LinkedIn is a goldmine filled with your ideal clients. To mine those prospects, all you need to do is tap into the power of LinkedIn Advanced Search.
What makes LinkedIn such a goldmine for you to find and connect with your potential prospects?
Consider that LinkedIn has well over half a billion members in 200 countries. That is a very large pool to draw your potential prospects from.
Unlike on other platforms, the world’s professionals are coming to LinkedIn in huge numbers with specific goals in mind.
They’re coming to build professional networks, develop relationships and engage with educational high-quality content across the LinkedIn platform.
Business owners, professional service providers and executives go to LinkedIn to find:
- industry news
- expert advice
- career training
- peer insights and recommendations
- content published by LinkedIn’s influencers
As you see, LinkedIn, besides having a very large pool of potential prospects, is also a pool of highly educated, motivated business people looking to overcome challenges and find ways to make themselves and their businesses more successful.
There is a very good chance that some of these people will be looking for someone who does what you do.
However, you don’t want to wait around for someone to find you. Instead, be proactive with your prospecting, and use LinkedIn’s powerful Advanced Search to find your ideal clients.
The LinkedIn Advanced Search filters
The LinkedIn Advanced Search filters, on both the desktop and mobile, can be found at the top of the screen, with each option available via a drop-down menu.
While you may notice that the mobile app does require a few more taps to drill down the options, you are still able to narrow down your potential prospect list using the available filters.
To further streamline the user’s search experience, LinkedIn has the Advanced Search filters at the top of the search results page. In addition, the most frequently used filters – such as location, connection degree and current companies – are displayed by default to help you narrow your search more efficiently.
On the desktop, if you want to see all the search filters available, you can do so by clicking on the “All Filters” link. It allows you to filter the results by industry, past companies, services, schools and more. The “All Filters” option also allows you to see all the Advanced Search options available on one screen.
On the mobile app, you can start by tapping on one filter to narrow your options. Tap the “More filters” link to open a menu of other available advanced filter options.
Step one of the process is to type in a keyword or the title of the person you’d like to target by accessing the Search Bar on the homepage of your LinkedIn account.
For example, if you were looking for LinkedIn trainer, you would type that in and also select “People.”
Step two would be to further filter down the results by location, connections, current companies or by using the “All filters” option, which allows you to select even more search filters.
There are plenty of filters to choose from, even with a free LinkedIn account, including:
- Connections (1st, 2nd, 3rd) – if you are looking for new prospects, you will search 2nd & 3rd connections
- Connections of
- Current companies (by name)
- Past companies (by name)
- Profile language
- Open to
- Services categories
- First Name
- Last Name
Simply apply the search filters that make sense to you based on your ideal prospect’s location, industry and title.
When you’re ready to search, hit the blue “Show results” button at the bottom of the box to apply your search filters. The result will be a narrowed-down list of prospects you can target.
The free LinkedIn membership, however, has some limitations, including the following restrictions:
- A limited number of saved searches per month. You are limited to three saved searches with a free account (Sales Navigator provides an unlimited number of saved searches). Saved searches are a fantastic way to have LinkedIn send you leads each week based on the search parameters you set up.
- A limited number of search filters. The search filters in the free account are limited. For instance, in the free account, you cannot search for prospects based on company size.
- A limited number of searches before you hit LinkedIn’s Commercial Use Limit. The free account limits the number of profiles of potential new connections you are allowed to view each month. LinkedIn doesn’t publish a set number of profiles, but once you hit the Commercial Use Limit for the month, the platform won’t allow you to view any more profiles that month.
- Cannot send InMails. You are limited to contacting prospects already connected with you. With InMails, however, you can send direct messages to people you are not connected with.
Sales Navigator Advanced Search functionality
Many additional search filters are available to those who upgrade to a Sales Navigator account.
Some additional advanced filters included in the Sales Navigator search are:
- Company Size – search for companies whose sizes range from one employee to more than 10,000, be it small business owners or large multinational corporations.
- Years of Experience – search by the level of experience someone has.
- Function – search by the job function or role of your prospect, whether it’s administrative, business development or marketing.
- Seniority Level – search seniority levels from C-suite, VP, Director, Manager all the way down to an unpaid intern.
- Groups – search for prospects based on what specific LinkedIn groups they belong to. With this filter, you can view each member of a specific group.
- Custom Lists – search through a specific list of leads you have saved to further refine the list.
Sales Navigator adds more power to your prospecting ability with highly targeted search filters. Sales Navigator is designed to help you find and connect with the right people and companies you want to do business with.
Along with the expanded search filters, Sales Navigator offers:
- Extended Commercial Use Limit – if you are building a database of new prospects, you won’t be restricted by the number of profiles you can view each month.
- 20 InMail Messages per month – these allow you to message your best prospects whether or not they are connected with you.
- Lead Recommendations – based on the types of prospects you are targeting, LinkedIn will recommend other prospects similar to your initial targets, saving you time. Your targeted prospects will be delivered right to you.
- Real-time Insights (on existing accounts and leads) – get notified immediately when your prospects or leads are mentioned in the news, have company updates or other information. Use these insights to strike up a conversation with your prospects in a natural way so you can build stronger relationships with them.
Upgrading to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator might be right for you if you want to tap into the lead generation and social selling potential of LinkedIn and build a targeted network full of potential prospects.
It’s also ideal if you want to avoid being hit with the commercial use limit each month.
Finally, if your searches aren’t as targeted as you’d like them to be, you would benefit from the additional filters by upgrading your LinkedIn account.
Additional Reading: LinkedIn Membership Levels: Free vs. Premium vs. Sales Navigator
Sales prospecting on LinkedIn
Now that you know how to find people on LinkedIn, what’s next?
The key is to start with a personalized connection request and begin the relationship-building process.
Effective social selling is all about building relationships so you can move your online conversations with your connections (potential prospects) offline.
In the B2B sales world, it’s offline where you convert a prospect into a client.
The LINK Method™, my proprietary system detailed in my book LinkedIn Unlocked, is a step-by-step process of moving online connections to offline conversations through a process of building rapport, trust and adding value.
The LINK Method™, a process to convert online connections to offline sales conversations begins with building relationships that are based on trust.
– Melonie Dodaro
The LINK Method™ includes the highest leveraging activities you can do on LinkedIn to make it a highly predictable lead generator for you. It consists of the following five crucial steps:
Too many people pitch their products or services to new online connections right away, and that rarely works. You convert a prospect into a client offline, not online.
That’s why most of the B2B individuals and companies I work with have the same goal: to book more offline (sales) conversations with prospects. It’s during an offline conversation that you get to know your prospect and their specific problems and, when appropriate, offer your solution.
Additional Reading: How to Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation
Leverage trigger events to mine your LinkedIn network
LinkedIn will send you email notifications advising you of a variety of potential trigger events.
Trigger events are events that occur or actions others take that give you a natural reason to engage in conversations about such events or actions with potential prospects.
For example, you can be notified about:
- Activity in your network: these include job changes, work anniversaries, updates to your prospects’ profiles and status updates. Notifications of these events provide an excellent opportunity to start conversations and continue building relationships.
- Activity that involves you: these include posts/conversations that mention you, responses to your activity (likes, comments, shares), skill endorsements, who viewed your profile and your search appearances.
- News and articles: that’s when your connections (or their companies) have been mentioned in the news and when they share LinkedIn Publisher articles.
When you receive these types of notifications, review them looking for opportunities to engage with any of the identified prospects.
As you build your network, opportunities will be waiting for you. But you must be proactive and seize them in real time as they happen.
Your Network = Your Net Worth
Your network also provides a tremendous opportunity for you to leverage warm introductions and referrals from those who know and trust you enough to introduce you to others.
Why is that important?
Buyers are five times more likely to engage with you via a mutual connection (warm referral), and 84% of B2B decision-makers begin their buying process with a referral.
There is a right way and a wrong way to ask for an introduction. Unfortunately, most people approach this incredibly valuable process the wrong way, producing either no results or, in some cases, hurting their existing relationships.
Remember, you are asking the other person for a favor. Regardless of the outcome, be appreciative and respectful.
To increase your success when requesting an introduction, follow these best practices:
- build rapport first
- explain why you are asking for the introduction
- make it easy for them
- give them permission to say no
The content of messages you send on LinkedIn (whether they are to a prospect you want to build a relationship with, someone you’d like to ask for an introduction, or a possible strategic partner) will determine your success with generating new clients and opportunities.
It’s imperative you take the time to personalize the messages you send.
Next steps to drive sales through LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a goldmine waiting to be tapped into so you can attract more clients and build your business.
Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Advanced Search, and use The LINK Method™ to do it successfully.
Shortcuts don’t work! Automation doesn’t work. What does work is building real relationships based on trust.