeting without asking for it. As shared, the primary purpose is to engage not sell; to seek a conversation, not a sale; to interest, without being salesy; and to make the prospect feel invited, not pushed to a meeting.  With this in mind, proceed to follow them, and personalize your connection requests. Follow them with the intention of commenting on (not merely liking) posts that they share.

When seeking a connection, include a good prospecting message along these lines: “Hi (prospects name). This is Kageche from Lend Me Your Ears. I wish to join your network. I try to understand a little more about what my connections do. If you are you interested in a 3-5 minute brief introductory engagement, that’d be great. If not, that’s okay too. Maybe another time.” Then end by giving your name and number. And that’s it. (By the way, you’ll need to pass that message inside 300 characters).

If they respond immediately (unlikely), then share what you do in a bit more detail than what your profile says, and phrase it in third person. “We help clients….. What about you?” After he tells you, thank him for it and end with, “I’ll be sure to reach out in case of any opportunities I think you can benefit from. Have a great day ahead.” (Or such other response that gives, not takes; that benefits him, not you.)

Hitting the jackpot with prospecting on LinkedIn

If nothing gives, follow-up after two weeks. Silence still. That’s OK. Comment on posts they make or tag them on posts or links you share and that you feel they may like or find useful. “Hey. I saw this and thought you may benefit from it.” In keeping with standard leads conversion rates, you’ll win some and lose some. But all will have a digital access to you and your company so in that context all is not lost. And you’ll know you’ve hit the genuine jackpot of successful prospecting on LinkedInwhen one day you get a call, or get InMailed with, “Hi Kageche. I’d like us to talk a bit more. When’s a good time for you…”

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