There is no better platform on the planet right now for B2B sales and marketing than LinkedIn.
With 500 million members in 200 countries, and with two new members joining every second, there is no shortage of lead generation opportunity on the world’s largest social media platform for professionals.
However, when it comes to converting all those prospects into paying clients, there’s a specific psychology and strategy you need to follow.
Having spent the past 60 months obsessively studying how to sell B2B-related products and services to connections I come across on LinkedIn, I’ve made plenty of mistakes.
I’ve also (finally!) found a proven strategy that allows me to fill my webinars, sell my online courses and build powerful, lucrative relationships – all from people I meet on LinkedIn.
The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing for Business
LinkedIn = Search Engine for Sales Prospects
Before we dive in, I have to explain the incredible opportunity that LinkedIn holds.
The platform’s goal is to become a “one stop shop” for professionals worldwide, with LinkedIn providing professional training courses, networking groups, industry-specific news stories and thought pieces, user-generated blogs and content, job listings, a freelance marketplace and much more.
Even better, LinkedIn is essentially a search engine for sales prospects. Because it sorts, saves and categorizes every single piece of data its members share on the platform (from job titles, to physical locations, to employers, to schools, to status updates) you can leverage that data to find your ideal prospects on the network.
Here’s what I mean.
Using LinkedIn’s built-in search engine, I can instantly find (and connect to) a list of Business Coaches who live in Chicago and attended Notre Dame for college.
Talk about getting specific in your audience targeting!
You will not find a faster, easier and more effective way online to instantly create customized, targeted lists of your ideal clients and prospects than by using LinkedIn’s advanced search engine.
Now, the hard part is knowing how to quickly build and scale the type of “Know, Like and Trust” relationships that turn strangers into prospects, and prospects into paying clients!
On LinkedIn, Personalized, 1-on-1 Marketing is Key
Once you connect with your ideal clients and prospects on LinkedIn, it is critical that you don’t immediately try to marry them on the first date!
What I mean is, you have to perform a little professional courtship! You have to warm your prospects up. You have to earn the right to ask for their time, attention or money later on.
Try and treat each new connection you make on LinkedIn like a series of virtual coffee meetings, breaking the ice, building a relationship and warming someone up before you ever ask for anything.
Remember, if you’re only connecting with the exact people who you want to buy your product or service, you’re not wasting your time to invest in building an authentic relationship with them.
Best of all, LinkedIn makes this easy to do.
By taking 10 seconds to skim someone’s LinkedIn profile, you can immediately see where he or she lives and works, what school he or she went to, and so on.
Something as simple as, “Hey, I see you live in Minnesota – how do you survive the frigid winters there John?” is a great way to kick off a LinkedIn conversation with me and break the ice. (See what I just did there?)
Now, right off the bat, without even having to speak to someone first, you can mention two or three things in a personalized LinkedIn message that makes the other person feel at ease and curious about who you are and why you’re interested in connecting.
Note: It’s very important that before you go out prospecting on LinkedIn, you have what I call a “client-facing” profile page.
(Free Video Training: How To Create a Killer LinkedIn Profile!)
Meaning, your LinkedIn profile should not read like a résumé written in the third person.
Instead, it should talk about how you help your ideal clients solve their biggest problems via the products or services you provide.
Remember, this entire approach to selling on LinkedIn hinges on putting your audience first and showing how you can help them solve their biggest challenges or problems.
LinkedIn Messaging = Real-Time Conversations
Because LinkedIn has revamped its 1-on-1 messaging system to look and feel like a live chat or text message exchange, it’s easy to “chat up” new connections in a fun and friendly manner.
In fact, LinkedIn has even added an “Active Now” feature that displays a green dot next to a connection who is logged in and using the platform at that very moment, making it even easier to generate real-time, back-and-forth conversations!
The Key = Ask For Permission!
What I like to do after “warming up” a new connection with a bit of personal chatter is send a pre-written script that will point them to a webinar, lead magnet or piece of content I think they’d be interested in.
However, instead of just throwing a link into a message, I first ask if my new connection would be interested in seeing it. I also ask for their feedback on the topic and stress that I’d love to hear their thoughts on it as well.
As an example, here’s the exact script I use when asking a targeted audience (in this case, Business Coaches and Consultants) if they’d like to attend a webinar I’ve put together:
Hi [NAME] – thanks again for connecting with me recently!
Also, thought you might find this helpful.
I work with a ton of Business Coaches and Consultants, and was recently asked to demonstrate how those individuals can use webinars and online presentations to book discovery calls, pre-qualify potential clients and sell their services.
As a result, I put together a free online training that covers the EXACT words, phrases and strategies successful Business Coaches and Consultants use on webinars to generate quality leads, book calls and enrol new clients.
If you’d like, I can send you a link to the free training, and if it’s not something you’re interested in, no worries at all.
Either way, I’d be curious to hear what’s working BEST for you right now in terms of lead generation and finding quality clients.
See what I’m doing with this LinkedIn message?
First, I’m targeting it to a specific audience – Business Coaches and Consultants.
Second, I’m explaining how the piece of content (in this case, a webinar) is about helping them achieve their goals (finding more leads, clients, etc.)
Third, I’m asking permission to see if they’d like the link, rather than just assuming they will and including it.
Finally, I’m asking for their feedback on the topic (lead generation) to spark a conversation and gather data on what is (or is not) working for this audience.
Once people reply and say “Yes” to my note, I send a simple follow up script that says:
Here’s the link – [INSERT URL]
Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the training!
And off we go!
LinkedIn = Land of Digital Opportunity
There’s much more to the story, of course.
But, if to this point you’ve only looked at LinkedIn as a boring, sleepy social network that’s mostly used by job seekers and HR professionals, you’re missing an immense opportunity!
In my experience, there is no faster way to build your brand, generate quality leads and build your business online (assuming you have a B2B focus or want to reach specific types of professionals).
(Note: I cover all of this in more detail on my free LinkedIn training webinars.)
Either way, make sure you’re taking this type of approach with your connections on LinkedIn.
And remember, if you target the right prospects using LinkedIn search, then it’s not a waste of your time to engage them in quick, personal and friendly 1-on-1 conversations on the platform.
Plus, if you follow the steps I’ve outlined in this post, you’ll find yourself booking more calls and closing more deals as a result!
Guest Author: As an author, speaker, 1-on-1 business coach and consultant, John Nemo helps individuals, organizations and businesses boost their brand, generate sales leads and increase revenue. John is also the author of seven books, including LinkedIn Riches: How to Use LinkedIn For Sales and Marketing!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are the author’s and have been edited in accordance with our strict editorial guidelines.