Gone are the days when you would have to physically chase your sales prospects in order to get your brand noticed. Thanks to the growth and development of technology and social media, we can now not only always stay connected with our friends and family, but with our professional contacts as well. One of the many ways to keep yourself updated with the happenings of the professional world is, of course, through LinkedIn.
The outbound sellers of today don’t have to rely on just cold calling to cross a prospect off their list. If you know the right ways, engaging prospects on LinkedIn can not just be easy, but also effective. It all depends on how you approach them, craft that perfect message, and take the conversation forward from that point. Let us now take a look at the things to remember before engaging a prospect on LinkedIn, and the right way to do so.
Ways to Use LinkedIn to Engage Your Prospects
A study from International Data Corporation (IDC) also reported that social media is used by 84% of the vice president level executives and 75% of the B2B buyers while making decisions in relation to purchases. As far as sales prospecting and business networking is concerned, there really is no better place than LinkedIn.
With more than 675 million members from all over the world, it’s not a surprise that it’s the perfect social platform to engage your prospects and send prospecting messages. Regardless of whether you’re a small business that’s just starting out, or an established name in your field, LinkedIn serves as a great tool for sales prospecting and revenue generation. Sales prospecting as a process becomes much smoother, quicker, and more profitable when you employ the power of LinkedIn.
In addition to helping with generating leads, it also aids in conducting business development in a cost-efficient manner. Therefore, if you want to know how to pitch on LinkedIn or use it for prospect research, here are a few crucial tips to keep in mind:
- Write a Solid LinkedIn Summary
Before approaching your LinkedIn connections with the hope of turning them into customers, you need to make sure that your LinkedIn summary is substantial. Your potential customers want proof of the fact that you understand their problems and can help them achieve a solution. Make them confident regarding your skills and expertise, showing them that you know what you’re talking about.
Begin your LinkedIn summary with a simple statement that talks about what you do. After that, proceed by giving details in relation to your previous work experiences, and how those experiences are valuable to your clients. Don’t forget to include a solid call-to-action at the end of your LinkedIn summary. This can be in the form of an email address where your prospects can email you, a phone number on which they can call you up, or a link to your website through which they can book a free consulting session.
- Share Valuable Content
Sharing content on LinkedIn is one of the quickest ways of getting your prospects to notice you. Not only is it important to share content pertaining to the field you belong to, but also content that will establish your expertise in the given field. For example, you could talk about the past trends in the arena you sell in, the future trends one can expect to see, a case study your company has worked on, etc.
By sharing such relevant and valuable content, your readers will be able to realize the fact that your knowledge and research is indeed strong and trustworthy. It’s best to share blogs and articles every now and then so as to maintain a level of consistency that makes the prospects look forward to the content you put out.
- Learn About Your Prospects
Knowing about your prospects is pretty much the first rule of engaging with them anywhere, especially on LinkedIn. If you don’t know about them, you won’t be able to draft your social selling message in a competent manner. Therefore, the initial step to learning more about them is to go through their LinkedIn profile. See where their schooling took place, read up about their professional achievements, dig into the events that shaped their life, and so on.
When you know enough about them, you can not only approach them confidently, but also engage in an enlightening conversation, bringing up things from their career that will show them that you have done your research well. Being clueless about your prospects is a sin you most definitely don’t want to commit. Also, while reading about your prospect, see if you can find a common ground between you and your prospects. Perhaps you live in the same area, went to the same university, or happen to belong to similar groups. Explore these similarities in the messages as well.
- Look for Some Common Ground
This tip is a continuation of the last point, and one that you should remember from the word go. If you share common connections, interests, or backgrounds, it automatically becomes easier to approach them and start up a conversation. Try to see if you have mutual connections; you can do this when you’re looking for the prospect for the first time on LinkedIn.
The mutual connections bit will show if you have common names in between, and if in case you do, you can also ask the mutual connection to introduce you to your prospect. This can be done by something as simple as a group message, and from there you can then send a personal message to your prospect and take the conversation forward.
- Craft the Perfect Message
Crafting the perfect message is the key to getting your prospect’s attention. There are a couple of things to keep in mind in this regard. Firstly, don’t write a very lengthy introductory message. No one has the time to read a 1000-word long message where you talk about yourself and your company. Instead, keep it short and sweet and just give them a brief introduction of your background and what your company is all about.
Secondly, automated messages are an absolute no-no while approaching a prospect on LinkedIn. Personalize your message and tailor your topics of conversation in a manner such that they match the interests of that of your prospect. Make sure to reference to things such as their business, industry, products, work history, and so on. They should know that you aren’t just sending them automated messages, but actually making an effort to talk to them and engage in a meaningful exchange.
- Ask Insightful Questions
Social selling doesn’t mean talking just about yourself or your brand. In fact, effective social selling entails the opposite, which is asking more about your prospects and getting to know them better. The LinkedIn summary of your prospect can only give you information on the surface level. In order to learn more about them, ask them questions.
This can be in relation to how they started out in the field, what their most memorable experiences are, what they wish to accomplish in the future, and the like. Take genuine interest in their work history, so that they feel encouraged to open up and talk to you, and then proceed to use that information to your benefit.
- Wait to Get to the Sales Part
It’s crucial to remember that while gaining more customers and increasing your sales in one of the main goals, you can’t push your products on a prospect from the very first conversation. If you begin to talk about your brand in the introductory message or soon after, it not only makes you look desperate and a tad bit unprofessional, but also gives the impression that your company is failing at making its brand name shine, and is therefore having to push its name so aggressively.
That’s definitely not the kind of impression you want to give to anyone, right? Therefore, keep some gap between making the initial introductions and actually getting to the part where you try to pitch your products and see if they’re interested in it.
- Provide a Reason to Receive a Reply
When a prospect receives a message from a stranger, they’re either reluctant to open the message too soon, or don’t intend on reading it immediately after receiving them. Therefore, be sure to give them an incentive to not only see your message, but also reply to it. For this, you can either ask them questions about their personal growth in the professional world, or even something related to their unique position, that will allow you to learn more about how things function at their company.
Several professionals have LinkedIn profiles these days, but the successful ones are those that know how to use it right and engage with their prospects. Researching about a prospect’s background and previous professional experiences is just as important as crafting the perfect message that will get them to notice you.
In addition to chasing them in a subtle manner, it’s also crucial to follow up and let them know that you’re serious as a company, thereby giving them more reasons to look you up and invest their time and money in you. Therefore, employ these simple and efficient tips, and engage your prospects till they turn into full-fledged customers.