Salespeople tend to be masters at the art of LinkedIn. They maintain their profiles in tip-top shape, use the network to research buyers before sending a call or email, and keep close tabs on what their customers post in groups. Of people who are still not sold on the power of LinkedIn, few (if any) are in sales.
So when it comes to prospecting on LinkedIn, most salespeople have the basics down. They know how to search for prospects and narrow the results down by industry, company, location, and other specifications. The savviest of the bunch also know how to save searches to get new prospects directly emailed to them.
But what if search isn’t yielding any relevant prospects? While search is the most logical place to look for new opportunities, it’s by no means the only method. Use the following seven ideas to find new prospects on LinkedIn when search just isn’t cutting it. You might find that even an experienced pro can learn some new tricks.
1) “People Also Viewed” Sidebar
Don’t you wish you could clone your best customers? Well, turns out it’s not such a far-fetched desire. With the “People Also Viewed” sidebar, you just might be able to.
Visit the profile of one of your first-rate customers or prospects, and then look to the right. Chances are, the “People Also Viewed” box contains others similar to your contact. You’ve just magically turned one prospect into several.
2) Job Changes
Changing jobs is one of the most effective trigger events in sales. When a person takes on a new role, they are more open to shaking things up with a new product or service purchase. Swoop in at the right time, and you could land yourself a plum new customer.
To determine which of your connections has recently joined a new company, click the “Keep in Touch” button under the “Connections” tab. Voila! You can add a handful of new prospects to your list — just make sure to reach out sooner rather than later.
3) Competitor Networks
Selling to a customer of a competitor is often easier than sourcing a totally new prospect who has no experience with the type of product you sell. You’ve likely formulated some compelling arguments as to why their customers should transition to your offering. The ammo is there — now you just need a customer list.
Lucky for you, other LinkedIn members’ networks are searchable (provided they don’t opt to protect them) — and that includes those of rival salespeople. They’re likely connected with their prospects and customers, so peruse their networks with your prospecting hat on.
Odds are, you check out articles of interest to your target audience on Pulse fairly regularly. That’s great — keeping up with what your prospects care about is critical. But did you know that you could also pick up some new prospects while you read?
The next time you finish a Pulse article, don’t stop there — expand the comments, and click on the number of “likes.” These two steps will surface people who are clearly interested in what they just read, and if the subject matter relates to what you sell? Prospects, ahoy!
5) Skill Endorsements
People tend to attract others like themselves. And sometimes, those others dish out praise.
Similar to the “People Also Viewed” trick, scroll down to a great customer or prospect’s “Skills” section, and check out who’s endorsed them. You’ll find that birds of a feather often flock (and endorse) together.
6) Alumni Search
So you already know about LinkedIn’s standard search. No doubt that it’s incredibly helpful, but barring shared connections or interests, people who show up in your search results likely don’t have anything in common with you. And it’s not easy to write a cold sales email or make a cold call with no common springboard to kick off the conversation.
Enter Alumni Search. Simply type linkedin.com/alumni into your browser, and you’ll get a list of new prospects who attended your very own alma mater.
To learn more about the full power of Alumni Search, check out this post.
7) Boolean Google Search
Granted, this isn’t a LinkedIn tip per se, but it will surface a list of LinkedIn profiles. The next time you’re searching for new prospects in Google, consider using Boolean search operators, such as quotation marks, OR, AND, or NOT.
A quick explanation of each:
- Quotation marks: Will surface results containing the exact phrase.
- OR: Will surface results that either contain search term A or search term B.
- AND: Will surface results that contain both search term A and search term B.
- NOT: Will surface results that contain search term A without search term B.
Pop in “site:linkedin.com/in” at the beginning of your search, and prospect away.
The next time your lead list is looking thin and traditional LinkedIn search isn’t doing the trick, consider using one of these non-traditional prospecting hacks. The best part? Since you’re working on LinkedIn, you’re privy to the personal details that can help you create a perfectly customized pitch.
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