There are plenty of social media platforms you can use to generate leads from -- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram just to name a few -- and then there is LinkedIn. I was never a big fan of LinkedIn, but recently I have been using my profile to generate a lot of high quality consulting leads.
If you sell products or services to other businesses, LinkedIn can be a gold mine. Here is the five-step process that I have been using to successfully attract high quality consulting leads on a consistent basis.
1. Optimize your profile to invite connections.
LinkedIn has become extremely "spammy" recently. You need to optimize your profile so you stand out and pique enough interest to trigger a connection request. You don’t want to blindly send out connection requests and messages -- that strategy will not work.
The goal is to optimize your profile in a way that it invites connections. There are two things that I have found that work really well. First, write a non-traditional title. If I took the traditional route, like 99.9 percent of LinkedIn users take, my title line would read: Founder & CEO, Market Domination Media®.
You need to stand out, so write a title that grabs the attention of the audience you are trying to attract. For example, I am currently marketing a 30-day program for realtors designed to help them attract more buyer clients. So, my current title is:
This immediately piques the interest of realtors that I target on LinkedIn. They will connect with me and often shoot me a message before I even have a chance to initiate the conversation.
Another thing I noticed that helps to invite more connections is upgrading to a paid LinkedIn account. That “Premium” icon helps to build trust in the sense that you aren’t a spammer. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I received a spammy message from a Premium user. The $59.99 monthly fee allows you to view more profiles daily, along with some other perks, like the ability to send up to 15 InMail messages every month.
2. View profiles of your ideal potential clients.
LinkedIn gives you the ability to search profiles using multiple filters. Click on “Advanced” and then narrow down the results, starting with keywords, title, location and industry.
I usually only search second connections and use specific filters until I get a very targeted list of a few hundred prospects. So, for my current realtor campaign I am targeting new locations daily and inputting “realtor” in the title field and then “real estate” in the keyword field.
Then I simply visit the profiles of the potential leads. This notifies them that their profile has been viewed. If my targeted title on my profile grabs their attention I receive a connection request.
3. Make a non-promotional first contact.
This is where most people go wrong. Never make your first communication a sales pitch. LinkedIn users are hammered with pitches and glorified advertisements all day long.
You want to stand out, so make your first message a quick introduction thanking them for the connection request. I use my first communication as an invite to connect with me on my other social media channels:
It’s simple and I’m not pitching anything -- it’s a very mild introduction.
4. Continue the conversation -- think long-term.
This approach will trigger messages from prospects that are intrigued by the description in your title as well as from those that appreciated your non-aggressive initial message. I’ve noticed that a lot of messages I receive prospecting this way will ask a marketing related question.
I always take the time to answer their questions and try to provide as much value as possible. I’m always thinking long-term and never go straight for the pitch. Sometimes we will exchange multiple messages before I even mention the program that I offer.
When you are able to provide value beforehand, the prospect is going to be more open to listening to your pitch and considering what you have to offer, simply because you took the time to give before you ask.
5. Take the conversation off LinkedIn
Once you put your offer on the table, you will want to take the conversation off LinkedIn. You will see a much higher success rate communicating over the phone or even through traditional email.
LinkedIn is great for the initial introduction and building a level of trust, but it isn’t the place to close the deal. Once I get a prospect interested I schedule a time to speak on the phone and stick to phone and email communication from that point out.