What I wish I knew before I became a sales manager

3 Fatal LinkedIn Prospecting Errors and How to Avoid Them

LinkedIn is an extremely valuable B2B prospecting resource. With over 450 million active members, the professional social media platform is at the forefront of connecting B2B buyers and sellers. Used correctly, LinkedIn can be a vital tool to boost sales, secure jobs and expand networking connections. The State of Inbound 2016 report has shown that 38% are finding it increasingly difficult to receive a response from prospects. If you too have found yourself reaching out with nothing in return, you might be sabotaging your efforts without realizing.

Here are three common LinkedIn prospecting errors and how to avoid them.

1) You Fail to Define Your Audience

When it comes to LinkedIn connections, quality is more important than quantity. While it may be tempting to increase your network by connecting with as many people as possible, it is likely that you are decreasing your chances of success.

Define your ideal prospect

To ensure you make valuable connections, start with defining your ideal prospect. Understanding who your ideal prospect is will help you to build a relevant audience and to connect efficiently.

Search effectively for potential prospects

LinkedIn offers a free search engine and a premium Sales Navigator with advanced filters to help you target your search and connect with the right prospects. Learn how to search and connect efficiently and you will save more time.

Create a quality profile

Focus on creating an impressive profile and making relevant connections and the sales will come. No one likes to receive sales pitches every two seconds and creating a profile purely based on sales will only sabotage your chances further. Change your mindset from ‘selling’ to ‘inspiring’. Provide insight and interesting advice to prospects by using your profile effectively rather than immediately selling to them.

2) You make irrelevant connections

Again, it is quality over quantity when it comes to connections. If you continuously connect out of context, you will do more harm than good. Make sure you have a clear reason for connecting with the prospect. To prevent you from cold connecting, ask yourself:

Did the prospect download your content, read a shared article or recently view your profile? If so they are likely to be interested in what you have to offer, so you should reach out and connect.

Maybe you have met the prospect in person at an event. In this case, a great way to follow up a meeting is by engaging through LinkedIn.

Be sure to use personalized connection requests only. If you are using generic templates to connect with prospects you are sabotaging your success. State the reasons for wishing to connect. If you have recently met, remind the prospect of the topic of conversation and advise them as to how you can help. Just as you would in person, engage in approachable and professional conversation with the prospect. This will increase your chances of sustainable success.

Before you continue sending millions of requests on a daily basis, remember that your connection acceptance rate affects your social selling index score. So make sure each connection is thought through, valuable and relevant.

3) Your profile is poorly optimized

Think of your LinkedIn profile as an online CV. Your profile will be the first impression a prospect has of you so you want to make sure you impress. If your profile is out of date, lacks insight or is littered with spelling mistakes, you are on the right track to sabotaging any future sales. To make sure you create a lasting good first impression, you should:

Choose a professional picture

While you may want to show the world how good you looked last Friday night, save that selfie for other social media platforms. If you can’t find a professional looking photo of yourself, have someone take one for you. Make sure it is a natural photo that portrays you as the approachable natural leader you are.

Optimize your profile for search

If you optimize sections of your profile correctly, you may find more prospects finding you first. Use keywords in your summary, headline and job title to maximize your potential of showing up on LinkedIn and other searches. What is a relevant keyword will depend upon your career?

Complete your profile

Make sure your profile is completed and up to date at all times. Provide plenty of detail. If your profile is too vague it can suggest a lack of credibility and put prospects off scrolling any further. This applies to your contact details too. While LinkedIn has an option to message a connection, consider including an additional contact method for a more professional touch. If you have a website be sure to clearly include a link directing prospects to it.

Get endorsed

Recommendations and endorsements are a sure fire way to show a prospect on LinkedIn that you are trustworthy and great at what you do. Reach out to your current network and ask them to endorse you for different skills.

Share ‘Pulse’ posts

Start sharing and publishing relevant and interesting content. A quick and easy way to begin doing this is by using ‘Pulse’. Sharing relevant content via ‘Pulse’ will help you to reach your whole network and boost your thought-leader reputation. If you produce articles discussing topics of interest to your career be sure to share these via LinkedIn too.

However you choose to do it, prospecting is not an easy task, but by following the above steps you will be on your way to success.