LinkedIn For The Salesman: Prospecting

So let’s get going on the topic I introduced last week – how can LinkedIn help with the sales process?

The place to start is pretty much the start of the sales process: prospecting.

It might be neat to spend an afternoon actually panning and searching for gold, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

If only potential customers sank to the bottom of the pan…

Who are you looking for?

LinkedIn will not help you with the heaviest lifting – defining the ideal customer. This is no less required when using LinkedIn than it is everywhere else.

Another way to ask the question is – how would you know if you’re looking at your ideal customer?

And let’s be specific about this:

  • What words will they use to describe themselves?
  • What industry are they within?
  • Can you also identify them by their company’s name or description?

There’s a whole lot of people out in the world, and unless you can sort them in some fashion, you’re going to be spinning your wheels.

How many?

Let’s take a moment to consider what sort of system LinkedIn is – it’s for making contact with one person at a time.

Sure, we can sugarcoat that statement and say that you can get found by lots of people (one at a time), or that you can broadcast some bits of information (individually or in small groups). But in the end – LinkedIn doesn’t have a whole lot to offer in the way of one to many contact.

So if you mean to add 10,000 prospects to your sales funnel, LinkedIn is probably not the best tool.

If you want to reach out one at a time – it’s perfect.

The search

If you haven’t already guessed, the LinkedIn advanced search is the next stop on this prospecting train.

Get as specific as necessary to find the right person or handful of people that you’re trying to reach.

If you want to find technology (keyword) buyers (title) living in the Boston area (zip code 02101, radius 50 miles), I count 166 of them.

That simple

Did you need more?

What’s missing?

It is exactly that simple – define the search criteria, use the tool…

Yes – to be effective you want to have a connection network with reach. (But you already knew that from my other articles, right?)

Next up – research and background – once you’ve found the perfect prospect. Don’t leave the LinkedIn site quite yet…

To your continued success,


Steven Tylock