You know your target audience. Perhaps you’ve done persona work that’s helped you understand who your prospects are and what they need. Maybe you’ve developed a short list to work from. So, now what?
Start with LinkedIn. It is a great prospecting tool. With a little search strategy from your own LinkedIn profile homepage, you’ll easily find the right contacts at the accounts and businesses you want to target.
To get started, just type in a company name, job title, or industry in the search window; select enter; and you’ll have a contact list to start with.
Once you identify prospects, reach out to them directly with InMail. You can also request referrals from those in your network who are already connected with them. That information will be displayed on to the right on your LinkedIn page.
Use your connections
Referrals are great ways to start conversations and receive introductions. When you and your prospect know a common third party, you’re no longer strangers and, as a result, ensuing email exchanges or phone conversations go more smoothly and you can establish trust right out the gate.
If prospecting isn’t cold calling, what is it?
Cold calling is exactly what it seems: calling a potential client you don’t know or haven’t met to introduce yourself and your offerings. It can be an effective way to prospect, but it’s a broad and shallow starting point. Cold calling is one way to reach out, but there are more effective ways, including having someone from your network refer you through LinkedIn or by sending InMail.
Prospecting is the process of identifying and qualifying potential customers. It’s part hunting and part relationship-building. The first step is to identify potential customers and the second is to establish a rapport with them and get acquainted.
Here are six steps you can take to develop relationships with prospects on LinkedIn:
- Develop your profile for thought leadership. By doing this, you’ll establish credibility with the professionals and decision-makers you want to reach. How do you develop your profile? It starts with sharing high-quality content and valuable information.
- Join LinkedIn groups and participate in discussions. Establish your position as an influencer and an industry expert.
- Add value by understanding your prospects’ needs. Understand the challenges your prospects face and provide them with information that will help them address their challenges.
- Target and engage with your prospects through LinkedIn searches, introductions, and group participation. Spend time every day or every week finding people to engage with.
- Use InMail to reach out directly and provide prospects with resources you know they’ll benefit from. You can also mention what you have in common.
- Meet new prospects in person. You may want to meet them at networking or industry events. Once you’ve developed an initial rapport, ask them for phone conversations or meetings — but don’t rush to sell your products or services. Building new relationships takes time.
Although it can be difficult to avoid, don’t jump to selling before you understand your prospects’ challenges and needs. Nurture relationships to remain top of mind with individuals you want to do business with. Even if they end up not being fit for your products or services, they may introduce you to other clients who are.
Take the time during the prospecting phase to learn about your potential clients’ needs. You can maximize your effectiveness if you put yourself in their shoes and tailor your messages and conversations accordingly.