If you want to generate a consistent stream of leads, then you need to be on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is home to more than 600million professionals and 40million of these professionals are decision-makers. That’s 40million prospects that make buying decisions that you can reach directly in their mailbox.
It took me some time to figure out the massive importance of LinkedIn. I used to believe it was merely a platform to post resumes and get the attention of recruiters until I discovered that 80% of B2B marketing leads generated on social media is on LinkedIn.
I have changed my approach since then and the results have been astonishing. My profile views have gone up by more than a 1000%, I get new connections daily and my InMail messages get a 20% response rate.
As a salesperson or a marketer looking to thrive on LinkedIn, I am here to show you a step by step process that will help you grow your connections on LinkedIn and generate more leads.
Step 1: Create A Profile That Sells
The first step you need to take is to optimize your profile. Your profile is of utmost importance because it is how the people you reach out to will define who you are.
Just put yourself in the shoes of a prospect, when you receive a connection request, the first thing you will do is to check the profile of the person reaching out to you.
If you find a professional profile with a formal photograph, a catchy headline that piques your interest, and a summary that shows that this individual has skills and experience that can be useful to me, then you will be eager to connect.
Alternatively, if you find a beach selfie, a generic headline, and a summary that contains a single incoherent statement, you are more likely to ignore the request.
It is quite straightforward, no prospect will be interested in engaging with you if you don’t have a profile that sells.
There are many parts to an all-star LinkedIn profile and I will touch on each of them.
Your name and a professional headshot: Your name is a given so there is no need to dwell on that. Just make sure you don’t include your snazzy nicknames.
Your headshot or your profile picture should be a formal photograph taken by a professional. There must not be any distractions in the background and the focus must be solely on your face and the upper part of your body.
Your professional headline: You must take the time to craft a catchy and creative professional headline that will show prospects in a few words how you can be of help to them.
Your Bio or your Summary: This is arguably the most important part of your profile and it is the first thing a prospect will look at after visiting your profile page. Your summary section is where you hook a prospect to connect with you since it is where your prospect will try to learn more about you.
You should use those valuable 2000characters to introduce yourself, describe your relevant experience, and brag about your accomplishments. You should also outline the services you provide and briefly explain how these services will be of benefit to your prospect.
Completing your profile: Your profile image, headline, and your summary may be the most important parts of your profile, but the other sections are also very important.
These parts are where your prospect will ascertain if your claims are legitimate or not. There are some other creative hacks you can use to boost your profile but I will just give you an overview in this article.
Step 2: Identify Your Prospects And Connect With Them
Sales prospecting means you sift through profiles on LinkedIn and you narrow down the category of individuals that are most likely to be interested in your products and become paying customers.
If you will start generating leads consistently, you will need to become an expert at identifying prospective leads and connecting with them.
Who are your prospects?
One of the many things that makes LinkedIn a great platform for generating leads is that you can narrow down your target customers with LinkedIn’s Advanced Search.
You can search for prospects by keywords, company type, geographical location, seniority level, the LinkedIn groups they belong to, and much more.
This enables you to find the ideal prospects to connect with, provided you already know the ideal profile for your perfect customer.
When you have the profile of your perfect customer figured out, LinkedIn’s Advanced Search will find the relevant prospects for you.
Then create a list of your prospects and start reaching out to them.
Start connecting with the prospects on your list:
This will take a lot of time and effort but nobody said generating leads is easy work.
You will need to send simple and personalized connection requests to each prospect, and you must not use the generic LinkedIn connection request template.
When you address a prospect personally, you show that you have taken the time to know the prospect, you give the prospect a reason to connect with you, and you will drastically increase your chances of success.
A well-crafted connection request helps you stand out and it gets the prospect interested in you.
Also, after the prospect connects, you should invest the time to thank your prospect for connecting and you could also use that opportunity to start a conversation with your new connection.
Build on your initial connections: You should spend some time daily to go through the ‘people you may know’ suggestions on LinkedIn. It can become a goldmine for finding new prospects since LinkedIn curates these lists based on the profiles of your existing connections.
Also, don’t neglect the ‘people also viewed’ section at the bottom of the profile of your new connections. These are often the people that are already connected to your captured prospect and you can find new prospects that fit your idea of a perfect customer.
Join LinkedIn Groups: LinkedIn Groups are communities of people that share similar interests, professions, industries, and more. When you join these groups, and you are active, you will be able to project yourself as a thought leader in your niche.
If you join the right LinkedIn groups and you share valuable insights, respond to questions with actionable answers, and initiate discussions that will give you the visibility you seek on these groups, people who start to see you as an authority and they will seek you out to connect with you.
Step 3: Engage With Your Prospects
If you have successfully implemented the first two steps, then the next step is to engage with your prospects.
Generating leads on LinkedIn is a form of social selling and it entails creating helpful and interesting content that your audience will like and share, liking and commenting on relevant content that will be reflected on your feed, and using all of that to get a prospect interested in you.
When someone connects with you it is your well-crafted profile that did the magic, but it is your content that will convert them into paying customers.
Create content that resonates with your audience: The fact that you publish posts regularly will be irrelevant if the content you publish is of no benefit to your audience.
To get leads, you need to focus on publishing lead-generating content. You have already figured out your ideal customer and you know the pain points of your customer, then publish actionable content that will help your audience to resolve those pain points.
Post regular updates: When you post actionable content regularly, you give the impression that you are someone that can be relied upon and your name and your brand will become familiar to your audience.
You should post content like How-To guides, industry news, and webinars regularly. You should also share links to relevant articles and videos by other authorities in your niche.
You must include a call-to-action in your updates but you must never treat an update as an advert. Don’t sell your goods or services when you post updates. The object of your updates is to show proof of your expertise and share valuable content that is beneficial to your audience.
Don’t ignore occasions to celebrate: Everyone loves to be celebrated and acknowledged. And when you consistently congratulate your connections during important events in their lives, you create an emotive connection in the subconscious of your prospect.
Your congratulatory message should be personalized and you should avoid using automated congratulatory messages. When you take the time to get personal, you will stand out, and this will further entrench your identity in the consciousness of your prospect.
Convert your prospects into leads: A lead is someone who knows you well enough to be interested in your products and services. A lead is no longer curious about your brand and the legitimacy of the quality of your product and services.
If you have gone through the steps outlined above, then your prospect will be ready to become a lead.
A lead will already be familiar with your identity due to the regular helpful content you post, be convinced about the quality of your products and services due to your extensive How-To articles, and be ready to get in touch with you to make inquiries and become a paying customer.
A good way to reach out to prospects on the verge of becoming leads is to send an InMail message. With a premium LinkedIn account, you can send a message to anyone on LinkedIn even though such an individual is not a connection.
You must follow the best practices for sending InMail messages and send personalized messages that show you took the time to address the specific needs of your lead.
Step 4: Keep It Up
If you will continue to generate leads on LinkedIn, then you need to be consistent in implementing the strategies outlined above.
You must update your profile regularly to reflect new accomplishments and the evolution of your services, continue to build your connections, and post regular content updates.