As marketers, we use several methods to initiate dialog with prospective customers – cold calls, email campaigns, references, collaterals, etc. However in the recent few years, LinkedIn, if understood in the right way has emerged as the most frequented method to reach B2B prospects – especially if they are C Level decision makers. The best part is there are no gatekeepers, no unmonitored mail boxes, no middlemen. You can engage directly with the decision maker.
Identify LinkedIn Groups
Your decision makers are all over the place. A wise method would be to identify groups they are likely to be a part of. You should have a look at the group statistics, discussions, member demographics, profiles etc. Once you decide that this is the right group, join the group, participate in discussions, like or respond to their comments (please be honest), share your ideas, insights and thoughts. It is worthwhile to invest time and resources in identifying the forums where your C Level decision makers are likely to be present. Read through their profiles and try and understand what their pressing business challenges could be. Share with them a tip or two from your knowledge bank which you feel they may find useful. Give a feeling to your prospect that you indeed understand their business situation and may be able to help them address the same.
You may find a C-Level Executive saying ” Hey, can you tell me more?”. Here is your chance. Go for the kill.
Sending Messages to Group members
When you join a group, LinkedIn allows you to send messages to the members of the group. You can narrow down your search based on title, region, company size etc. These are your prospects. Tell them you are interested in connecting with people like them (C Level Executives, Business Managers, Start up Entrepreneurs etc.). Ask them if they would be interested in connecting with you. Try and guess what their business challenge could be. Send them an article or knowledge bite that you think can help them combat that. Maybe an article that subtly talks about how a product or service that you offer can help them address a challenge. At some point, they are likely to ask ” Oh, I didn’t know this, how about a quick chat?”. Here is your chance. Remember, a C-Level professional is hard pressed for time and any small bit of knowledge that can help him address a business challenge is always a reason good enough for him to engage in a dialogue with you.
There is a catch
All of the above is easier said than done. The reason is simply because most C Level Executives and business professionals may also treat LinkedIn more as a networking forum than a business place. You may find people telling that they do not believe in offering or accepting business propositions on LinkedIn solely as a matter of principle. Another reason is because LinkedIn profiles are usually tagged to personal email address which is accessed usually over the weekend (not in for any serious business then). The best way to reach them is to establish the initial contact over LinkedIn and continue the dialogue over a phone or on their business email. At least there is a recall. Also remember, there may be some closed groups where your request for membership may be pending approval for quite a while.
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Use LinkedIn to establish your initial contact and thereon continue your serious business over email/phone.