How to approach prospects on LinkedIn

Every professional has heard at some stage over the past couple of years that LinkedIn is a goldmine when finding new prospects. Like many though, they don’t know how to utilise it. Sound familiar? This article gives you a simple strategy for how to approach prospects on LinkedIn.

How to approach prospects: a 4-step guide to LinkedIn

1. Find your prospect

There are many ways that you can find potential clients through LinkedIn from a simple search to leveraging your existing connections. Here are some of the best methods that you can use to discover new prospects:

  • Look at the second or third-degree connections between you and your best clients. You can then leverage this connection and ask your client for an introduction or referral, or you can highlight this shared connection if you reach out to the new contact directly.
  • Do the same for internal company contacts. Your company’s collective network is a great place to look for new sales prospects plus it increases your chance of a successful conversion as with familiarity comes trust.
  • Look at who has viewed your profile. You can find out who is already interested in the work that you do and the content that you publish. They might just fit your ideal customer profile.
  • Check the ‘People Also Viewed’ section. Go to the profiles of your best clients or hot prospects that you are already connected to and look at the right sidebar. You will find other profiles who are similar to your clients/hot prospects.
  • Look at your competitor’s networks. They may have unhappy connections that are looking for someone new.

2. Update your profile

Once you’ve found the prospects that you want to approach, you first need to spend some time on your own profile before engaging with them. Is it up to date with relevant information to them? Is it clear, easy and quick to read? If not, update it. Here are a few other things that you should do before you approach your prospect:

  • Share content or news that they would be interested in.
  • Comment or like posts that are relevant to them.
  • Join relevant groups that they are a part of and take part in discussions.
  • Post content in groups that would attract their attention.

3. Engage with their posts

When thinking about how to approach prospects on LinkedIn, people tend to think about starting that initial conversation. Yes, that first message is crucial, but the relationship doesn’t start there. The best way to approach a prospect is to first make yourself known. Engage with their posts, read their blogs, converse and respond to their discussions on a group. When you combine this with sharing your own relevant news and blogs that they are interested in, your name will keep showing up on their radar and they will be familiar with you.

4. Send a private message

Now, if you have taken the first 3 steps, by the time you message your new prospect they should recognise you and be more willing to respond. Just make sure that the communication is personalised to them.   By all means, use the LinkedIn conversation starters for inspiration or a message template that you have used successfully before, just personalise the message based on your knowledge about the person. Here are some conversation tips for inspiration:

  • Introduce yourself or if it’s an existing/past contact, ask them how they have been and update them on what has changed with you.
  • Tell them what inspired you to get connected with them. This could be a post that they shared or a mutual connection that you have.
  • Outline, why you think building a relationship, would be beneficial for them or if you’re requesting an introduction, why you think it would be mutually beneficial for everybody should you be introduced.
  • Talk about the solution.
  • At this point, don’t try and sell them something. Telling them about something you can help them with is when you have got a dialogue going.

The hard part is done!

Starting that initial conversation is the hardest part to approaching new prospects on LinkedIn, but if you find great connections and start engaging with them first before you send that first message, you can greatly increase your chances of a response. Then all that is left to do is to move the conversation towards your sale pipeline and convert them to a client!


The right (and wrong) way to stand out on LinkedIn and win work and find new opportunities

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