What if you had a tool that would tell you the best prospects to call, when to call them, and what to talk about when you did call them? Would that make your business development efforts easier and more effective? Would that enhance your client pipeline?
That tool is already here, and it’s your LinkedIn account. It’s waiting for you to use it…but you have to use it the right way. I spend a lot of time talking with professionals about strategies to implement social selling into their sales process. While strategies are important, it also good to to know the right tactics to use to implement those strategies.
Here are three that you probably haven’t taken advantage of:
If you are currently expanding your practice, you need to use the Advanced Search feature on LinkedIn! It gives you the opportunity to find the “needle in the haystack” by using all LinkedIn users’ data (that they’ve put in because they filled out their profiles) to sift through and find the ideal list of contacts. You can use titles, companies, and locations to filter and create a great prospect list. If you are a paid premium subscriber, you also have a number of other search filters available.
But did you know you can save those searches? Unfortunately, it’s hard to find (see the screenshot), but you once you’ve crafted the search to find exactly who you are looking for, you can use the “Save Search” function to keep those parameters. The number of saved searches you can keep will depend on what kind of account you have (the free account gives you three). Even better: LinkedIn will email you regularly to inform you of any new LinkedIn profiles that fit the search outline. You will know immediately and be one of the first to reach out when someone gets a new job or updates their profile to fit into your sweet spot.
Who’s Viewed Your Profile
Many people know that you can look at who has viewed your LinkedIn profile. You can see the last 5 visitors with the free account or the last 90 days of visitors with a paid account. But how do you integrate that with your marketing and sales efforts?
One way is to use it in conjunction with marketing pieces that you are sending out to a wide audience, for example a group mailing or an e-newsletter campaign. Include your LinkedIn profile URL in the copy and encourage people to visit you online (make sure that you have an optimized profile first). Then track who has viewed your profile – the individuals that take the time to research you are your “A” prospects and should be at the top of your list! It makes your prospecting calls much more efficient.
From the beginning, the power of LinkedIn has been in your ability to find your “hidden network”, those individuals who are one or two steps removed from you. Before it came along, there wasn’t an easy way to find the connections of your connections and reach out to them. Now you can! But are you taking advantage of it?
Every LinkedIn member who is in your network as a second- or third-level connection has a “How You’re Connected” section in the right sidebar of their profile. You can use this information to turn a cold-call into a warm-call. In fact, there’s an introduction tool right in the LinkedIn profile that allows you to ask for an introduction from your mutual connection. But don’t get hung up on the technology. You can reach out through LinkedIn if you want, but there’s nothing wrong with picking up the phone and giving your connection a call! Just tell them, “I saw on LinkedIn that you know ______, would you feel comfortable introducing me to her?”
These are just a few of the different ways that LinkedIn can be used to build your sales pipeline and improve your effectiveness. If you are looking to increase your business and find new prospects, it can’t be something you do every once in a while – you should use it daily. Social selling is here to stay, and if you want to be in the top echelon of professionals, you want to make it work for you.