Having a LinkedIn account is essential to not only expand your social media presence but to generate leads. But it’s not enough to create your profile and let it just sit there — that isn’t going to generate leads. You must utilize the tools in LinkedIn to make your account work for you.
Finding Leads Using Advanced Search
Using the basic search feature is pretty much the same as using any standard website search. Type in a person’s name, company name or keyword and hit go. This is fine if you know the name of the company or person you’re looking for, but sometimes we’re looking for connections in a specific target market. So using the Advanced Search feature may be a better use of your time when trying to generate targeted leads.
There are several search filters on the advanced search page you can use to narrow down your findings. They include Location, Industry, Function, Seniority Level and Company Size.
We work with a lot of Building Service Contractors who would like to connect with Facilities Managers in various target markets such as medical offices, universities, and commercial office space. In the example below, we used the Advanced Search function to find Facilities Managers for Medical Offices in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
Notice that the filter for “Function” has been grayed out. Depending on your level of membership, you may or may not be able to access all advanced search functions in LinkedIn. The right side is Seniority Level, and I checked Manager, Director, and VP, as I’m looking for decision makers.
After looking at search results, I found a “Suspect” from Allina Health Care, which has medical offices throughout the Twin Cities. The suspect is the Director of Operations, Business Development, and Corporate Security. He provides a detailed description of his job responsibilities on his LinkedIn profile (see screenshot below).
Notice that his position reports directly to the President, so he is a high-level connection. He also lists the positions and departments that report to him, including the Director of Facilities Management, who would likely be responsible for outsourcing building services such as cleaning. Many Building Service Contractors also provide security services. Notice in the last highlighted area, that he is also in charge of Corporate Security.
On the right side, you can see that Jon is a 2nd level connection on LinkedIn. So if I felt comfortable contacting my 1st level connection, I could ask for a 3rd party introduction. Warm introductions like this are always met with a better response than a cold contact.
Finding targeted prospects is important and connecting with the right people is the best way to generate leads on LinkedIn. By utilizing the Advanced Search functions, you are likely to find the people you most want to connect with.
Make Smart Connections
Another way to get new leads is to cultivate the relationship you have with your current clients. You should be connecting with them on LinkedIn and viewing their connections as possible new connections for you.
Also, start operating under the policy that everyone you meet or have a conversation with is a potential LinkedIn connection. If you meet someone in line at Starbucks and have a 30-second conversation that leads to an exchange of business cards, connect with them on LinkedIn. They could be a potential client and better yet, they may be connected to that ideal client who is looking for the services you provide.
Joining groups is another great way to connect with potential clients. There are two things to remember when using a LinkedIn group to generate leads. The first is that you may not want to start your own group unless you already have a following of engaged prospects and clients. The easier way is to be active in whatever groups you do join. Giving valuable advice and sharing great resources is the best way to engage with the people in your groups. So participating important because you can’t be found by people who are looking for your service if you are silent.
Lastly, make every connection personal. If you connect and immediately try to sell to them, you will alienate your new connections. Take the time to connect on a more personal level and help them along the way. If they run a business, learn more about it and stay on top of what they are up to; even if it doesn’t have much to do with what you do. You just may have a connection that needs what they have to offer, and a referral is a great way to get their attention.
Prove Expertise Through Your Content
If you want to look like an expert in your field, then you must do what the experts do — ask engaging questions, share useful content and create original content. Sharing content instead of making a hard sell makes you more approachable and trustworthy. Don’t make them feel as if you are there just to get your hands on their money. Instead, put relationship-building and helping others behind your intentions.
You can share your content in two ways.
- Status Updates. If you write a blog, this is a great way to amplify your content. Give people a reason to read the article, and then link to it in the post. We also post thought-provoking questions to stir engagement. In the example below, I asked a simple question that generated several responses.
- Publish Articles.You can now publish articles to LinkedIn, which is a great way to showcase your expertise. Just be sure to use compelling titles and graphics because you’re competing with other LinkedIn users for your Connections’ attention.
LinkedIn is a phenomenal tool for businesses to find leads. It is by far the leader for B2B companies versus other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter because it is used primarily for business connections. If you use it right, you are sure to get lots of targeted leads. And if you put some time and energy into those leads, they are sure to turn into clients and that will ultimately grow your business.
Jean Hanson is a long-time entrepreneur, co-founding two commercial cleaning companies, running a virtual assistant business, and in 2005, launching a business portal for commercial and residential cleaning business owners. Jean is also a Certified Consultant for the world-renowned Duct Tape Marketing System. For more tips like this one sign up for Strategic Marketing Tips at MarketingSystemsByDesign.com.