When Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, it was the most significant social media deal in history.
If Microsoft was willing to pay so much for LinkedIn, this tells me that they see significant potential in it long term.
This reinforces my belief that LinkedIn IS the future of business on social media.
To give you the full context, let’s take a peek at LinkedIn’s growth from its launch to present date:
- In 2003, LinkedIn was launched, and it had 0 members
- In 2009, LinkedIn had 33 million members
- In 2011, LinkedIn had 140 million members
- In 2016, LinkedIn had 400 million members, and Microsoft acquired it for $26.2 billion
- Today, LinkedIn has over 546 million members and growing
What’s most astonishing is how fast LinkedIn has grown over the last seven years.
Between 2011 and 2018, LinkedIn’s user base has grown from 140 million to 546+ million – shattering the growth rate in previous periods. Keep in mind that these users are professionals and business people.
In fact, LinkedIn boasts more than 61 million senior-level influencers among its user base. What’s even more interesting, is Millennials are jumping on the LinkedIn train now as well.
Many are individuals who are potentially looking for what you have to offer and who possess vast financial resources and decision-making power.
It’s also a well-established fact that LinkedIn is over 277% more effective for lead generation than any other social media method for B2B businesses.
In fact, over 80% of all B2B leads generated by social media come from LinkedIn.
With so many reliable growth indicators, LinkedIn has undeniably proven itself to be a very real and rapidly growing opportunity for professionals who want to grow their business and get more clients.
So, the question is…
How Can YOU Take Advantage of LinkedIn?
Over the past many years, I’ve built well-known as a leading authority on LinkedIn and social selling.
The reason that people come to me for advice is that they know I will only provide them with the tools, activities, and information that will produce the highest quality results.
Most businesses and B2B individuals on LinkedIn have the same goal.
They want to book offline conversations with prospects!
This is because – in most cases – you can only convert a prospect to a client after meeting them on the phone, through a video call, or in person.
However, there are two big mistakes social sellers make when using LinkedIn.
- Mistake #1: Rushing the process and going right into a sales pitch.
- Mistake #2: Never moving the conversation offline, or doing this too slowly.
Either going too fast or too slow can have a detrimental impact on your sales and revenue goals.
To help you achieve this delicate balance, I am going to share with you the five essential steps for successful lead generation (AKA social selling). These five steps are part of a lead generation system I have developed that is specific to LinkedIn, called The LINK Method™.
When combined, these five crucial steps turn LinkedIn into a highly predictable lead generator. Here are the five steps of The LINK Method™ broken down.
The LINK Method™ Revealed
Step #1: Find Prospects
To attract qualified leads, you’ll need to create a clear picture of who your ideal clients are. Understanding and using the language of your ideal clients is essential for this step to be successful.
With that in mind, there are two ways to prospect on LinkedIn. The first is by doing a targeted search for prospects and the second is by leveraging your network to gain introductions.
LinkedIn offers you a fantastic ability to find prospects through their advanced search function. The available search filters are different depending on which level of membership you have.
For example, Sales Navigator offers the most robust set of filters to do highly target searches. You can still do searches with a free or Premium account, but you will have fewer search filters available to you in the advanced search function.
You can then save your most effective searches with the Saved Searches feature to get search alerts directly from LinkedIn when people match that criteria. LinkedIn will essentially email you a list of potential leads and prospects, for free!
Step #2: Make First Contact
After you have located potential prospects, you will need to make first contact. This process starts with your initial connection request.
You must make sure that the connection request is personalized and gives them a reason why they should connect with you, from their point of view.
What you put in your connection request message will largely determine your success.
To write a personalized message, start by viewing the person’s profile and see if you can learn what is important to them personally or professionally. When writing your request, a great way to begin the message is with something personal to create an immediate connection.
Step #3: Engage in Dialogue
This step consists of establishing rapport and engage in a dialogue with your new connection so you can begin to build a relationship with them.
You do this by following up with a personalized message, and I call this the ‘welcome’ message.
This is a great chance to begin building the relationship by engaging a dialogue with them, and expressing interest to learn more about them.
Keep in mind the goal of this message is to establish rapport, engage in a dialogue and request nothing in return.
Step #4: Build Relationship
The process of building relationships isn’t limited to just one message after you connect with a prospect.
You’ll want to send additional messages to continue the momentum and provide value to them.
The content of these messages will depend significantly on your industry and goals, but should NOT include anything that could be perceived as sales materials or a sales pitch of any sort.
When deciding what content to share, consider these questions:
- What are they interested in?
- What is important to them?
- What problems do they face?
Again, I must stress that you do NOT make the mistake of trying to sell or pitch your product or services in a LinkedIn message. Doing so is the fastest way to kill a potential relationship.
Step #5: Move Conversation Offline
Finally, you need to move the conversation and the relationship to the next level—offline.
No relationship with a potential prospect should be kept solely on LinkedIn or on any online platform.
If you have established rapport, built some trust and provided value to your prospect, many of them will be willing to have an offline conversation with you—be it through a phone call, a video call, or an in-person meeting.
It is offline that you get to know your prospect; understand their challenges and when appropriate, offer your solution. It’s offline that you convert a prospect to a client.
Unlock the Full Potential of Lead Generation Using LinkedIn
If you’d like to dive deeper and learn all of the techniques and strategies that I use for each step of The LINK Method™, I invite you to check out my new book LinkedIn Unlocked: Unlock the Mystery of LinkedIn To Drive More Sales Through Social Selling.
This book is the brand-new users guide to leverage LinkedIn for more leads, clients, and sales.
It’s everything you need to know about how to use LinkedIn efficiently and effectively to generate leads and create a predictable stream of new clients for your business.