LinkedIn is one of the most valuable tools that salespeople can use to connect with potential customers and grow their network. However, many salespeople make the mistake of misusing this platform in their prospecting efforts, leading to missed opportunities and wasted time. In this sales training article, we discuss some of the best practices for using LinkedIn as an effective prospecting tool that will help you achieve better results.
Create a professional LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile is the first impression you give to potential customers. It should be professional, informative and attractive. Make sure your profile talks about how you help your customers achieve a better future, the challenges you help solve, and the outcomes you help them achieve. Use keywords that your target audience would search for to optimise your profile for search engines.
Avoid sending generic connection requests
One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make on LinkedIn is sending generic connection requests without providing any value to the recipient. When you click connect without personalising the message, it shows that you’re not willing to put in the effort needed to build a connection. Instead, create a personalised connection request message that explains why you want to connect and the value that the recipient would gain from accepting your request.
Invest in LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a powerful tool that can help you target your prospects more effectively. It provides advanced search options that allow you to refine your search based on specific criteria such as industry, location and even job title. You can also save your searches for future reference and get real-time insights and notifications on your prospects’ activity.
Quality over quantity
The number of LinkedIn connections you have doesn’t matter as much as the quality of those connections. Focus on building connections with people who are interested in what you have to offer and are more likely to engage with you. It’s better to have 100 connections who are interested in your product or service than 1,000 who don’t care.
Engage with your network
Once you’ve connected with potential customers on LinkedIn, it’s important to engage with them regularly. This can be done by commenting on their posts, sharing relevant content, sending personalised messages or even meeting them in person if possible. Engaging with your network helps to build trust and establishes you as an authority in your field.
Refining your opening message
Bad example 1: “Thanks for the connection. I’m looking forward to any possible synergies, and you?”
Bad example 2: “Thanks for your connection. Please follow our company, like our posts and share them.”
Bad example 3: “Thanks for your connection. Our company specialises in temporary and permanent staff. We look forward to doing business with you in the future.”
Bad example 4: “Thanks for your connection. Do you have any software needs?”
A better alternative: “Hey (prospect name), I’m a complete stranger, so I’m not going to pretend that I messaged you for any other reason than to see if you have an interest in what we are doing for other sales leaders. With that out of the way, the three biggest challenges we are helping them with are:
1. Getting their salespeople in front of more qualified prospects
2. Creating value at meetings, and avoiding ‘quoting, hoping and discounting’
3. Creating and maintaining strong sales pipelines that are full of qualified opportunities
This approach is different because it’s honest and transparent. It doesn’t try to hide the fact that the sender is a stranger, and it offers value right off the bat. By identifying three common challenges that sales leaders face, the sender can establish credibility and show that they understand the recipient’s pain points. Moreover, by giving the recipient the option to ignore the message, it takes the pressure off and shows that the sender is respectful of their time.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool that can help salespeople achieve their prospecting goals. However, using it effectively requires a certain level of knowledge and effort, acquired through targeted sales training. By creating a professional profile, avoiding generic connection requests, investing in LinkedIn Sales Navigator, focusing on quality over quantity, engaging with your network, and refining your opening message, you can maximise your chances of success.