LinkedIn is regarded by many
. Therefore, it’s no surprise that many professionals use this social network to connect and engage with people they’d like to do business with.
However, many often fail at generating business through LinkedIn. How do you network the right way on LinkedIn so that it becomes a powerful source of high-quality leads and business contacts for you?
For starters, think about this: When you click on someone’s profile, do you want to read about their job duties, or would you rather know how they can meet your needs? Exactly. People are more likely to engage with you if you show them the value that you and your business can provide.
Using LinkedIn successfully means that you likely won’t have to spend time writing emails that could go unopened, or trying to get past assistants who may block your attempts to reach a company’s decision makers. Why? Because an effective LinkedIn strategy can get ideal clients to notice you and accept your requests to connect and meet.
As someone who’s helped many companies increase their return on investment from LinkedIn dramatically, I have five steps you can follow to help you use LinkedIn effectively.
Step 1: Optimize Your Profile
In the digital realm, your first impression isn’t made with a handshake. Often the deciding factor on whether a business prospect will connect with you is based on your LinkedIn profile. So make sure that your headline, summary and experience sections focus on the results you can provide for your customers, and include past examples of your achievements and case studies.
For example, instead of having a headline that says “CEO of XYZ Company,” say, “I’m a lead generation strategist with a proven record of doubling leads within 60 days or less.” Prospects often love numbers. If you can say you double or triple results in a certain time period or that you can help them save some amount of time and money with your service, it can go a long way.
Mention past achievements in your summary section, as well as in the experience section where the achievement belongs. I also love to turn the experience section into a place where you not only list past jobs but also include case studies of results you generated for clients. This is why they may want to do business with you, so mention your best results here. I like to include at least three case studies if possible.
Step 2: Connect With Ideal Prospects
You want to reach quality leads. A high volume of leads provides no value if they’re not ideal prospects. So make sure from the outset that you’re clear on exactly who you’re after: Do you want to target chief financial offers of companies with 50-plus employees? Or perhaps you want to connect with human resources managers? Once you’ve nailed that down, consider using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to help you find quality leads so that you can send them a connection request.
Some people may worry about contacting strangers, but think about it: When you go to networking events, do you know all those people? No — you’re there to network and meet new people. It’s the same with LinkedIn. Of course, ensure that you have a compelling reason for why you’re connecting, and be upfront with them about it if they accept your request.
Step 3: Start the Conversation Through LinkedIn Messaging
This is the tricky stage of your new relationship with a potential client. When an invitation is accepted, don’t waste a message on “Nice to meet you — have a great week.” Instead, plan a series of meaningful messages (typically I compose three) and space out their delivery over several weeks. This way, you’re not bombarding the lead with messages, which may make them less likely to respond.
Make your first message an introduction to who you are. Highlight your expertise and achievements as you did in your profile, and show some of the results you’ve obtained. Maybe even send a piece of content you wrote that showcases your expertise. Personalize the message by mentioning something about their work, and whatever you do, don’t push for a sale or ask for a meeting yet.
No reply? Try a second message, and make the case for why you connected and why it would be great to meet. Mention the names of some of your past clients if they’re recognizable. Make the actual meeting request low pressure. If you’re still getting nowhere, you can try a third message asking whether they have some time for a meeting because you feel you have potential synergies to explore, but don’t be upset if you don’t get a response.
You won’t get a response every time, but being careful with the way you word your messages can increase your likelihood of success. It’s all about saying the right things in the right sequence.
Step 4: Define Success Metrics
Ask yourself how you define success: Is it five new client meetings a week? A month? Or is it more? Analyze what percentage of your leads are accepting your invitations to connect and the follow-up meeting requests. If these numbers aren’t high enough, take another crack at the way you’ve written your profile and messages.
Make sure you also follow up with those who expressed interest in a meeting but never actually booked one. Also, check out who’s been viewing your profile, and follow up with these people too, using the same strategy outlined above.
Step 5: Monitor Your Leads
Lead generation typically can’t be a priority for just one week of every month. Make connecting, generating strategic messages, locking in meetings and following up ongoing activities. We do this daily for our company and our clients. Assign someone on your team to monitor and act on this information daily so you don’t miss an opportunity.