7 Simple Steps to LinkedIn Prospecting to Get Paying Clients in 2024

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It’s undeniable how LinkedIn has grown over the years.

As one of the biggest platforms for social selling and building business relationships, this is the platform you need to be on if you’re looking to land paying clients.

So whether you’re a freelancer trying to attract new clients or a sales rep trying to meet sales quota, prospecting on LinkedIn is the key.

And look, it won’t be easy.

But the process itself is pretty simple. I’ve been able to find qualified leads through LinkedIn prospecting that have converted into some of my biggest retainers.

Here’s a 7-step process you can use to start your own LinkedIn prospecting and get paying clients in 2024.

But first…

What is LinkedIn Prospecting?

LinkedIn prospecting is the process of identifying and engaging potential customers on LinkedIn.

It’s a combination of using LinkedIn’s search features to find potential leads and then engaging with those leads through messages, InMails, or connection requests.

The goal is to build relationships that eventually turn into sales opportunities.

Why LinkedIn Prospecting Works

LinkedIn is different than other social media platforms simply because it’s a platform built specifically for business networking. People come to LinkedIn to make business connections, learn about new companies and products, and build their careers.

You also get un-gated access to directors and CEOs (especially when on the LinkedIn sales navigator plan) without going through the hassle of contact hunting and cold email outreach.

This makes it the perfect platform for sales reps and freelancers who are looking to find new clients. This is especially great for b2b sales

Additionally, LinkedIn has some of the best search features of any social media platform, which makes sales prospecting and finding potential leads a breeze.

LinkedIn users are also generally more responsive to messages in their LinkedIn inbox (or InMails) than other social media platforms, which means you’re more likely to get a response when prospecting on LinkedIn.

7 Steps to your LinkedIn prospecting strategy

1- Define your value proposition

The first step to LinkedIn prospecting is to define your value proposition.

This is what makes you unique and differentiates you from other salespeople or freelancers who are trying to sell to the same client.

Think about what your ideal client wants and needs, and then craft a message that speaks directly to those desires. Your value proposition should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. It should also be tailored to your ideal client.

2- Identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Buyer Persona

The next step is to identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and your buyer persona.

Your ICP is a description of your ideal customer. It includes information like company size, location, industry, job titles, revenue, and more.

Your buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on research and data. It should include demographic information like age, gender, and income level, as well as psychographic information like interests and values.

You can use this information to help you find potential leads that match your ICP and buyer persona on LinkedIn.

3- Use the right tools

To put it bluntly, you’re going to struggle if you don’t use any LinkedIn prospecting tools.

The tools I use and recommend are:

  1. LinkedIn premium (bare minimum)
  2. Email finders (necessary)
  3. LinkedIn Sales Navigator (best)

4- Optimize your LinkedIn profile

Once you have the right tools, it’s time to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

This is perhaps one of the most important LinkedIn prospecting tips I have. As they say, first impressions matter and your profile is part of your sales strategy. It’s important to make sure that it’s well-written, accurate, and up-to-date.

Here are a few tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile:

  • Use a professional headshot as your profile picture.
  • Write a clear and concise headline that tells people what you do.
  • Use keywords in your profile so you come up in search results.
  • Have a LinkedIn background banner that aligns with your brand and describes what you do. 
  • Make sure your contact information is up-to-date.

5- Find prospects on Linkedin

Now it’s time to start finding prospects on LinkedIn.

I’ll dive into the 7 methods you can use to find relevant LinkedIn members later, but the sales prospecting process here is really simple;

  1. Find your prospects
  2. Send LinkedIn Connection requests
  3. Build a relationship with them (optional, but highly recommended)
  4. Make your sales pitch

6- Come up with an outreach strategy

Once you’ve built a list of prospects, you’ll need to define your outreach strategy.

While you may be tempted to just keep things on LinkedIn – note that unless you have LinkedIn premium or LinkedIn sales navigator, there are limitations.

As an example, you can only message people when they accept your connection request. And when connecting, you’re only limited to 300 characters.

Having a paid Linkedin prospecting tool like sales navigator helps overcome those limitations by allowing you to send Inmails messages – direct LinkedIn messages without having to connect.

If you don’t want to pay for the tool, you may choose to adopt a multi-channel approach of LinkedIn and email.

Let’s talk about the 3 ways you can approach your LinkedIn outreach campaign.

#1 LinkedIn only

This makes the most sense if you do have an upgraded LinkedIn account – you’re able to send 50 Inmail messages every month on the sales navigator plan, and each Inmail is credited back to you if the prospect responds.

#2 Email Only

You may decide to only build your prospect list on LinkedIn and then use email as your main outreach method.

This is where b2b database and outreach tools like Lusha, Hunter and Contactout can be helpful for helping you get their email.

#3 LinkedIn and email

You may decide on a multi-channel approach. Perhaps you start with LinkedIn, and if your prospect doesn’t respond to your LinkedIn message or accept your connection request, you can reach out to them via cold email.

7- Reach out

This part of the sales process is probably the most important, and it’s also the one that most people struggle with.

It can be difficult to come up with the right words to say, especially when you’re reaching out to complete strangers.

Here are a few tips for writing an effective outreach message:

  • Be clear about what you want from them.
  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • Personalize each message. Mention something you have in common or how you found them.
  • Use a CTA (call to action), so they know what you want them to do next.
  • Provide value upfront; don’t wait until later in the message to talk about how you can help them.
  • Analyze the best LinkedIn outreach templates and come up with your own outreach

These are just a few tips, but following them will help you write more effective outreach messages that get responses.

The most important thing to remember is that you need to be clear about what you want and why they should care. Keep the message focused on them, not on you.

If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to success with your LinkedIn prospecting campaign.

5 LinkedIn Prospecting methods

Now, let’s talk about some actual prospecting methods you can use.

#1 Use LinkedIn Search

The first way to find prospects on LinkedIn is to use the search function.

You can use LinkedIn search filters to narrow down your results and find the right prospects. To do this, click on the search bar and then type in your client title. 

From there, you can click on “All filters” and filter by People, Connection Degrees, Followers of, Location, Companies, and more!

Pro Tip

You can also use Boolean operators like AND, OR, and NOT to further narrow down your results.

For example, if you’re looking for marketing directors in the United States, you would enter “marketing director” AND “United States” into the search bar.

LinkedIn will show you a list of potential prospects that match your criteria.

This filtering function is 10x more useful and valuable with LinkedIn sales navigator – it’s a serious game changer if you want to up your sales prospecting strategy.

#2 See who has viewed your profile

Another great way to find prospects on LinkedIn is to see who has viewed your profile.

LinkedIn will show you a list of people who have recently viewed your profile, as well as how many times they’ve viewed it. Note that you need to be subscribed to LinkedIn premium or other LinkedIn plans for this feature.

And I highly recommend you do – these are really valuable insights into seeing people already interested in what you do. Think of these as your “warm leads”.

To view this information, click on the “Me” tab at the top of your LinkedIn homepage or head to your profile page, and then select “Profile Views” in your analytics.

#3 Look at “People also Viewed”

Another way to find prospects on LinkedIn is to look at the “People Also Viewed” section. This section appears on people’s profiles, and it includes a list of other LinkedIn users that have similar profiles to the person you’re viewing.

For example, if you’re looking at the profile of a marketing director, the “People Also Viewed” section might include other marketing directors, CEOs, or even marketing consultants.

To view this information, simply go to someone’s profile and look at the “People Also Viewed” section on the right.

Note that some profiles may disable this feature and so it may not appear for all profiles. 

#4 Browse your Competitor’s networks

A fourth way to find prospects on LinkedIn is to browse your competitor’s networks.

To do this, go to your competitor’s profile and click on the “See all” link next to their “Following” or “Followers” count. This will show you a list of people that are connected to your competitor.

And since they’re connected to your competitor, there’s a good chance they might be interested in what you have to offer as well.

Pro Tip

You can also use LinkedIn search filters to find people who are connected to your competitor but not you.

To do this, go to the search bar and enter your competitor’s name into the “People who know” field.

From there, you can add different filters like location, company size, and industry to further narrow down your results.

#5 Join Linkedin groups

One more way you can find prospects on LinkedIn is to join relevant groups.

There are millions of LinkedIn groups out there with millions of members. And each group is centered around a certain topic, industry, or profession.

So if you’re looking for marketing directors, for example, you can join a LinkedIn group for marketing professionals and start connecting with members.

To find groups, simply go to the search bar and enter a keyword or phrase into the “Groups” field.

Then join and start interacting with group members!

Remember, building relationships is key

At the end of the day, people do business with people they trust.

When you have a big LinkedIn following and post relevant content that your prospects have interacted with – it’s easier to land that sale when you reach out to them.

Likewise, if you’ve previously interacted with the prospect and added value in some way, there is less friction when you position your offering to them.

The key is to focus on building relationships with your prospects. The sale will come eventually if you add enough value.

There’s also an element of numbers. If you’re not getting the results you want and you’ve done everything to a T – then you simply haven’t interacted or reached out to enough people.

Take absolute ownership of your actions, and you’ll be able to see the results eventually.

Good Luck!

Jessica

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