If you are like most business owners, creating a predictable and consistent way to generate new leads and clients is your top priority.
Of all the digital marketing tactics I have seen and tried to generate business for B2B companies, none has been more effective than lead generation on LinkedIn. Follow the steps in this article to get more consistent results (revenue) from your lead generation efforts.
Directly reaching out to targeted prospects is the fastest, most reliable and effective way to generate leads and clients on LinkedIn.
To be successful at lead generation on LinkedIn, you need to have a well laid out process that includes a specific list of activities you commit to doing consistently.
Research shows that businesses grow five times faster with a written plan. When creating a written plan, you must know what specific lead generation activities you need to implement and why they are essential.
You could do many activities on LinkedIn, but some of them are time-wasters, producing no positive ROI – return on investment or return on impact.
This is why I created my proprietary formula – The LINK Method™ – which can turn LinkedIn into a predictable source of new leads and clients for you.
The LINK Method™ consists of the highest leveraging activities you can do on LinkedIn to generate new clients. It includes five critical steps:
1. Find prospects
2. Make first contact
3. Engage in dialogue
4. Build relationships
5. Move conversation offline
Step 1: Find prospects
There are three highly effective ways to prospect on LinkedIn.
The first is doing a targeted search for prospects using the Advanced Search function.
The second is leveraging your network (current 1st-degree connections) to gain warm introductions.
The third is to visit the Notifications, Activity and Who’s Viewed Your Profile pages, where you can check for new potential prospects daily.
Start by reviewing your Notifications. When people show up in your notifications, they have interacted with your content in some way. This means to some degree, they already know who you are, which will make connecting with them much simpler.
For example, my Notifications page shows someone shared one of my posts, mentioning me.
When I check this person’s profile, I see we are not connected.
If this person’s profile suggests they might be a potential prospect, I can send them a connection request.
Next, check your Activity page. You can quickly get to your Activity page by going to your profile, scrolling down to Articles & activity and clicking See all activity.
As you view your Activity page, look for people who have interacted with your status updates and Publisher posts (those who have reacted,commented on and/or shared them). Specifically look for people you are not connected to.
Next, review your Who’s Viewed My Profile page by going to your home page and clicking the link in the top left corner of the page.
Once on the page, you can see which people you are not connected to and visit their profiles to see if they’d make good prospects. If you find a good match, try to connect with them.
Step 2: Make first contact
After you locate potential prospects, you need to make first contact.
This process starts with your initial connection request. It must be personalized – give people a reason to connect with you. What you put in your connection request message will largely determine your overall success.
Keep in mind most people receive generic connection requests.Because generic messages lack any good explanation for the request, the recipients often ask themselves: “Why is this person trying to connect with me?”
This is why you must send them a personalized message that answers that question – in 300 or fewer characters.
To come up with a well-personalized message, start by viewing the person’s profile to learn what is important to them personallyand/or professionally.
Begin the message with something personal to create an immediate connection. The best scenario is to mention a commonality you share with your prospect.
Step 3: Engage in dialogue
You need to establish rapport and art dialogues with your new connections so you can begin building relationships with them. You do this by following up with a personalized thank-you message. I call this the welcome message.
Think about this. Would you complain about not getting new leads from a networking event if all you did was collect business cards and never follow up with anyone? How do you expect a LinkedIn connection to turn into anything other than a random connection if you never make contact beyond the initial connection request?
You can’t expect business to appear magically just because you created an account and acquired a few connections on LinkedIn – or any other social network, for that matter.
In this message, you want to thank your lead for connecting, start a conversation and request nothing in return.
For example,you may compliment them on something you found in their profile, their business, or something they have recently shared on LinkedIn. If you can find any commonality with them, such as shared experiences, interests or connections, mention that. You can also try asking a question to start a conversation with them.
This is the start of your relationship-building process on LinkedIn. And whatever you do,do NOT ask them for anything in this message. If you do, the possibility of a relationship will be over.
Step 4: Build relationships
The process of building relationships requires multiple interactions with your new connection. After the initial message, send them additional messages to continue the momentum,get to know them better and provide value to them.
Be interested. Ask questions. Add value.
You can start by providing them with a resource they would find valuable or interesting. The content you share could be your own(content creation) or content created by someone else (content curation).
When deciding what content to share in your personalized outreach, you must consider questions such as:
· What are they interested in?
· What is currently important to them?
· What current problems do they face?
Whatever you do, do NOT send anything sales related, or you will destroy the potential for a relationship. And you take the risk of being removed as a connection or flagged as spam.
Step 5: Move conversation offline
Finally, you need to move the conversation and the relationship to the next level – offline. No relationship with a prospect should be kept solely on LinkedIn or any other online platform.
If you’ve established rapport, begun building trust and provided some value to your prospects, many of them will be willing to have an offline conversation with you, be it through a phone call, a video call or even an in-person meeting.
It is during this conversation you will get to know your prospect, understand their challenges and, when appropriate, offer your solution. And it’s offline that you convert a prospect to a client.
Generate more leads with LinkedIn
Done right, The LINK Method™ will provide you with a predictable and consistent stream of new leads and sales.
It shifts the sales dialogue from “What can I sell you?” to “How can I help you?”
This powerful shift in thinking – and prospecting – will help you generate more leads and sales, without the awkwardness of cold calls or ineffective sales tactics.
If you would like to learn more about mastering the art of social selling on LinkedIn, read LinkedIn Unlocked, the definitive guide to generating leads consistently and predictably.
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