Business group networking

LinkedIn networking and prospecting

LinkedIn networking and prospecting.


Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has grown to become the world's largest professional network with more than 562 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. The platform helps professionals of many types, but it holds special value for those in sales. LinkedIn can be a fantastic tool for networking and prospecting when you use it in a way that’s strategic. Here are some tips to up your LinkedIn prospecting game.

Optimize your own LinkedIn profile.

You know what flight attendants say during the safety speech: Put your own oxygen mask on first, then help others. In the same way, make sure your own profile is top-notch, so you make a great first impression on prospects.

Most of us treat our LinkedIn profiles like resumes. And if you’re a job seeker, that’s smart approach. But for B2B sales prospecting, your audience is different. Make your profile client-facing. Revise your headline and your summary with a prospect in mind. Include keywords a buyer might search for. Include who you serve, what you do and how you do it.

When you write a client-facing profile, consider what prospects will see and how they’ll react when you initially contact them on LinkedIn. A client-facing profile can increase the odds of a prospect responding to your connection.

Intentionally pinpoint your ideal prospects.

LinkedIn has robust search functions, and even more so when you have a premium account. Use LinkedIn’s search capabilities to the fullest by pinpointing your ideal prospects. Especially as LinkedIn’s algorithm evolves, specific search terms matter.

Knowing exactly who you’re targeting gets your foot in the door more quickly. Do you need to get the CMO’s attention? Or is the right gatekeeper a “director of sales” or “sales manager”? Focused search terms are more likely to deliver ideal contacts, saving you time and delivering better results.

LinkedIn is personal. Your pitches should be too.

If you met a prospect at a trade show or while networking, what would you say? You’d probably shake hands, ask questions, introduce yourself warmly and learn about your new friend. You wouldn’t give a robotic, canned sales pitch, or try to book a meeting on the spot. Too abrasive.

The same goes for LinkedIn. Unsolicited, automated pitches tend to seem spammy.

So skip the canned pitch and go for a genuine connection. More work? Yes. But you’re more likely to win the sale down the line when you build real relationships. Take the time to personalize the invite, so you’re more likely to stand out among all the rest.

Put tools to work for you.

From LinkedIn’s own suite to third-party apps and integrations, there are plenty of tools to help you make the most of the platform. Spend time researching apps that can help you accomplish your prospecting goals.

Want to streamline the process of making new connections? The LinkedIn Sales Navigator can help streamline prospecting, pinpoint the right leads and then connect efficiently. And don’t forget to integrate LinkedIn with your CRM. Many major CRMs have this capability.

Curious about the people you’re connecting with? Third party apps can help you qualify those leads in record time. Extensions and plugins like Whoisvisiting.com, Discovery.ly, Crystal, Attach.Io and Name2Email can streamline your recon work, telling you about your prospect’s digital presence on other sites too.

Some of these tools come with a pricetag. So do the homework before making a purchase.

Your warmest leads are closer than you think.

When prospecting, many of us naturally think about connecting with new people outside our networks who we haven’t met. But with LinkedIn,a you have a full list of warm leads right at your fingertips! Don’t ignore these valuable first connections.

When someone reaches out to connect with you, roll out the digital welcome mat. Greet them with a kind message and take a cue from their initiation.

Stay top of mind with your current network by engaging with intention. Comment on their posts. Share articles that may be of interest to them. LinkedIn gives you handy prompts too, alerting you when a connection has a work milestone or gets a promotion. Perfect moment to congratulate them and reconnect.