I am sure a lot of sales professionals try using LinkedIn for sales prospecting and selling. We have numerous articles, white papers, posts and literature that emphasize on how you can use LinkedIn as an effective selling platform. However, there are some golden rules you must follow to be able to identify, engage and follow up with your prospects for quality lead pipelines and improved sales conversions.
Here is a quick 5-point guide that will help business development professionals to achieve this
- Build a prospect list that your competitors do not have. For all that you know, you may be the first and or only one to contact them
- Always try and contact the decision maker directly rather than having to go through silos
- Use a mix of traditional and contemporary sales prospecting techniques such as cold calls, emails, and other social networks
- Tailor make the message for each prospect after a thorough research
- Plan and implement a prospect follow up calendar
Well, on the surface, these may appear to be very plain and simple. As you dig deep, you will realize that each one is important in its own way. Let me touch upon each of these points in a little more detail.
Building Exclusive Lists– With platforms such as LinkedIn offering you multiple search criteria, you can always play around to identify prospects that do not fall into the “OFTEN CONTACTED” category. You can refine your search based on a multitude of criteria such as titles (special titles), location (suburbs), and industry verticals and so on.
Reaching Decision Makers – With the ever growing popularity of social networks, especially, LinkedIn, you now have almost full information about the decision maker. Their LinkedIn profiles should give you some insights on how you can position yourself.
You can try and engage them on LinkedIn through the direct messaging feature or contact them over business email.
Use Social platforms – You should try investing more time in researching your prospects. Apart from LinkedIn, you should leverage social media to know more about your prospect. It helps to study their blogs, website, twitter, face book and other social profiles and engage with them. Well, calling or cold emailing is still not a dead method. However, social networks are certainly better starting points.
Messaging – You will be able to tailor make your message better when you have a 360 degree view of your prospect. My famous method is always to compliment the decision maker on a recent achievement. It shows you really want to engage with them. I believe and advocate the fact that effective prospect research is the first starting point for a sales dialog.
Follow Up – Most prospects go cold because sales professionals fail to follow up enough. A recent study showed that around 30% conversions happened on the 15th contact. You need to have a calendar in place and follow up till you get an answer. It is either a YES or a NO. It cannot be anything else.
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