Introverts, rejoice! Sales prospecting doesn't have to be a daunting task, and LinkedIn, like other social media sites, offers the perfect platform to help you build meaningful connections and leverage your introverted strengths. As a fellow introvert, I'm here to share a few practical tips that have worked for me and others in the business development industry. And without further adieu, let's dive into the first of three posts I'll pen offering advice on LinkedIn Sales Prospecting for Introverts.
Craft a Compelling LinkedIn Profile that Speaks for Itself
You only get one chance to make a LinkedIn first impression — and you won't know when that impression happens. So a well-crafted LinkedIn profile is critical to properly communicating your personal brand and creating a positive impression when connecting with potential prospects. Ensure your profile is optimized with the following elements:
- Professional photo: Did you know that simply changing the background of a headshot photo can alter a person's perception of you by a whopping 161%? Seriously, here’s what a recent study found.
- Unique Headline: With just 220 characters at your disposal, your headline should clearly convey your unique value proposition and professional expertise. And a study by LinkedIn found that profiles with professional headlines are 7 times more likely to be viewed than those without. Need an example? Click Here to see my headline. Read it and then ask yourself if it's abundantly clear how I help people and which people I help.
- Detailed About Section: Write a detailed summary highlighting your experience, skills, and value proposition. I'll be honest with you, mine needs work. I'm not the best at promoting myself, and I should have a professional copywriter craft one for me. But like you, I have a million things going on, and that one keeps falling to the bottom of the to-do list. Nonetheless, do better than me — write one yourself or have someone write one. This is your personal ad on LinkedIn, so make it the most unforgettable 2,600 characters ever written about you!
- Thorough Experience Section: Detail your relevant work experience, including accomplishments and results. Have examples of that work? Include it! LinkedIn gives you ANOTHER 2000 characters per experience. Use them to your advantage. And yes, I know... I'm totally saying, do as I say, not as I do here . You can also upload media — links to external documents, photos, sites, videos, and presentations.
- Multiple Recommendations: Personally, I LOVE this section because I really do hate tooting my own horn, and I'm not good at it when I do. I'm pretty sure most introverts suffer from the same malady. So let others toot your horn for you. Request recommendations from colleagues and clients to add credibility to your profile. Remember, when you're engaging in LinkedIn sales prospecting for introverts, you're building a non-invasive connection strategy, and letting sales prospects read accolades from others fits that approach perfectly.
Master Advanced LinkedIn Search Filters for Targeted Sales Prospecting
LinkedIn's search function is a powerful tool that helps you find qualified sales prospects within the platform's extensive network. The advanced search feature provides multiple filters to quickly narrow your search results, making identifying relevant prospects easy.
- While a free LinkedIn account does provide a search function, it's far more limited than its paid brethren. With a free account, you're only offered basic filters like title, company, and location. You can only build three saved searches, which are helpful for evergreen prospect list building.
- Paid LinkedIn accounts are better regarding search detail and saved searches. You can fine-tune your searches by industry, skills, and experience. And LinkedIn removes the Saved Searches limit .
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the tool for serious searchers. I have a love/hate thing with Navigator — too much money for too little functionality — but if you really want to fine-tune your LinkedIn searches, you can't beat it. With over 30 search variables, you can limit your searches to specific company sizes, people prospects are connected to already (think Social Agents and referrals) or use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to create more complex searches. For example, you could search for "Keynote Speaker in New Orleans that talks about helping introverts sell more effectively."
Leverage LinkedIn to Conduct Social Reconnaissance
Introverts are gifted with the ability to listen and observe, crucial skills for successful sales prospecting. Social platforms like LinkedIn supercharge this power. Don't just "go on LinkedIn" for 30 minutes a day. Instead, be intentional in your sessions to conduct Social Recon on each prospect. Record what your prospects post, their reactions to other content, and the discussions they participate in. Over time, you'll discover patterns that reveal hidden buying signals, conversational catalysts, and opportunities to naturally reach out and engage without feeling like a sleazy used-car salesperson. And while you're on their profile, also check out:
- Contact Info link: LinkedIn users can set what information LinkedIn shares via the Contact Info link. Many users either don't know this or don't care and openly share important recon information such as websites they post to, their other social profiles, birthdate, and in some cases, email addresses.
- Interests: Check out the Top Voices, Companies, Groups, Newsletters, and Schools they follow. The Newsletter section is an outstanding place to quickly figure out what kind of content they are most interested in consuming — which will be a crucial point we'll cover in part 2 of this LinkedIn Prospecting for Introverts series (hint.. hint).
- Activity: This is easily the single most important section to view because it reveals whether or not LinkedIn is even a good channel to reach this person. Let's be real here. While everyone may have a LinkedIn profile, not everyone is "on" LinkedIn. And that's not just my opinion. Various research reports have confirmed it as a fact. You can see an overview of them here.
When you're ready to expand your search, search for and join relevant LinkedIn groups. But don't just randomly join groups. Take a few minutes to research current activity levels and which members are active. If the group is active and relevant, take note of the challenges, interests, and needs members post about and discuss. You can use this information to craft personalized outreach messages that showcase your understanding of their pain points and offer tailored solutions. Or, you can just jump in and offer suggestions, point members to relevant, helpful content elsewhere, or offer to connect them to one of your associates that can help them. And finally, every discussion you monitor is the starting point for a piece of content you can use to Cold Call with Content, which I'll cover in the next post in this series.
Armed with this intel, you're ready to start reaching out and starting conversations that convert to customers and clients. BUT, don't hit send on that connection request just yet. Because while most people see LinkedIn as just an outbound sales prospecting tool, the truth is, when appropriately managed, your LinkedIn profile can become a vast source of inbound leads too. And as an introvert, we all know we're fine talking to anyone once asked a question. And that's why inbound leads are an introverted salesperson's best friend.