Here’s a proven, step-by-step approach to building an effective sales funnel over on LinkedIn.
Finding new business online can be a lot like going fishing – you need to find the right location and the right bait.
Since LinkedIn is such a highly-visible and trusted platform for business professionals, with over 500 million members, it can be a great virtual fishing hole for generating qualified leads that turn to sales.
The key, of course, is knowing how to reel all those prospects in.
Having spent the past 60 months studying how to sell products and services on LinkedIn, a definite pattern and approach has emerged based on everything I’ve seen and done.
I’ll spend the rest of this post briefly outlining each step of the process!
STEP 1: Create a Client-Facing Profile.
Prospects you encounter on LinkedIn must be able to immediately understand what type of products or services you offer and the key audiences you serve. Your LinkedIn profile should not be about you. Instead it should be focused on what you can do for your ideal audience and what makes you different or better when compared to your competitors.
STEP 2: Create a piece of free content (Blog post, eBook, video, etc.) that targets a specific audience and has a Call To Action (CTA) included.
Content marketing is the price you must pay in order to purchase prospect’s time, attention and interest online. When you create something of value that can help your target audience solve their problems, you get this golden opportunity to demonstrate your authority and expertise, instead of just claiming it.
Once you’ve offered some free content, you have the relationship capital to ask your prospects to opt in for even more information and insight. This becomes your Call To Action, or CTA.
Whatever your CTA is, it must move the person further and deeper into your sales funnel. And remember – whatever “ask” you make with your CTA should be in direct proportion to the amount of trust and value you’ve built up to this point.
STEP 3: Use LinkedIn Search to find and connect with individual members of a specific or niche audience.
On LinkedIn, the riches are in the niches. Most people don’t realize it, but LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest search engines.
Use LinkedIn search to find your ideal prospects, using keywords, such as someone’s job title, and then used LinkedIn’s advanced filters to refine your search to include where someone lives, where he or she went to college, etc.
You now have a customized list of your ideal prospects ready to engage with, including the ice breakers and conversation starters (where someone lives, went to college, etc.) that help get the ball rolling.
STEP 4: Send each person a personalized invitation and get connected.
Remember, the key to success on LinkedIn is personalized, 1-on-1 marketing. You have all the information your need right in their profile: Where they went to school, where they live, even their activities and hobbies.
Find a unique way to personalize your invitations!
You have an ability to break the ice and strike up a conversation around topics that the person is comfortable and familiar with, and you can do it without being sales-y, spammy or sleazy.
STEP 5: Send each new connection a “warm-up” message with your free piece of content.
You can pivot from the initial icebreakers (via your LinkedIn invitation and first messages) into a one-on-one conversation where you offer something of value to your ideal prospect.
The idea here is simple – you must earn the right to ask someone for their time and attention on LinkedIn. You do that by providing some free tips, free advice, content, etc., that is aimed at solving one of the key prospects or pain points your ideal prospect has inside his or her business.
Because you’ve started the relationship off in a casual, 1-on-1 conversation style via LinkedIn, you can share your free tips or resources as a natural extension of the conversation.
STEP 6: Reply to warm leads who engage via messages and/or your content.
Stay engaged with people who like your posts. Reply to every comment and message. People want to do business with people they know, like and trust, and having casual business conversations with your contacts helps humanize you and prove you’re attentive and ready to help.
STEP 7: Go back to targeted prospects 2-3 times per month and send them more valuable tips and content.
It’s rare that anyone says “no thanks” to free tips to help them specifically with their business needs, as long as those free tips are truly of value.
Remember, you must bring real and legitimate value to the other person before you can ask for anything in return.
It might take time to build that trust, but as you move people into your sales funnel and stay consistent with your high-quality content and 1-on-1, personalized interactions, you’ll continue to hook them as new customers.
Why LinkedIn Works So Well
There simply isn’t another platform online right now where all the world’s professionals are gathered in one place, let alone in “work” mode while interacting there.
This is the daily reality over on LinkedIn, and that’s why, if you understand the best way to fish the platform digitally, it becomes a nonstop source of qualified sales leads and new customers.
So get your pole, grab some bait and get after it!