Best Way to Find Prospects on LinkedIn


Julie Frost

Feb 27, 2023


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Cold calling prospects always seem to go nowhere. You have hundreds of LinkedIn contacts, but most don't respond or acknowledge you but never follow up. How many people do you have to message before you land a sale?

Sometimes, finding more people isn't the solution. The best way to find prospects on LinkedIn is to make memorable, high-quality connections that lead to repeat sales. Your social circle might shrink slightly, but you'll have more time to focus on clients.

You'll have to rethink your strategy and use unconventional methods to make these connections. Your prospects won't just turn into clients--they'll recommend your business to others and leave five-star reviews for personalized care.

What's the Best Way to Find Prospects on LinkedIn?

After all your competitors' generic comments and sales pitches, customers want personalized interactions that show them that you're rooting for their success, not just generating leads. Here's how to turn prospects into new clients.

Market Yourself

LinkedIn Connection

If a connection takes interest and starts talking to you, they'll next visit your profile. Your profile isn't just a social media account--it's another opportunity to market yourself. A direct sales pitch on your page looks inauthentic, but you can subtly promote yourself with images, statistics and accomplishments.

Here's a few ways to polish your LinkedIn page:

  1. Use a headshot from a professional photoshoot.
  2. Customize your URL with your first and last name.
  3. Briefly highlight your work experience, accomplishments and strengths in your summary.
  4. Include your industry in your headline.
  5. Add contact information, such as your email address and social media handles.
  6. Add relevant projects from your portfolio.

Once they follow you, they'll expect the same level of professionalism, so share industry-specific blog posts, infographics and status updates on your feed.

Engage Your Connections

Engaging with your connections is the best way to find prospects on LinkedIn because they already know and trust you. How do you react when you open your inbox and find a generic sales pitch with your name filled in? Most people click away because they feel like they're interacting with a bot rather than someone who wants to help them succeed.

Avoid "template" messages when you connect with prospects. Instead, send them a personalized introduction that references their profile. You can ease into the sales pitch later--right now, you need to make a human connection that inspires collaboration.

You can make a basic message and reference it as you write, but only send the same message to one person. While this takes more time, personalization can secure high-quality clients.

Look for Opportunities

Woman looking for opportunities on LinkedIn

Your connections periodically post about life milestones, such as a wedding, new job or birth of a baby. Keep an eye out for these updates because they allow you to discuss non-business topics. Congratulating them or showing sympathy are personalized interactions that show your connections that they're more than a prospect.

When you reach out, maintain a professional distance to remain objective. Congratulate them without getting too deep into your personal lives. Likewise, don't slide a sales pitch into your comment. They'll catch on quickly and realize that your interactions are inauthentic, implying that they're just a number to you.

Reach Out to Competitor's Clients

Talking to your competitors' clients might sound counterintuitive because they've already chosen a business, but you'll know that these prospects need your services. Prospects outside your industry might not be interested in your operation. However, your competitors' clients have industry experience and might be looking to make a change.

Browse your rivals' networks to find prospects. When you reach out, discuss what your business offers that the competition lacks. Does your competitor have poor customer service? Are they slow to adopt new technologies? Do they experience frequent shipping delays? You'll encourage potential customers to switch by showing them how your operation fills those gaps.

Communicate Offline

Once you've snagged a prospect, turn them into a client by taking the conversation offline. Many people abandon online discussions, but meeting face-to-face creates a working relationship even before they make a purchase. If you can't meet in person, suggest scheduling a Zoom call or talking over the phone.

Offering a free consultation transitions the conversation from LinkedIn, lets you know what your prospect is looking for and makes them feel valued. Other options include in-person demonstrations, office tours and meetups at work events. Make sure that you meet in public areas for everyone's safety.

Browse the Comments

People who comment on your network's posts might be part of your industry. When you see comments on a relevant post, browse the profiles to see who might need your services. Don't message everyone--some commenters might know the individual from a different source. Instead, look for people who match your target demographic.

Make Mutual Friends

Similarly, look up the people on your prospect's profile, including endorsements, recommendations, followers and relevant individuals. Research their page before you click the "Follow" or "Connect" button. They might need the same services that your potential customer does.

Show Generosity

One common mistake new business owners make is focusing on their company rather than the customer. Their sales pitches are a list of products and services that need to tell prospects how they stand out from the competition. Instead, they assume that prospects will turn clients because they need their offerings.

Show potential clients that you care with services that benefit them. One technique involves pointing out recent issues, such as rising inflation, then offering a solution. New customers may receive special introductory prices to help them continue operating during economic downturns. Frame this as your way of helping small businesses.

Offering coupons and gifts is another popular method. You don't have to give away so much that your own company starts struggling, but a free service or two implies that you want to help prospects without receiving much in return. People may take up your offer just because it's free, then enjoy your services and become recurring customers.

On another note, remember your existing clients when you reach out. Learn how to get more business from existing clients to maintain your customer base.

Search for Alumni

Alumni Reunion

Browse your university's alumni to find more prospects. If you message a classmate, you'll already have a conversation topic: how are they doing, and where are they working after graduation? Others were outside your class but shared your major or job field. You can discuss your college experience and subtly bring up your company and what it does for clients.

Small Business Solutions

Over time, you'll figure out the best way to find prospects on LinkedIn for your organization. Need an easier way to manage all of your social media channels? E-Marketing Associates’ social media management software consolidates all your profiles into one dashboard so that you can view and post to one, some, or all channels with a single login.

Not sure how your business is performing online? Get a free business report that grades your online presence like a report card. Categories include your website, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), reviews, how your business is listed locally, and more.

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