Prospecting and LinkedIn

Peady’s Selling Engagement

Experienced this? Someone you don’t know, asks to connect on LinkedIn only to turn around and immediately email whatever they’re selling. I’ve lost count of the number of these unwanted emails in my LinkedIn inbox. Last week I had some time and replied to one of these invitations saying that I wouldn’t interact and do business with someone I had just accepted as a connection and suggested that they should work on their online relationship building skills. I don’t think they were impressed!

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

LinkedIn can be a crutch

Many younger, or less experienced salespeople are trying to avoid doing the ‘hard yards’ by looking for the easy way to prospect. They feel the simple answer is LinkedIn. All you do is connect and sell. No phone rejection, no pain. Easy.

How about you, what’s your LinkedIn approach? Are you using LinkedIn to scope out your next cold call, rather than trying to build a relationship or gauge the potential customer’s interest. Is your post connection strategy an irrelevant ‘selling’ email or request for a phone meeting?

It works

LinkedIn is a great tool, a perfect way for professionals to build an online identity and connect with like-minded others. With the platform now topping half a billion users in more than 200 countries, it’s the clear leader for connecting with B2B prospects too.

Used properly you can build your business relationships, and your career. The key ishowto do successfully and gain a win-win.

LinkedIn success

Someone recently said that the 11 most boring words in the English language are “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. So how can you send a connection request that resonates?

  1. Avoid using the connect button in the ‘people you may know’ section, otherwise you send a generic request with minimal chance of success. Go to their profile, personalise your connection that way. 
  2. Do some due diligence. Know who you are about to connect with and why. Look at their profile, do some online research. Do you have mutual connections?
  3. Create a bespoke message that does the following
  • Let’s them know whyyou are contacting them
  • Is personalised and tailored specificallyto that person
  • Refers to one of their posts, one of your posts, a group, a webinar they could be interested in or a mutual interest or contact
  • Use curiosity and pique their interest in you
  • Ask them for a response and feedback

       4.Once they connect. Nurture the connection, build a relationship, don’t immediately move into sell mode that can come later3 more connection ideas

Don’t neglect these three valuable sources of ‘warm’ connections: 

  1. your current connections and theirconnections 
  2. contacts made at any networking events 
  3. members of any LinkedIn groups you belong to

This Inc.comarticle provides some further ideas and insights.

The #1 way to connect

Get people to send connection requests to you!

To achieve this, you need to make sure you have a visible, killer LinkedIn profile. Make sure your profile tells people who find your page through a search exactly who you are, what you do, and why you’d be a valuable addition to their network. You also need to have something that others are interested in (or the perception you do).

LinkedIn offers a huge opportunity to connect with a massive professional population. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t blow opportunities. Spend time writing irresistible LinkedIn connection requests to the ‘right’ potential connections, and you’ll start quickly building up your network.

Until next week, good selling!



About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]