Using LinkedIn for prospecting

There’s plenty of social media networks out there and one thing’s for sure, they can certainly eat away at your time. Sites like Redditt, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook are fantastic for absorbing and sharing content but can be huge distractions to your business life.

What if there was a social media network designed for your business? Well there is – it’s called LinkedIn, and for Business to Business firms it can be especially helpful. Although some dismiss it as only of use for those looking for a job, it can be useful in your day-to-day business life, especially when trying to generate new business or keep in contact with customers on the move.

Prospecting on LinkedIn

Eve Mayer (commonly known as the Queen of LinkedIn),  started her firm back in 2008 just through prospecting for business on LinkedIn. By approaching companies and employees she had worked for or knew of in her area, she asked a simple question, “What business problem are you having? And how can I help you with that?” We don’t know if it is just that Eve was one of the first to recognise people could be contacted through LinkedIn, but the results remain – Eve is phenomenally successful.

Eve was recently interviewed on the CopyBlogger podcast and we’ve made a small précis of that interview and her top tips for prospecting on LinkedIn include:

Don’t be a Jerk

That is, don’t be obvious about selling. Relationships matter. It’s still the same process in selling, regardless of it being online. So, build a commonality with the person that you want a relationship with so you can eventually have a meeting with them.

Stop using the reach out message as a sales pitch. Use your reaching out message to tell people what you want ie. a meeting, a coffee, a phone call. Be brave, truthful, honest and transparent and ask for what you want in your initial approach, don’t just sell. That’s plain rude. Your sales pitch should be on your profile, because that’s what people will visit on your initial request for contact.

It isn’t really necessary to buy into the InMail service, if you don’t want to. It does have its use but again, don’t blatantly sell – you’ll come across cheap and rude.


For companies, encourage your employees to have decent LinkedIn profiles. Don’t be fearful that they are using them just to seek employment somewhere else. A decent profile reflects well on your company, and gives many more opportunities for your business to be found online.

Leverage your second degree contacts

Connect with someone you want to sell to by using your existing contacts – leverage their second degree connections. How do you do that? What’s the tactic? Well, it’s the same as in the real world. If you meet someone through a friend, you don’t launch into a pitch about how great your product or service is, you take the opportunity to get to know someone, reach a point of mutual interest and then a rapport can develop. Asking your friends for help in getting to meet someone can be difficult to begin with, but you can soon develop an approach that isn’t rude or off putting. Perhaps taking a course in this type of networking will help.

Company Pages

‘More than just a recruiting tool.’ You should use the company updates ability to post every day if possible during the week to let visitors know of what you’re doing, what products / services you sell,

But your employee profiles are more important, as each single employee has dozens if not hundreds of contacts who see where they work and may be interested in your business. So have a clear strategy on helping your employees with their profile so it pushes your business.

Biggest Fails In LinkedIn

Eve says, ‘not updating their LinkedIn profile‘ is the biggest fail on LinkedIn. Keep it up to date with what you’re up to at the moment, as nobody wants to read that you’re the best salesperson in the world with a 100% close rate when you’re no longer looking for a job. They want to read what it is you do in your company and the products / services you deliver in that role. So, if you were hoping to gain a meeting with a prospect and they looked you up on LinkedIn and your profile is clearly still geared to getting a new job, then you’ve probably just shot yourself in the foot.

‘Recommendations are important – get as many as you can, but not just from managers. From clients too!’ They form an important testimonial tool for prospects. Word of mouth advertising is by far the most powerful tool there is and LinkedIn makes it easy to develop testimonials from your current customers.