When I’m talking to professionals about using Linkedin to grow their sales – known as Lead Generation – one worry raises its head time and time again.
“How do I grow a professional customer base on LinkedIn without being spammy, or going for the hard sell?”
My own experience
I can relate to this – my own professional background is as an accountant, and when I left my corporate career I wanted to do something new and different, by offering marketing solutions to professional service providers such as accounting firms, as it was a natural fit for me.
The biggest hurdle facing me was lead generation – getting enough clients on board to grow my consultancy business. After looking into Linkedin, I realised that all my ideal clients were there!
It was then a matter of connecting with my ideal clients and building a relationship with them. Along the way, I figured out a simple way of closing sales and signing up clients using LinkedIn – my ‘4C Method’ – using the 4 stages of Connect, Connect, Converse and Convert.
It was important to me to use LinkedIn the RIGHT way. Building and nurturing professional relationships has always been incredibly important to me, and this is at the heart of my 4C Method.
Social Selling – done the right way
First of all, let’s look at what is meant by Social Selling – it’s the same as Lead Generation.
But that doesn’t mean connecting with people on Linkedin and pitching to them straight away without getting to know them. You wouldn’t just walk up to someone in the street and try to sell to them – it just doesn’t work.
It’s not spamming people with free stuff without taking the time to understand their business and their needs and interests. You’ve probably seen this – I get it all the time. There’s nothing more likely to make me hit the disconnect button!
It doesn’t need to cost a penny – I developed my method using the free version of LinkedIn. You don’t need a Premium subscription or to use Sales Navigator – it’s all organic. And you don’t need to be a sales expert or a lead generation wizard.
Instead, it’s finding the right people, nurturing and building rapport and trust as the basis for a long-term professional relationship. By following my simple steps, you’ll grow your professional network and convert valuable long-term clients aligned with your business.
Let’s look at my ‘4C Method’ for Prospecting Like a Pro step by step – I promise there’s no hard sell!
My 4C Method
Outbound lead generation is where you actively look for people interested in your goods or services by prospecting. It’s the main focus of my own 4C Method, which I’ve used to convert all my clients on LinkedIn.
It’s really crucial that you have a very clear picture of who your ideal client is. And it’s worth taking the time to do this properly before you start any kind of Lead Generation campaign.
The first stage – Collect – is where you find targeted prospects, using proven search techniques such as Boolean Search to find the right people.
Instead of focusing on connecting with lots of people just for the sake of it, the key is to find people who are closely aligned with your products or services, and who fit your ideal client profile.
It’s the most difficult part of the process, but get this bit right, and the rest is easy!
The next stage of the 4C Method is to Connect – and a vital part of the lead generation process is to start the relationship as you mean to go on.
The aim of sending a connection request is to get accepted by your prospect. Nothing else. No selling, no pitching.
Start by sending a personalised connection message when you invite someone to connect with you on LinkedIn. The key is to make the messages personalised and feel quite natural. By spending 20-30 minutes per day connecting with 20-30 targeted prospects, you’ll soon have a high-quality network aligned to your business and objectives.
There are plenty of great resources in my Complete LinkedIn Mastery Course that you can use and tailor to help you get the wording right if you find this difficult.
Within 2 days of making a new connection, send them a welcome message – even if they invited YOU to connect. The goal is to let them know you’re a valuable connection who can help – the start of a two-way conversation.
Once you have found your prospective clients, you’ve connected with them and welcomed them to your LinkedIn network, the next stage is to communicate and get the conversation going with your connection. Keep the momentum of the relationship going, by building rapport, being engaging and personable, and showing you can add value.
By sending regular friendly messages – ‘relationship-building messages’ – every 2-3 weeks, you’ll be well on your way to building a powerful professional relationship.
Rapport Building + Value = Sales
If you need some inspiration and help to keep the conversation going, there are plenty of examples of relationship messages you can use that come as part of the resources with my Complete LinkedIn Mastery course, which you can customise to suit your own tone of voice.
Your prospects will appreciate what you share with them as long as it is relevant to them – for example by sharing news or information and picking out key stats or messages that are relevant to them. That’s at the heart of my approach to outbound lead generation. The right way to achieve success is to build rapport so that your prospective client gets to know, like and trust you – and that feeling will be reciprocated!
Eventually, you’ll get to the last step of the 4C Method, which is to Convert. When you’ve built rapport, given value, you’ll want to move the conversation offline by having a conversation on the phone, over Zoom, or face to face. Don’t rush to suggest this – it’s better to wait until the time is right.
If you’ve put the groundwork into building a relationship and providing value, you’ll know when the time is right as it will feel like the natural next step. When you get the opportunity to speak directly to your prospective client – whether it’s on the phone, on a video call or face to face – that’s very powerful. You can really engage with them and move to convert them to a valuable long term client.
The best way to do this once you’ve got to know them and you understand their business challenges – their pain points – is to find ways of showing them that you can genuinely make a difference to them – and offer a call to help them.
The good news is that when you get to that stage, it won’t feel ‘sales-y’ but very natural – you’ll be helping them, using your expertise to provide solutions to their business issues.
And you can congratulate yourself on a well-executed lead generation campaign – without the hard sell!
Done correctly, selling on Linkedin can be a pleasant and rewarding experience for all concerned!
Unfortunately, in my experience, only around 2% of LinkedIn users actually go about lead generation the right way. The other 98% risk not engaging, or even alienating their prospective customers. It’s much better – and more productive – to spend the time nurturing and building the relationship with your prospective clients, so that they know, like and trust you.
It takes time, but you are much more likely to close the sale if you put the effort in. And it’s much more likely to feel natural and friendly too!
If you’d like to find out more about my Complete LinkedIn Mastery Course, please feel free to head over to my website, drop me an email at [email protected], or message me directly on LinkedIn for further support.