Have you been on LinkedIn sharing, commenting, posting content, and yet... still don't see what all the hype is about? If gaining a client or even a solid lead off LinkedIn has eluded you, then you may want to change how you approach prospecting on this platform.
Because it’s not that LinkedIn isn’t full of possibility. Per the business networking site’s January 2019 Workforce Report, over 190 million workers in the U.S. have LinkedIn profiles.
And who are your ideal clients… U.S. workers in most cases, right? Enough said.
Now, there are many things you could do to make LinkedIn work better for you over the long-term, but for this blog post, we'll start with a few fairly simple tips that could help you attract more leads and clients quicker. We'll even give you some ideas you could implement as soon as today that could help you start seeing better results.
The secret to grabbing your ideal client's attention
The first change is with your LinkedIn profile. We’ll focus on your Headline and Summary in this blog post. Because this is one of the first impressions a prospect will have of you, you need to let them know why you’re the professional they should work with.
You do that by creating a client-focused profile.
Headline: Based on how yours reads now, would you say it’s all about you? Maybe it’s strictly your title — Financial Advisor at Such & Such Agency? Or does it tell someone, specifically, how you can help them solve their core financial challenge?
If not, then maybe you want to consider tweaking it just a little.
The purpose of the headline is to not only say who you are, but also who you help. And if you’re able to throw in some credibility markers like stating you’re a published author— even better.
I’ll give you a simple template to get your wheels turning. It may be a little scary to draw a line in the sand about who you want to work with, but just come right out and say it:
[Title] who helps [ideal clients] achieve [a specific goal] by providing [your services].
Here's an example from the profile of personal producer and National VP of Sales for Partners Advantage, Oscar Toledo:
What’s your niche?
The key to getting more specific in what you do and who you serve is to address the niche client you work with. If you haven’t heard this term before, a niche is a small, specialized section of the population. Of course it would be great if you could help every single person, but that’s really not feasible. Additional reading on this topic is available at tdainstitutional.com.
On LinkedIn, the riches are in the niches. And LinkedIn makes it much easier because people are identified according to the specific niche they fall into – like dentists, for example, or retired CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. So, once you know who your ideal client is, you’ll be able to search for them on LinkedIn.
Even if only a few people resonate deeply with what you put out there, it will be much better than trying to appeal to all. When we try to attract a wide variety of clients, our language becomes too generic and watered-down because we’re trying hard not to exclude anyone. But on LinkedIn, that’s exactly what you want to do.
Once you’ve got a headline that will pull them in, the next step is to get them to read your Summary.
Summary/About section: When someone views your profile, they need to clearly understand exactly what you do and how that can help them. They should be able to respond back with something like...
Oh I see you help with Social Security1 strategies for near retirees. I’m close to retiring and could use some help with that.
In your summary, give detail about the characteristics of your ideal clients, talk about the exciting goals you’ve helped those people achieve, talk about your process and what makes your services different. Always keeping in mind not to be over-promissory and risk misleading a consumer. And it probably goes without saying, but make sure the language you use suits the licenses and registrations you hold.
And here’s the thing —
Even when you clearly state this, there may be people who don’t fit the description of your "ideal customer", yet still want to work with you. Meaning, even when you narrow your marketing focus, you could still potentially attract numerous prospects.
Don't forget to add a brief testimonial (quote from a satisfied client) as well as your contact information.
Here’s an example of a summary/about section from James Wong, Executive VP at Partners Advantage- A Gallagher Company, which clearly explains:
(1) who we help
(2) what goals we help people achieve or problems we help solve and the services we provide.
Ok, that completes the first change you’ll make regarding how you approach LinkedIn: updating your Profile, specifically your Headline and Summary, so that it speaks directly to your clients.
The second change you might consider making is in how you reach out to prospective clients.
How to start an online conversation with prospective clients
Remember: you’re going to reach out to your niche audience only. Luckily, LinkedIn makes it easy to find those individuals by allowing a Boolean search, which means that you can type in multiple keywords to refine your search.
So, let’s say your niche audience is CEOs in Des Moines. You could type in “CEO Des Moines” in the search field and then do a more advanced search by using the Connections drop-down menu to search only 2nd level connections (people you’re not yet connected with). And it will pull a list of prospects for you (see below):
Since your profile is set up to get your ideal prospects interested in working with you, you’re now ready to reach out and connect on a personal level with them. But that doesn’t mean blast a sales pitch right after they accept your connection request. We’ve all gotten those and been immediately turned off.
You have to give before you can get, right?
Speaking of giving, you’ll want to have some content you've created that you can give away…
That could be a blog post, a checklist, a video, or an eBook on the topic you specialize in. You’ll want to have that handy when you start sending messages to prospective clients.
By adding value before asking for anything from them, you’ll likely have much better luck getting responses.
The messages you send should engage someone on a personal level. This doesn’t have to be difficult — I’ve spoken to many financial professionals over the years who excelled at finding common ground by listening to what people say and then using that to build rapport. The only part that’s different on LinkedIn is that instead of listening, you’re reading their profiles to find a conversation starter.
The key is to mimic those conversations you have in person with clients.
After you create a customized connection request and they accept, you’ll send a response that thanks them for connecting and asks them a question, such as:
“Curious if you’d be interested in hearing about why near retirees should get a second opinion on their financial portfolio?”
Then you’ll go on to say, “If so, I have [your content] that can help answer that question for you -- with no obligation from you. If you’d like me to send my eBook, please reply 'Yes'. But if not, no problem. Thanks, and have a great day.”
That’s not pushy at all! And it’s offering them something of value at no cost or obligation. Plus, it's a more personalized way of getting your content in front of your ideal clients.
If they do say yes, you’ll send a link to the file. Now, if you can direct the link back to your website where they need to submit an email address to “opt-in” to your list to be able to download, this would be ideal. That way, you can continue to communicate with them off LinkedIn as well.
Either way, you want to deliver your piece of content and then let them know if they have any questions, how to contact you.
Get more prospecting done in less time
You can reach out to as many people as you like this way, however, if you want to scale your prospecting efforts, you’ll eventually get away from sending these connection requests manually.
In which case, you might want to consider paid options like LinMailPro, which is a Google Chrome extension. Cleverly or LeadFuze could be options as well.
The way some LinkedIn lead generation programs work is that you pay a fee (could be as little as $100 per month) and the program allows you to automatically send multiple invites a day, if you want to.
This would save you hours a week in prospecting time!
For example, with LinMailPro — you could build a list to send the invites to and create a script that would fit this group of ideal clients. The program itself would add the first and last name to personalize each invite that’s sent.
With a program like this, you’d want to be careful about not sending out 500 requests a day or you’d risk being flagged by LinkedIn as spammer, but you could start with 5 a day and ramp up to 50, for example. This allows you to reach exponentially more people (imagine reaching 1,500 a month) in less time.
Then wash, rinse, repeat: (1) Respond to each person that accepts your connection request, (2) Ask a question, and (3) Provide your piece of content.
Combine this with what you were likely already doing -- sharing relevant content (your own or curated content) with your network, as well as liking and commenting on posts (you know -- the whole being social part of social media).
Work your system daily
Identifying your ideal niche prospects, building a profile that attracts those individuals and systematically and/or automatically sending out connection requests to them daily, could drastically improve your chances of obtaining new leads and setting more appointments.
AND it makes the time you spend on the platform much more valuable.