Winning new business can be a real challenge – the art of selling doesn’t come naturally or feel comfortable to everyone. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re being ‘sold to’. I find the hard sell approach to be a massive turn-off, and I know I’m not alone in feeling that way! When I set up my own business, it was important to me to win more business the right way and build a credible client base of people I would enjoy working with, without going for the hard sell.
After looking into Linkedin, I realised that all my ideal clients were there. I then developed my own approach – my ‘4C Method’ for Prospecting Like a Pro. This has relationship building at its heart, from identifying your ideal clients on LinkedIn, building a rapport with them, then nurturing them until you have built a professional relationship, by which time they are much more likely to be ready to engage your services.
This approach has helped me win 85% of my business, amounting to a five-figure monthly income, and I love sharing it with others to grow their businesses. The beauty of my ‘4C Method’ is that it works whether you are able to meet your prospects in person or virtually. It’s enabled me to win more business right across the UK, and internationally too!
Who do you WANT to work with?
Start by working out who you want to work with – your ideal client profile.
Which type of clients do you really enjoy working with, and which are most rewarding, both in terms of job satisfaction and providing you with an intellectual challenge, and in terms of being profitable, and not draining your time? Personally, I enjoy working with and helping business owners, coaches and consultants – my ideal client profiles.
By building up a picture of your ideal client profile, you can optimise your LinkedIn profile to speak directly to them, paying particular attention to your headline and ‘About’ sections. In the ‘About’ section of my own LinkedIn profile, I talk about ‘Who I Help’. I’m very specific about my audience, and the types of clients I work with. That way, if someone who fits my ideal client profile reads my profile, they will pay attention and see straight away that I can help them, and I’m much more likely to win more business.
Step 1 – COLLECT
Once you’ve worked out who you want to work with, you’re ready to get started with formulating a lead generation campaign on LinkedIn. The first stage of my 4C Method is to gather or COLLECT your prospects.
Your ideal client profile makes it much easier to locate the people you want to work with using Linkedin searches, as you can be very specific about the search terms used. You may have more than one ideal client profile if you work across different sectors, so it’s good to target each with a specific search. This means you have a better chance to win more business.
You can employ advanced search techniques such as Boolean Search to hone in your ideal client profile, and to remove any individuals who are unlikely to be interested in your service or who do not suit your ideal client profile, saving you valuable time!
In my opinion, finding your ideal clients by drilling down and being specific is the hardest part of prospecting on LinkedIn. Once you’ve got this bit right, the rest is easy!
Step 2 – CONNECT
The next stage to winning business on LinkedIn is to CONNECT with your prospective clients. This is a 2 stage process, starting with a personalised connection request, followed by a welcome message within a couple of days.
I suggest identifying up to 20 prospects to connect with each day, spending a few minutes looking at each profile to find people who fit your ideal client profile, particularly where you can identify a business need that you can help solve.
ALWAYS add a personalised note with your connection request – you have 300 characters, use them wisely! I’ve created a range of messaging scripts that I provide to people registered on my Complete LinkedIn Mastery course, including 8 different templates that you can personalise for your connection request.
Once connected, the next stage is to follow up within a couple of days with a message to welcome your new connection to your network. It’s a great way to start the conversation and tell them you’re there to help and add value as you build your relationship.
Keep the message short and friendly. At this stage, you are NOT trying to sell or pitch, instead simply nurture the relationship and earn the opportunity for a call or meeting when the time is right. Look for clues in their LinkedIn Profile to work out what to include in the message. It’s a good opportunity to offer them something free, such as a download or other resource, to make them feel good about being connected to you, and this approach will ultimately help you win more business. Again, the messaging scripts included with my Complete LinkedIn Mastery course can really help you.
I’ve tested the timing of this type of message, and 2 days is perfect (not immediately, as that can be overwhelming).
Step 3 – CONVERSE
Many people make the mistake of leaving it there and expecting the sale to miraculously happen. It doesn’t work like that! Your next aim should be to CONVERSE, via a series of relationship-building messages to engage your prospective client and nurture the relationship with them by keeping the conversation going and adding value.
After you’ve sent the welcome message, wait a week before sending your first Relationship Building Message. Then send a message every 2-3 weeks to keep them engaged – trust happens over time, and by regularly messaging and adding value, you keep your prospective clients interested, and yourself top of mind.
Again the best approach is to be nice and friendly – giving value and not expecting anything in return. No pitching, no selling.
The messaging scripts included with my Complete LinkedIn Mastery course include a multitude of different examples of relationship-building messages, including those geared around ‘trigger events’ such as your prospect being promoted. You’re playing the long game here and aiming to get to know your prospect and win their trust and respect – that way you’ll win more business when the time is right.
Step 4 – CONVERT
The final stage to winning business on LinkedIn is to CONVERT – to move the conversation offline. This is a big step and should only be done when you know the time is right.
The conversation that leads to a sale rarely happens online on LinkedIn – instead, move the conversation offline, whether it’s a phone call, a face to face meeting or a Zoom meeting.
A lot of people don’t know how to move the conversation offline. I’ve always done it by giving value, for example by offering consultation or a strategy call to try and close the lead into a client.
Whatever you do, don’t pitch too early as it can burn the relationship. It’s better to wait for weeks or even months and play the long game. There’s no hard and fast rule, but you’ll know when the time is right from the type of messages you’ve been exchanging – it will feel quite natural when you have built rapport and trust.
To guide you, I’ve created a series of messages that you can customise to help you take the conversation offline as part of the messaging scripts included with my Complete LinkedIn Mastery course.
When you’ve invited them to take the conversation offline, leave it with them – don’t put any pressure on them to jump on a call. I’ve tested this approach – trust me, it’s the best way to take things forward when you have built a professional relationship. Let them come back to you – they will feel more in control and you’ll find that this helps you win more business.
Approached the right way, using LinkedIn to win business can be rewarding – and a process that both you and your prospective client can enjoy. Forget about the hard sell, and focus on building relationships – that way, you’re much more likely to win more business from quality, profitable clients who you want to work with.
If you’d like to find out more about my approach to social selling using LinkedIn, I’d be delighted to hear from you. 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.