In 1997 The Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed on my birthday. I was devastated. I love his music. That point in the story has nothing to do with this article though, but Biggie's lyrics are a great segue into a valuable lesson on making connections. On any platform, for that matter. If you need the cliff notes, just listen to Big Poppa, and if you're still failing to make the connection after that, skip ahead to the second verse. "Who's he attracting with that line? What's your name, what's your sign?" Why? Because the guy Biggie is referring to is starting to sound like everyone who thinks they're prospecting. Like a fool who's about to get schooled by someone with some real game. I use that analogy for one reason because when it comes to prospecting, I believe that in the year 2020, we need to pursue our prospective clients. For real...like Biggie Smalls,
"ax you what your interests are? Who you be with? Things that make you smile, what numbers to dial?"
Whatever you use LinkedIn for is entirely up to you and you only. In fact, it's none of my business or anyone else's business to tell you how to use it. In 100% transparency, I could care less about how you use it. If you want to post dog pics, talk about politics, sell houses or post dancing videos, go for it. I am of no authority to judge you tell you that what you're doing doesn't or will not work because I'm not you, and I certainly don't know if what you do works because I can't see your results.
There's one thing that bothers me, though, and that's the use of robots doing all the work for me. Actually, I believe that the use of bots is destroying the integrity of this community. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just check your inbox, and you will. It's every profile view and the majority of connection requests you're getting, and once you see it, you can't unsee it—sort of like a wort, a giant LinkedIn wort. In my opinion, using lead generation services that use bots to act on your behalf so you can get a 3-5% return on all of your so-called hard work does more damage than they do good. Just to clarify, that's 3-5% "kind-a good" and 95-98% really, really bad. We clear on that? Somebody's drunk uncle is going to vehemently disagree; I just know it.
So, if you're new to this prospecting thing or want to leverage the platform's power to generate leads, you need to shift your mindset from getting qualified meetings to starting genuine conversations. This is just my opinion, and again I will reiterate you can do whatever you want. Still, if I were prospecting for new business, I would try something like this (It just so happens to be the exact cadence I preach with Disruptur's clients):
Start with a simple LinkedIn search to identify your ideal client.
- Narrow it down by geography and titles, maybe company size. You get a bonus point for using *Sales Navigator
- *Bonus points can be revoked (just ask).
Now, identify your ideal contact.
- If you think you have the decision-maker, great, but don't leave out the people who work for the D.M. These are people with direct access to their office, and the influence they carry is tremendously valuable.
View their profile searching for commonalities and triggers.
- Follow them but don't ask to connect. Check out their content and activity. If you can relate to it or agree with it, consider leaving a very genuine and thoughtful comment. At the very least, slap a 'like' on it.
Find their address
- Physical office address.
- Find their email address by using a tool such as Hunter.io.
Google them. Again looking for commonalities, news, and triggers. Have you ever googled yourself?
- Consider following contacts on other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram but use your best judgment. You don't want to come across as creepy, but people will often link their profiles to websites and causes they care about. These are great conversation starters.
If (and only if) they view your profile, can you send them a personalized connection request.
- Never pitch your services to someone in a connection request; actually, don't ever pitch anyone, and most importantly, don't offer up your calendar so they can book time with you in a connection request or the first message after you are connected.
If they don't view your profile or connect to you, skip ahead to the following step.
- If they connect with you, send them a thank you message, but again, don't pitch your services or ask for a meeting.
- If they respond to your thank you message, try complimenting them. Then, send another compliment.
- Now, ask them a question about their profile or something you discovered in your research.
- Keep in mind your prospect is probably just waiting for your pitch, so don't do it! Keep the conversation going for as long as they will talk to you. Just don't pitch your solution (I know I've said this several times because salespeople struggle with this concept). Your product knowledge will only be more valuable, the longer you hold onto it.
- The real key is to this is for your contact to finally ask you what you do, or even better, they tell you what they do.
- If the conversation takes the turn towards what each of you does, ask them about it. How long? Do you like what you do? (Don't be afraid to change the subject, trust me).
- If they start asking, tell them you're unsure if it's a fit (because it might not be). Just ask this one question, "if you think it might be worth a conversation, we can chat?"
If they don't view your profile or connect, send them a handwritten note.
- Don't skimp either. Make it personal using social cues (socially public cues, that is). Tell them how impressive they are and throw in a couple of compliments but don't ask them for a meeting.
- Throw your business card in the envelope and put it in the mail. Don't include a call to action, either. Just a handwritten note, that's it.
Send them a video email using Go Video.
- Also, never send a regular email again. Always use this tool because it's personal, and it's just better.
Call them on the phone.
- By now, if they don't know who you are, they are either not interested in responding to you, or they simply are way too busy. Regardless, use the exact same template as above to guide the flow of your conversation.
- If they don't return your voicemail (because you left one), they are officially not interested, and you should move on. It wasn't meant to be, and you will just look desperate.
Next steps: Integrate your sales process.
There are millions of selling cadences out there and equally as many so-called social selling coaches who have all the answers. I'm not accusing any of them of being wrong; I'll just add this last point. If they've never played the game, don't buy from them, especially if they want to do the prospecting for you—immediate red flags. Oh yeah, they are the ones who will never read this article but will send me an invite anyway asking me if I'm interested in lead generation. Lastly, many Sales Development Representatives (SDR) are out there hustling, aka, doing the work. Let's not be too hard on them.
If this resonates with you,
"throw your hands in the air if you're a true player."