Anything & Everything About LinkedIn Prospecting

Your guide to prospecting on the largest social network for selling.
LinkedIn Prospecting article cover photo
There's a reason why the term "sales process" is incredibly common. It's because sales takes time and several steps to do well. Especially in B2B sales.

Sales, like most practices, takes discipline. Just like when you're working out.

There are strategies and processes to follow designed to yield the best results. It's important to not skip any steps so you're fully prepared and ready to act once your prospect is ready to buy.

The first step in this process is prospecting. Without prospects you don't have leads, without leads, you don't have sales. And without sales, you don't have revenue.

Prospecting is vital to any sales professional, sales team, and business through and through.

That's why all SDRs and BDRs should prospect on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn contains millions of business professionals who are looking for what you're selling.

So why would you not prospect on LinkedIn?

In this article, we will go through the ins and outs of prospecting on LinkedIn.

By the time you finish reading, you will not only understand its importance but also know how to prospect on LinkedIn like a champion.

What Is LinkedIn Prospecting?

With the digital world being a formidable avenue for sales compared to phones or outside sales, prospecting has finally moved online. And one of the best places to do this is on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn as a social network was created with the purpose of creating business connections. You can use it to network within your field, network for fields you want to move to, and ensure you are a viable candidate for open positions.

Another thing you can do on LinkedIn is prospecting for sales.

LinkedIn prospecting is a form of prospecting that aids you in finding your ideal customers on the platform while developing genuine relationships with them. More similar to social selling, you position yourself as an expert in your field and share content related to your experiences. You connect with prospects and form relationships with them.

With more than 830 million active users, LinkedIn provides ample opportunity to find the right prospects. Your competition is also prospecting on LinkedIn. This means you must take all of the necessary steps to ensure you're taking full advantage of all the platform has to offer.

So let's take a look at how to prospect using LinkedIn to achieve the best results.

How to Use LinkedIn for Prospecting

There are many ways to use LinkedIn for sales prospecting. Part of being a good salesperson is knowing what works best for you and feeling comfortable in those roles. We tend to find more success when we engage in practices that work and feel right for us when doing them.

Let's start with one of the lesser talked-about ways of prospecting on LinkedIn. Remember, you always want to make sure you are standing out, and a great way to do this is to pick the road less traveled.

LinkedIn's Alumni Search Tool

LinkedIn has an easy-to-use search bar that is excellent for finding who and what you need. The only issue is, most people default to using it as their only method of searching on LinkedIn.

With LinkedIn's Alumni Search Tool, you can turn a cold contact into a warm one by searching for someone who went to the same school as you did.

Lots of people have plenty of school pride and welcome a conversation about the "glory days" of college. It's even better if they get to do business with fellow alumni.

Search Users Who Have Interacted With Your Posts

The reason why this is such a good way to search for prospects is that the prospects are essentially inviting you to connect. If they like what you had to say just from a post, it's fair to assume they'll not only accept your connection request but like what it is you want to discuss.

It's easy to be a passive observer on social media. You can read and scroll without ever hitting a like or making a comment.

When someone takes the extra step to engage with your post, the "cold call" you were about to make is now officially warm.

It can be a bit hard if you're shy, but it gets a lot easier to both create valuable content and interact with others once you find your niche and your specialty. Just tell your story and don't be afraid to be vulnerable.

Don't Ignore the Notifications Tab

Timing is everything in sales. A great time to search for a new prospect is when they make a career move. Click on the "notifications" tab and look for updates on people getting new jobs or promotions in their current ones.

These people are more likely to want to make a splash in their new role or company. A good thing to know about this is that you can be a big part of that splash. You can be the one to bring it to them if you know what you're looking for and what they might need.

And what they might need is your product or service.

Seeing people's job changes isn't the only way to tap into the notifications tab on LinkedIn.

You can also see who might be celebrating a birthday or work anniversary and check in that way.

The notifications tab gives you more opportunities to interact with prospects through such instances.

The more interactions you have with a prospect, the more likely they are to be comfortable with your name and face.

Who's Interacting With Your Prospects?

Just as it's important to pay attention to who's interacting with you and your posts, you should also keep track of who is commenting on and liking your prospect's posts as well.

There's a good chance that anyone who is following your prospect and liking what they have to say could be a good fit for your business as well. They're certainly interested in the same things you are and they're active users on LinkedIn. It's a good idea to pay attention to them.

As it happens, they themselves can become your prospects, too.
How to use LinkedIn for prospecting infographic

Is There a Best Way to Prospect on LinkedIn?

Having covered how to prospect with LinkedIn, is there a single best way to prospect on LinkedIn?

Unlikely.

The best way to prospect on LinkedIn depends on a combination of what you're comfortable with and effective at doing.

But there are basic steps you can follow that provide a great starting point

First Impressions

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

On LinkedIn, that means your profile. Make sure your profile is professional, clean, and easy to navigate. That whatever you want your prospects to associate with you - from your job title to your specialties to your company - is front and center.

Once you identify your prospect on LinkedIn, you're going to want to act.

So have that profile dressed up and ready to go.

It's All About Who You Know

LinkedIn is literally about connections, about linking with others.

It's a good idea to connect with as many people as you can, be they colleagues, co-workers, or people you meet at conferences, so you get to see their connections as well. It's a numbers game and the more people you're connected to, the more people you can see and can see you.

These new connections can very well be new prospects in the future.

Research Your Prospects

Always know who you are talking to and why.

You want to stand out from the crowd because the crowd has tried to connect with the same prospect you're targeting many, many times. Give them a clear reason to see and connect with you as opposed to the others.

Learn as much as you can about the person you're interested in connecting with and find several icebreakers to start a conversation. Talk about their work, a paper or article they've written, or something else that's important to them.

It will go a long way in opening the door for you.
Best way to prospect on LinkedIn infographic

LinkedIn Prospecting Messages Examples

Statistics are great, but sometimes a real-world example can really show you how and why something works. We can read all the articles and descriptions we want, and we should, but a visual example can never hurt.


When we see things the way they're meant to be it can often give us the inspiration and encouragement to do the same. Here is an example of a great LinkedIn prospecting message.
What makes it so good is Sean's approach: it's short, to the point, and professional, with some personality so as to not be stale or boring.

He was thankful and found common ground by mentioning a shared connection from a previous conversation. This creates credibility and serves as an invitation for Tiffany to comment on, as he asks her to tell him about any challenges she may face. It provides a starting point for him to suggest solutions.

It showcases how LinkedIn prospecting messages can go a long way in creating a sale. These messages are themselves a type of cold outreach, and LinkedIn is a great place for this as it's strictly designed for business people to interact with each other. This makes your cold outreach somewhat warmer than it would be via other methods such as email or calls.

Although you want to be working within the bounds of your comfortability and your own creativity, you will find that the best LinkedIn messages to prospects do share many of the same attributes.

While there is no exhaustive list of these attributes, as they may vary according to industry and specificity of approach, looking at examples will provide you with a general idea. Brevity, politeness, and connection via personalization are great starting points.

Here's another example of a great cold message, this time from personal experience.

I was talking to my wife one morning about an individual she read about who has a company in the medical-psychology field. Her company gives talks and offers courses to corporations and schools.

During the conversation with my wife, I realized the woman she was telling me about had a very similar background to mine. It seemed like we also shared many of the same views on work and life in general. I decided to look her up on LinkedIn and found out that I was right - so I decided to reach out.

After referencing a piece she had written as the introduction to my cold message, and a little bit about how we're similar, I wrote the following:

"I've had the mindset you're talking about for a long time now and it's refreshing to see that someone like you is out there teaching it!!"

The response I received from her said:

Hi Rob,

Thank you for connecting with me via LI and for your words- they mean more than you know :)

I was so very amazed by your story, it really mirrored mine- even down to being in sales and selling air-time…

I feel so very honored to be able to bring this message to younger children…

I just read a couple of your Medium articles- outstanding!

It's a good example of how an effective cold message and reply can be.

As you might imagine, we continued our conversation over time, had a few calls and meetings, and are now working together on several projects which are mutually beneficial.

This is all because I saw a commonality and crafted a cold message that was able to get her attention in a way that praised her work and let her know I appreciated what she's doing.

Had I done this through a cold email or anywhere other than LinkedIn, I'm not sure it would have been quite as effective. I kept my message simple and didn't ask for anything in return other than connecting.

Here's the thing, we're all looking for ways to find more opportunities, more prospects, and ultimately, more sales. Knowing how to navigate the place where most digital interactions are happening in the business world, LinkedIn, is a skill you simply cannot afford to fail at.

Conclusion

Business can be a cluttered and busy landscape at times. It can be tough to navigate and easy to get lost in the constant shuffle of people trying to connect and sell.

Here, we've looked at how to better your chances of cutting through that clutter and rising above the noise on social media. The fact is, people need other people to do business with. You can make sure you're one of those people in the mix by utilizing the best LinkedIn prospecting techniques.

The more value you create in your LinkedIn prospecting messages and your overall usage of the platform, the better off you will be. You'll connect with and find the prospects to turn into customers to sustain your business.

Are you interested in using LinkedIn to supercharge your sales funnel? Fill out this form and we'll connect with you shortly.
Post by Rob Janicke.
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