A Step By Step Guide to Prospecting on LinkedIn

Corinne Thomas

Corinne Thomas

Founder & Managing Director

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Want to grow networks and win business on LinkedIn without paying for ads or likes?

In our FREE guide to LinkedIn prospecting you’ll learn how to create a stand-out profile, post meaningful content, create valuable networks and win more business with the right client or customer who aligns with your business mission.

Download the 14 page step-by-step free guide here, or keep reading for an executive summary of the tactics we’ve put together for using LinkedIn to its full potential. The really great thing? You don’t even need a premium account!

Build Visibility & Nail Your Personal LinkedIn Profile

In order to starts sales prospecting via LinkedIn, you need to nail the basics with an excellent profile. Think of your LinkedIn account as your shop window to prospective clients – it needs to set out your years of experience, your mission and your values.

Start by focussing on:

  • Having a suitable headshot (the circle image). A professional, friendly headshot is absolutely essential, preferably taken by a pro photographer.
  • Designing a banner image that represents your business mission or purpose –Canva is an easy way to design something bespoke.
  • Creating an eye-catching profile headline. This doesn’t have to be the same as your current role title – in the guide we share some creative examples. Consider using keywords that represent your specialism or expertise.
  • Writing detailed about and experience sections, drawing out key achievements and results.
  • Getting recommendations and endorsements from colleagues, clients or trusted partners.

Remember that your profile is the first thing people will see when they look you up on LinkedIn, so take your time to craft an authentic one that tells your story and shows your strengths. Once you’ve created the right profile to showcase your talents, LinkedIn can start positioning it in front of the right audience.

Corinne Thomas, LinkedIn Profile Page and Headline

Social Selling Ideas and Engagement Tips & Tricks

Sorted your profile? Now it’s now time to start making connections! LinkedIn actively encourages users to keep adding new connections to their professional network.

When you’re starting out, use your personal address book, including friends, colleagues and clients. Then you can start your strategy to leverage new connections – more on that below. Remember: the more connections, the greater the reach you’ll have on LinkedIn.

Like other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you get the best from LinkedIn when you create fresh, regular content for your connections to engage with.

The good news is that there are lots of ways to post content, from text and photos to videos and long-form articles. In our guide we’ve ranked these from the highest to the lowest organic reach potential, so you know which type of posts have a better chance of being seen by your connections and followers thanks to the ever-changing LinkedIn algorithm. You can also experiment with your posts you can see what works best for your audience. We recommend you start by posting two to five times a week.

And, of course, don’t just post and ghost! It’s vital you respond to comments on your posts – if someone has taken the time to read and engage they deserve a reply. You also need to meaningfully engage with other LinkedIn users’ posts. This builds your community, gets you seen by other users and creates connections.

The ultimate goal here is to start developing a relationship with your audience that’s based on trust, credibility and a belief in what you have to offer.

what is social selling?

Connecting With New Prospects

Once you’ve created an amazing personal profile and are comfortable with posting and engaging, it’s time to start working on lead generation by reaching out to your ideal prospect and potential buyers.

First, you need to decide what audience it is that you want to connect with, and what’s your ultimate sales goal. Then you can start looking through LinkedIn to find potential connections who fit your agreed criteria. (Don’t forget to keep a list of your research – a simple Google or Excel spreadsheet will be fine.)

Once you’ve found your prospects, this is the point where it’s time to reach out to them. But how can you do this without being spammy or intrusive? There are a number of approaches that you can employ, including:

  • Engage and connect: follow someone and start engaging with their content, in order to become a familiar face to them. That way they’re more likely to respond to a friendly connection request.
  • Send direct LinkedIn messages asking to connect. Remember, however, that you need to have a genuine reason for connecting (such as admiring a piece of work they’ve recently done) and this is definitely NOT a sales pitch. And make it a short message! No-one wants a blog post in their inbox.

Over time, you’ll start to build genuine relationships with some of your connections, and opportunities will arise for business with them. You’ll know then when it’s the right time to ask for a meeting, discovery call or to pitch them something.

And the best part of social selling? People already feel like they know you, and because you’ve been providing them with useful content, they’re more likely to be interested in what you can offer. It’s not cold outreach any more, because you’ve taken the time to become a familiar face and engage with them and their business.

Of course, there will be rejection, so be prepared for this and don’t take it personally. But you may be surprised by how many affirmatives you get if you’ve put in the groundwork of building relationships and trust in the first place.

What are your LinkedIn challenges?

Using LinkedIn: Top Five Recommendations to Grow Your Networks & Win Business

  1. Join relevant LinkedIn groups. You can then direct message anyone in that group even if they’re not a connection yet – just make sure you’re offering something appropriate and of value in that message and refer to the group you’re both members of.
  2. Use your existing networks to get to a second or third base connection for a friendly/warmer introduction.
  3. Always send a friendly welcome message to new connections who ask to connect with you or vice versa within a day of connecting.
  4. Spend a consistent amount of time on LinkedIn with purpose. Around 30 minutes a day is fine but focus on engagement in that time.
  5. Experiment with posts and approaches. Be creative and take note of what works and what got tumbleweed!

Sound good? Download the guide and you’ll find five more fantastic tips.

Download the free guide

We hope this blog post has whetted your appetite for using this fantastic social network to its full potential. For even more advice, tips and tricks for LinkedIn, you can download the full guide.

And if you need any advice on sales strategy for your purpose-driven business, contact us for an informal chat about how we can help.

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