Many people still see LinkedIn as just a database for their contacts. Some even use it like it's Facebook - a place to check on friends and family and post-family vacation pictures. Only very few people (usually older folks) understand its true potential. LinkedIn has changed so much in the past 8 years.
Many beautiful functionalities have been added in recent years, making it also a very interesting commercial platform for professionals from different parts of the world to come into contact with each other.
As a salesperson, if you are not active on LinkedIn, you're definitely missing out on 80% of (potential) leads. Writing SEO-friendly content and the use of well-crafted conversion copywriting isn't all that attracts visitors to your website or help sell products. Getting new leads is the oxygen of every company and LinkedIn is one of the best places to find those leads if you know how to look.
If you start using LinkedIn effectively, you can generate leads pretty quickly. With more than 500 million professionals on LinkedIn, you can be sure that there is definitely someone in search of your products or the services you offer.
In this article, I am going to share 4 golden steps on how you can generate more leads with LinkedIn. The best part is that you do not need a sales script or topnotch professional sales skills to do it. You also do not need tickets to the latest networking events.
It simply requires an interest in other people and you must also be willing to invest time as well as have a LinkedIn Sales Navigator account. These strategies ensure that you initiate conversations in a personal way that should ultimately lead to new customers.
Before you read these tips, it is important that you understand that they only work with a good professional LinkedIn profile. If you do not have this, then it's all counterproductive. So please, make sure your profile exudes professionalism and also tells the story of what you do and how good you are in your field.
Your profile is perhaps the most important part of your LinkedIn strategy. Did you know that your LinkedIn profile is often one of the first search results in Google when someone searches for your name?
Here are some tips on how to set up a neat and professional LinkedIn profile:
LinkedIn banner: this part is often forgotten, with a good banner you can show your authority and expertise.
Profile photo: make sure your profile photo is professional, yet fun and portrays you in a warm light. A photo that is too serious may scare people away.
Name: this naturally speaks for itself. No nicknames or street names, just your real name.
Header: you have 120 characters for your header. Within these 120 characters, it is important to clearly communicate a number of things:
The company where you work
The product or service that you offer
The value that you add
Optional: the perfect customer if you work with specific customers. For example dentists or lawyers.
Optional: if you have won important awards, your headline is a good place to show it.
Contact details: here you can adjust a number of things.
Your profile URL
Your business address
Your business telephone number
Your birthday - if you fill this in, you are sure that your connections will see you visit at least once a year.
Summary: if there is a part that you really want to spend time and attention on, it is the summary. Within the summary, you have 2,000 characters at your disposal to convey your message. Write your summary in story form, so that you can build a bond with the reader.
Now that you're done setting up your LinkedIn account, let's get back to the lead generation strategies. The lead generation strategy has 3 parts:
Finding your ideal customer
Get in touch with your ideal customer
Keep in mind your ideal customer
Make use of the content search option
So why LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is very popular right now and is exploding! And it keeps getting better. It has been developed into more than just a platform where you can set up an "online CV." Nowadays, it is a social platform for bringing professionals into contact with each other.
LinkedIn has more than 500 million users and this number continues to grow. With such numbers, it makes sense that it offers a huge range of possibilities for every company offering a product or service to other companies.
In addition, it gives you a platform to get in direct contact with decision-making professionals from companies all over the world. Why wait for a secretary to connect you with their boss when you can have direct contact with the boss yourself?
It's pretty clear that there is a lot of potential in this platform, but how do you use it to get leads? To make that clear, we first start with an example of how it should not be done.
Have you ever received a message from a stranger in your LinkedIn inbox with a sales script that looks like something a robot wrote? A message that is so impersonal and only points to the sender trying to sell you something.
It is important to realize that people love doing business with people, and often this is at least partly (or fully) based on emotion. This principle is precisely the reason why impersonal messages about a brilliant solution or offering your services do not work, or only to a very limited extent.
Build a Relationship with Genuine Interest
In this way, a sales conversation does not have to start any differently than a normal conversation. It is simply a conversation between two professionals with mutual interests speaking to each other.
1. Find Your Ideal Customer: "Who is your ideal customer?"
This is an essential question for every marketing strategy and a question that you should be able to answer in detail for your business. Find out the kind of customer that would be interested in your products and services. It's easier to formulate a strategy on how to approach them when you know who they are and what they want. In some cases, the "customer" you're searching for are company bosses on LinkedIn.
For LinkedIn specifically, you must be able to describe your ideal customer with six questions:
In which industry does your ideal customer work?
Where does this person live (country, city)?
What is his or her job title?
What is his or her seniority within the company?
Is he or she the owner of the company?
Which distinctive keywords could be in the profile?
How many people work at the company?
The next step is to enter the answers to the above questions in the LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Sales Navigator allows you to find a list of people who meet your search criteria. If you are using Sales Navigator for the first time, it is a bit of filling in the right search terms in the search filter in order to find your ideal customer.
2. Get In Touch With Your Ideal Customer
In this part of the strategy, you want to send connection requests and messages to these people. The purpose of this is to send a personal message and make an appointment with those who are open to it. This can be by telephone or maybe getting a cup of coffee in person.
You should NEVER give the impression that you are trying to sell them something at this stage. This scares people off.
When it comes to making connections on LinkedIn, you must not limit yourself to your personal circle of acquaintances, but also seek contact with strangers or accept connection requests from them. Your friends and family may not be the connection you need to grow your business.
Sending a Personal Message with a Connection Request
You can send a connection request in 2 ways: without a personal message and with a personal message. It is important to always attach a short and powerful personal message. After all, you want to build a personal relationship and many people will appreciate the fact that you took the time to type the message.
Connection Request Accepted, What Next?
A small number of these connection requests can easily start a LinkedIn conversation. The purpose of the "LinkedIn conversation" should be to get the conversation off the LinkedIn platform and meet in person for a formal introduction. Don't forget, just a relationship on LinkedIn isn't the goal. The goal is to start a business relationship that will help land leads.
Writing an Introductory Message to the New Connection
Make sure your introductory messages to your new connections are short and simple and not look like you are trying to sell something. After all, they have just accepted your connection request and they still have to be convinced that you can be of value to them.
You introductory messages should always position you as an expert in your industry and you should be able to convince them that you care about their company and whatever you're offering them is for their growth.
3. Keep Your Ideal Customer In Mind
Not everyone you contact will need your product or service the moment they have accepted your connection request. Bear in mind that this can change in the future. If there comes a time when they need the service or product that you have on offer, they will send you a message and you should be ready to offer them exactly what you had promised the first time you connected with them.
How To Publish Posts on LinkedIn
There are 3 ways to publish posts on LinkedIn:
Text with photo
Text with video
Videos can be the best way to bring your message across. If your videos are fun, informative and straight to the point, they could even go viral and that is always good publicity for you and your business. In addition, research shows that videos help companies build their brand 46% faster.
But what do you post on your LinkedIn profile?
You should always post content that positions you as an expert in your field. You can post content with short valuable tips, relevant articles, stories about valuable lessons you have learned and promotional messages. Personal and authentic content in "story form" works very well.
Make sure you don't see LinkedIn as an alternative to Facebook. That you have had coffee with your sister-in-law or that you have just run 5 kilometres is irrelevant. On the other hand, if you can put it in a professional context and use it sell your products and services, then it is okay.
4. Make Use of the "Content" Search Option
A lot of Dutch salespeople don't know about this option because they use the Dutch version of LinkedIn and this is option hidden in the English version. LinkedIn has gotten smarter with its enhanced features that members can see a number of enhancements which includes a new unified search feature and a smarter query intent algorithm that continuously serve up more relevant results. You can find all types of content from LinkedIn members.
It is best to search for updates with words such as:
I'm looking for a ...
I'm looking for ...
who knows a ...
who has experience with ...
are you someone who ...
Then complete with the word that is important to you. In this case, for example: "I am looking for an SEO specialist". Type this in the search bar and just like that ... you get all the answers you're searching for.
Other features of the advanced search option include additional filters that let members search by location, company or even school. The new auto-complete feature prompts a list of search options as members to type their search terms.
Don't Forget: People Prefer Doing Business With People
The core of this strategy is that people want to do business with real people. By having a genuine interest in someone else, you can discover whether your connections are useful to the growth of your company. By also creating valuable content, leads will come to you because LinkedIn professionals will see you as an expert.
So stop making excuses for not having to do it, and go full on the attack on LinkedIn while the organic reach is still so large. Not only can this strategy be used for B2B companies, but also for other purposes. Think of: coming into contact with journalists, potential investors, podcasters and so on.
There is much more to be gained from your personal LinkedIn profile than you would expect. There is a chance that your company isn't seeing this potential. Maybe you just don't know where to start.
Understand that actions speak louder than words and it would help you to put all that you have read here to practice. Generating leads via a personal LinkedIn profile works, you just have to know what to do.
If you have any questions or tips about these steps to generating more leads with LinkedIn, please contact us or let us know in the comment section.