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December 22, 2016

8 Little-Known Ways to Find New Prospects on LinkedIn

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Most salespeople are sold on the power of LinkedIn. They keep their profiles in tip-top shape, look up their prospects' profiles before calling or emailing, and keep close tabs on what potential customers post in groups. Reps also know how to search for prospects and narrow the results down by industry, company, location, and other specifications.

In other words, they have the basics of prospecting on LinkedIn down.

But what if these strategies aren't yielding enough relevant prospects? While search is the most logical place to look for new opportunities, it's not the only method. Use the following eight ideas to find new prospects on LinkedIn when search isn't cutting it.

1) Look at the "People Also Viewed" Sidebar

Don't you wish you could clone your best customers? Well, turns out you can with the "People Also Viewed" sidebar.

Visit the profile of one of your best customers or prospects, and then look to the right. The "People Also Viewed" box shows other users similar to your contact. You've just magically turned one prospect into several.

2) Reach Out to Prospects in New Roles

Changing jobs is one of the most effective trigger events in sales. When a person takes on a new role, they are more open to shaking things up with a new product or service purchase. Swoop in at the right time, and you could land yourself a new customer.

To determine which of your connections has recently joined a new company, click the "Keep in Touch" button under the "Connections" tab. Voila! You can add a handful of new prospects to your list -- just make sure to reach out sooner rather than later.

3) Investigate Your Competitors' Networks

Selling to a customer of a competitor is often easier than sourcing a totally new prospect who has no experience with the type of product you sell. You've likely formulated some compelling arguments as to why their customers should transition to your offering -- and they've clearly recognized the need for your product type. Now all you need is a customer list.

Lucky for you, other LinkedIn members' networks are searchable (provided they don't opt to protect them) -- and that includes those of rival salespeople. They're likely connected with their prospects and customers, so peruse their networks with your prospecting hat on.

4) Scroll Through Skill Endorsements

People tend to attract others like themselves. And sometimes, those others dish out praise.

Similar to the "People Also Viewed" technique, scroll down to a great customer or prospect's "Skills" section, and check out who's endorsed them. You'll find that birds of a feather often flock (and endorse) together.

5) Use Alumni Search

You already know about LinkedIn's standard search. It's incredibly helpful, but barring shared connections or interests, people who show up in your search results likely don't have anything in common with you. And it's not easy to connect via email or phone without a mutual interest or talking point to kick things off.

Enter Alumni Search. Simply copy https://www.linkedin.com/edu/alumni into your browser, and you'll get a list of new prospects who attended the same school as you.

6) See Who’s Commented On Your Prospects’ Posts

Next time you’re browsing your activity feed, don’t gloss over the comments underneath your connections’ posts. Many of the people interacting with your prospects and customers will be potential good fits for your product -- and they’re clearly active on LinkedIn.

In addition, their comments are the perfect jumping-off point for an InMail or email. Praise their insight and offer a related perspective, share a relevant article, or ask if they’ve considered a specific fact or data point.

7) Browse Users Who Have Interacted With Your Posts

If you have a Basic (i.e. free) LinkedIn account, you can only see a limited number of the users who have viewed your profile. Premium, or paid, users can see every user who visits their profile.

However, you can see the people who have interacted with your posts no matter what type of subscription you have.

Under “Profile,” click “Who’s Viewed My Profile.”

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Then choose the “Who’s Viewed Your Articles” tab.

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You can filter the results by who’s liked or commented on your content. These users are clearly eager to engage -- if they’re not already customers, send them an email; if they are customers, try requesting a referral or intro to someone in their network you’d like to meet.

8) Use Boolean Google Search

Granted, this isn't a LinkedIn tip per se, but it will surface a list of LinkedIn profiles. The next time you're searching for new prospects in Google, consider using Boolean search operators, such as quotation marks, OR, AND, or NOT.

A quick explanation of each:

  • Quotation marks: Will surface results containing the exact phrase.
  • OR: Will surface results that either contain search term A or search term B.
  • AND: Will surface results that contain both search term A and search term B.
  • NOT: Will surface results that contain search term A without search term B.

Pop in "site:linkedin.com/in" at the beginning of your search, and prospect away.

The next time your lead list is looking thin and traditional LinkedIn search isn't doing the trick, consider using one of these non-traditional prospecting hacks. The best part? Since you're working on LinkedIn, you're privy to the personal details that can help you create a perfectly customized pitch.

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