How to engage a prospect on LinkedIn even if they don’t post
I’ve seen the advice “comment and engage with your prospects on LinkedIn”.
But what exactly does this mean? and how do you do that when 97% of the user base isn’t posting on a consistent basis?
Let’s look at the facts.
The advice to “Engage with your ideal clients’ posts” is pretty naïve.
I’ve been guilty of giving this advice in the past and it’s pretty stupid because, for the vast majority of businesses and salespeople – their prospects aren’t content creators.
This advice is pretty useless.
Of course, it’s easy to find the 2.6% of users but anyone with experience will tell you, most of the people are sharing company page content or sharing job posts.
Don’t assume people who aren’t posting aren’t active. The majority of users don’t post.
The reality is that most of the user-base are what is known as LinkedIn lurkers.
They consume and engage on content but rarely post themselves.
Here is what happens….
You try to engage with a prospect and you find….
- No posts in the last month
- Job posts
- Reposts of the company page
What are you supposed to do with that?
How can you meaningfully strike up a conversation with a prospect about a job post and not look like you want to role?
How do you engage with a repost which was probably done at the request of the marketing team?
The reality is most aren’t sharing informative articles or sharing their views on topics.
The advice of ‘engage with your prospects content’ doesn’t actually doesn’t work 97% of the time
Don’t fear. There is a way to do this, which many just don’t talk about.
I’m sharing it in this article.
Pitching is not the answer
It’s a fact that cold outreach or cold pitching is very unsuccessful. Whilst many boast of 12%+ response rates, this isn’t what the majority are achieving.
All the data says the response rate for the majority is around 1%.
Decision makers are receiving more than 40+ pitches per month on their emails, phones and DMs.
Many take the view of “send to the many, to find the few” and I get that, but the strategy they use is so inaccurate and unfocused, prospects who are a good fit are ignoring you because they have had so many pitches, their default is to ignore.
Straight-out pitching is a low-hanging fruit approach.
It’s not very successful.
So what is the answer?
The aim of engaging prospects to make them more open to talking to you. I call it building digital rapport.
Having trained thousands of people in using LinkedIn as part of their sales process, I can tell you with confidence, engaging prospects before you make direct ‘sales’ outreach increases success by a factor of three.
So how do we do that?
You need to change the way you think about LinkedIn. Instead of thinking about as a digital platform, think about it as a room. Think about it like you are attending an in-person event.
Let’s say you’re at an event and you have a decision maker you really want to talk to, do you…
- Walk up and pitch them? – That’s just plain weird.
- Do you say hello and be friendly – absolutely!
In a real-life scenario, you’d never pitch a complete stranger, it goes against all social etiquette.
I personally don’t use InMail’s – I prefer to connect as the content I produce can help build trust.
I want to connect so they have a little bit of me in their feed.
Relationship & Research
This method is about building up some goodwill and familiarity with your prospects so down the line when you ask to speak about your company or services, they are more receptive.
This is not a day-before thing, it’s something you do weeks ahead of when you outreach.
- Take a look at their profile.
- What have they been engaging with?
- Is anything happening in their career?
- Do you have some common contacts?
- What’s changing in their company?
- What has the company been posting about?
Tip: Saving your prospects into lead list on Sales Navigator will give you a live feed of their actions, updates and insights.
Now, our job is to establish a relationship over a series of interactions. Remove the pressure to sell or pitch and just engage to build a relationship.
My conversations flow…
“Thanks for connecting [name], How’s things with you?
I may or may not get a reply – but I will try to just keep it pleasant and a short conversation – an early ice breaker. It could be about the weather or anything at this point. It’s just a relational convo, like you would when you meet in person for the first time.
Three or four days later…
I’ll either take something from their profile or activity and ask them a question. If there is a post to engage with, I will of course.
- Ask them about the role they are in.
- Send a post, which might be relevant to their inbox with a message
- Ask them about the insight on the company page (headcount reduction or increase).
My purpose in doing all of this is to build bridges and build familiarity, which helps me at the formal outreach stage
3-4 days following this,
I will share my own content as a conversation starter and ask their thoughts
- I use LinkedIn polls asking for prospects to take on this issue
- Share one of my articles on a topical issue relevant to their role.
Of course, if there is content to engage with, I will use it, but in most cases, you don’t have much to work with.
Tip: Create a list in Sales Navigator of your responsive leads, this can help you prioritise those who reply and engage with you.
Depending on the size of the company and the seniority of the prospect, I’ll have a longer version of this process.
When I outreach, it’s researched and personal
If I have had some conversations with the prospect on LinkedIn, I will be way more informal in my outreach. It’s short, thought out and to the point.
When I’ve had a few back-and-forth’s with a prospect, I always make the message unique.
If I’ve had little I might customise a template and use that.
Either way, I don’t just insert mail-merge fields and hit send.
When I do this process, I get more meetings booked and the calls run more smoothly as there is so much goodwill toward me for taking the time and effort.
The success of this process is built not on one single action, but taking time to build a relationship over a period of time.
For those reading this who do email outreach, one powerful effect of this process is that it builds name recognition, which helps get more opens and responses in the email inbox.
The best results come from having a process, without it, you’ll not be successful in winning business on LinkedIn.
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