When it comes to the best LinkedIn lead generation strategies, a definite trend has emerged in recent months.
It's one even LinkedIn itself seems to sense, given the continued enhancements and upgrades to this particular feature of the platform.
LinkedIn Messages = B2B Lead Generation Gold
It all has to do with LinkedIn's new-and-improved messaging system, which has moved from an antiquated, ineffective version of professional email into a real-time, text-messaging type experience.
Complete with "green dots" that tell you if another LinkedIn user is active right now on the platform, the "real-time" nature of LinkedIn messaging gives you an unmatched opportunity to chat up your ideal prospects online in a friendly, non-spammy fashion.
LinkedIn recently took its messaging experience a step further, unveiling "smart messaging" replies that you can utilize based on what someone else writes to you in his or her messages.
Here's how it works:
Real-Time, 1-on-1 Conversations
The ability to have what amounts to "real-time," 1-on-1 conversations with your LinkedIn connections gives you an ideal way to "break the ice" with prospective clients and customers before you get down to business.
For example, able to quickly glance at someone's LinkedIn profile to see where he or she lives, works, went to school, etc., gives you conversation starters that follow the same pattern you'd use in a face-to-face coffee meeting.
Gerry works with a very niche group of clients (Disaster Restoration & Recovery Company Owners), and uses LinkedIn's Advanced Search to find and connect with those specific professionals.
Breaking The Ice
Here's the personalized invitation script Gerry and I came up with for his ideal prospects:
Hi [First Name] - came across your profile here on LinkedIn and would love to connect. I've spent 45 years(!) in the DR world, so always looking to connect with other Owner/Operations like yourself. How long have you been at it? - Gerry
By leveraging his background in the industry, Gerry is immediately able to "break the ice" with Disaster Restoration (DR) Owner/Operators he reaches out to connect with.
Note how he also ends his personalized invitation with a question, thus prompting the person to not only accept his invite, but also reply and answer Gerry's inquiry.
Sparking a Conversation
Next, once Gerry and the prospect connect, he sends this 1-on-1 LinkedIn Message:
Great to get connected [NAME]!
Also curious to hear how you got into the DR industry and how long you've been at it?
I literally grew up in the industry - my parents owned a DR business here in Oregon and I spent my summers as a kid turning wrenches and working as a cleaner.
Anyway, long story short, after 40+ years working in the DR world as an owner/operator, I now actually consult for and help other DR owner/operators with different areas of their businesses.
As you can imagine I've seen it all, so I have a real passion for helping other DR businesses however I can!
Anxious to learn more about you and your DR story - how long have you been at it? And how are things going?
Turning Conversations into Clients
Here's what Gerry told me about a recent use of this approach inside LinkedIn's messaging system:
"I invited (my prospect) to connect using a personalized invite like you taught us. He engaged and we got to talking like you would over a cup of coffee.
"Next thing I know I've got his number and he wants me to call him. When we connected the first time on the phone we talked for about an hour. He also signed up for my free training that I was hosting the next morning.
"About 24 hours later he called back, asked some great questions and said, 'Me and my wife want start your program!'"
The key here is how Gerry took advantage of LinkedIn's real-time, 1-on-1 messaging features to "warm up" this prospective client before talking business.
On LinkedIn, 1-on-1, Authentic Messaging Works Wonders
It's not by accident that LinkedIn keeps enhancing and improving its messaging system and features.
However, you can't simply start spamming people with sales offers inside your 1-on-1 LinkedIn messages.
Instead, you have to follow a specific strategy and utilize a system of what I call "warm up" messages that break the ice, build some camaraderie, discover what your prospect is looking for and then pivots into how you can help him or her meet those needs.
(Note: You can get more training and the messaging scripts I use as part of this free webinar.)
The Opportunity Awaits
With 500 million members in 200 countries, and with 2 new members joining each second, LinkedIn remains the runaway leader online when it comes to finding all of the world's professionals in one place.
The key is understanding not only how to find those professionals using LinkedIn's built-in search engine, but also how to engage them with 1-on-1, personalized messages that replicate how you'd connect in real life for coffee or lunch!