I opened the door and stepped out into the frigid night, wondering if I'd made the right move.
People thought I was crazy.
I'd just quit the safest, highest-paying corporate job I'd ever known, and I only had enough money to survive for 30 days.
I had one client, a laptop perched on a wobbly folding card table, a stay-at-home wife and three young boys to feed.
I also had a plan.
And, over the next 90 days, I ended up generating six figures in revenue without leaving my house.
All of it came from LinkedIn.
I'm going to spend the rest of this post explaining how it happened, and the lessons I learned that you can use to win new business on LinkedIn for yourself.
When I made my jump back in 2012, LinkedIn was a far different platform than it is today.
Thankfully, it's way easier now to actually find, engage and sell to your ideal prospects on the platform.
Let's break it down!
Before we dive in, I have to explain the incredible opportunity that LinkedIn holds.
With more than 500 million members in 200+ countries, and with two new members joining every second, LinkedIn is the largest online platform for professionals on planet earth.
Its plan is to become a "one stop shop" for professionals worldwide, with LinkedIn providing professional training courses, networking groups, industry-specific news stories and thought pieces, user-generated blogs, status updates, videos and images, job listings, a freelance marketplace and much more.
Even better, LinkedIn is essentially a search engine for sales prospects.
Because it sorts, saves and categorizes every single piece of data its members share on the platform (from job titles to physical locations to employers to schools to status updates) you can leverage that data to find your ideal prospects on the network.
You will not find a faster, easier and more effective way online to instantly create customized, targeted lists of your ideal clients and prospects than using LinkedIn's advanced search engine.
How I Used LinkedIn To Find Quality Leads
When I quit my day job and launched my own marketing agency back in 2012, this was how I did it.
I realized that, using LinkedIn's advanced search features, I could literally create lists of my ideal clients - the exact decision makers I needed to sell my products and services to.
Best of all, I could connect with these people individually, and, because LinkedIn already told me where these people lived, worked, went to school, etc., I immediately had easy ice breakers to start 1-on-1 conversations on the platform.
As a result, I didn't waste time with gatekeepers, irrelevant leads or people who weren't the decision-makers that would be most interested in what I had to offer.
With LinkedIn the Riches are in the Niches
The secret to lead generation on LinkedIn is focusing on a few niche audiences that you can serve.
For example, when I quit my day job, I opened up my own marketing agency - Nemo Media Group.
Now, I had a background, skill set and experience where I could legitimately provide marketing services for anybody - I knew how to design websites, create videos, write copy, craft press releases, and so on.
But, I quickly realized, if I picked one specific audience to appeal to, and made everything about my approach on LinkedIn tailored to that unique audience and their specific needs, it was much easier to sell my services.
Your LinkedIn Profile = Client-Facing
I created what I call a "client-facing" LinkedIn profile, flipping it away from reading like a résumé written in the third person to a client-centered, problem-solving approach of how my marketing services could help my target audience achieve their goals.
You can use the sentence below as an example.
(Note: I also have an entire template you can download as well.)
Fill in the blanks below with who your target audience(s) is, what they want to achieve and the products or services you can provide to help them get there:
WHAT I DO: I help [My Ideal Audience] achieve [Their Goals] by providing [My Product or Service].
In my current role as an online course creator and LinkedIn trainer, I could write something like this aimed at a few of my niche audiences:
"WHAT I DO: I help Business Coaches and Consultants generate quality leads, book discovery calls and add clients through LinkedIn by providing online training and coaching resources."
See how easy this is?
Once you have a client-facing profile and a list of targeted, niche prospects you can sell to, you're ready to roll.
The Big Mistake to Avoid on LinkedIn
Now, it is critical that you don't immediately try to sell or spam every single prospect you come across and connect with on LinkedIn.
Instead, you must treat each new connection you make like a series of virtual coffee meetings, breaking the ice, building a relationship and warming someone up before you ever ask for his or her time, attention or money.
Best of all, LinkedIn makes this easy to do.
For example, you can instantly create a list of your ideal prospects using LinkedIn Search, and then filter your search results so you end up with a hyper-targeted list based on where someone lives, went to school, his or her job title or industry type, etc.
Or, you can find warm leads by looking at who's already following you on LinkedIn.
More To The Story
There's much more to the story, of course.
But, if to this point you've only looked at LinkedIn as a boring, sleepy social network that's mostly used by job seekers and HR professionals, you're missing an immense opportunity!
In my experience, there is no faster way to build your brand, generate quality leads and build your business online (assuming you have a B2B focus or want to reach specific types of professionals) than LinkedIn.