Building Relationships to Foster LinkedIn Lead Generation, In Theory and Practice

Posted by Ben Kniffen in Uncategorized

LinkedIn is a massive database of people, with every kind of professional imaginable on the site. From doctors, to lawyers, to sales people, to business coaches, to CEOs, and on and on. Your prospects are available on LinkedIn, you just have to go out and interact with them, to actively engage in LinkedIn lead generation. There are a lot of different ways to reach out to folks on LinkedIn, some effective, and some not so much.

You could go out and spend countless hours finding relevant discussions in the groups you're a member of, commenting, sharing relevant bits of information on threads. (…but where will the prospects come from this way? Maybe once in a great while you'll find someone with the exact problem you solve, but you could be at it for years to be that lucky)

You could spend time connecting with people hoping that you'll be in their online rolodex. (…but does anyone really use LinkedIn that way? That's what Google is for.)

You could post interesting and relevant content to your profile with well thought out responses and try to start conversations that way. (…but what would differentiate you from the competition, then?)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing any of the above, but those tactics are not going to generate consistent conversations with your prospects, and you'll find yourself frustrated. That's the way many people feel about their efforts when attempting LinkedIn lead generation.

What are These LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategies Missing?

The piece that they're missing is that LinkedIn isn't just about branding like a Facebook business page might be, and it isn't just about sharing content like a Twitter business page might be. It also isn't just about being a name in a rolodex.

LinkedIn is about interacting directly with your prospects and finding ways to work together. You want to, no NEED to be reaching out to develop relationships with your prospects, because people do business with people that they know and trust.

So what are you waiting for?

How should you get started with LinkedIn lead generation? Without a plan, it would be extremely difficult, but luckily there are some simple tactics that will help you generate, track, and facilitate conversations with leads.

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8 Steps to Lead Generation on LinkedIn

1. The 1st step in LinkedIn lead generation is prospecting. You'll need to build a database of connections to start talking with. Use the Advanced People Search to find your prospects.Untitled design

Here's a quick link to get you there.

2. Use LinkedIn's connections export feature to create a spreadsheet to help you keep track of the conversations you're starting with your prospects.

Here's a quick link to get you to the page for exporting your connections

3. When you reach out to a prospect initially, don't come in guns blazing. You still haven't done the leg-work to build trust and rapport. People are naturally suspicious of the connections they've got online because of all the junk that gets thrown around by misguided social media users trying to market themselves. Get around the noise and create lasting relationships. Find some common ground, if possible, when you reach out.

Are you both alumni of the same school? You could say…“I see we both went to SLU, what year did you graduate?…”

Can you offer some interesting industry knowledge? “I like keeping up with like-minded real estate professionals…”

4. Your initial contact with your prospects should be all about them. Don't bring up your product or service. Ask an engaging question or share a relevant piece of content. Be human…your prospects are.

An interesting question that recently got me engaged on LinkedIn was, “I see you are a real estate investor. How many properties do you have? Are they multi-unit?” I'm happy to share that information, because I legitimately like talking about real estate.

[bctt tweet=”Initial contact with #LinkedIn #Prospects should be all about THEM!”]

5. Once you've opened dialogue, you'll find that many people are happy to engage. When you're starting the conversation, there will always be a natural point to mention a little bit about your own business.

Don't flood the room immediately with everything that your business can do for someone, you'll scare away your prospects. Remember to ask questions and stay relevant.

“Hi Fred, what are your thoughts on that recent development in the market? I think…”

6. Don't leave the relationship to fate, if a prospect has replied to you, be sure to get back with them. If a prospect hasn't replied, don't pester them over and over again, but DO follow up. 2 or 3 weeks is plenty of time to wait before reaching out again.

“Hi Fred, I hope you're well. I thought I'd share this website with you because there are tons of free tools for real estate professionals that I've found helpful. Especially the tenant tracker…”

7. When you've started LinkedIn lead generation, it is imperative that you create a more direct connection. If you're targeting nationally or internationally, try to get on the phone with people. If you're targeting locally or regionally, see if you can grab a lunch or coffee with your prospects, or invite them to tour your office.

“Fred, I'd love to invite you out for a coffee and see if we can find some ways to help each other out…”

8. Always follow up, sometimes people are busy, other times, they forget to reply. There is no reason not to interact with your prospects when you haven't heard back.

“Hey Fred, I thought I'd touch base again and see if you'd like to grab a quick bite or coffee in the next couple of weeks…”

Above all, in any lead generation campaign, realize that you're talking to people, not dollar signs. (tweet this)

These leads have got full schedules, families, and obligations that might be keeping them from getting back to or working with you. Don't worry if some people say “no” when you reach out. If you had never reached out to begin with, then there was never any chance you would do business with them anyway.

Finally, remember to always leave it open to helping out in the future, should a need arise.

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