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How to Search and Find Clients on LinkedIn: A Practical Guide
There is no better tool to search for clients than LinkedIn. Independent professionals who need to contact companies to offer them their products and services have a fundamental ally in LinkedIn, since LinkedIn is the meeting place par excellence for the B2B (business to business) market.
To give you an idea, as of August 2017, the social network for professionals already has almost 500 million users, with a presence in the main companies worldwide.
As you probably already know LinkedIn has a free and a paid version, in this article we are going to focus on how to prospect clients using a free account.
Before You Start Looking for Clients on LinkedIn
Before launching yourself to look for clients, you necessarily have to know who your potential clients are, then, since you are going to concentrate your efforts on LinkedIn, you have to complete and optimize your profile, then you have to start building your network of professional contacts.
Define the profile of your ideal client
Defining your ideal client is necessarily the first step, because depending on its characteristics, write your profile to cause a greater impact and you will be guided to correctly target the development of your network of contacts.
The more specific our objective is and the more varied the profiles with which we are going to contact, the more effective our search will be.
So EVERYTHING starts with the ideal client.
Optimize your profile
Here we have 2 objectives: The basic objective is that our profile appears in the relevant search results. To aspire to obtain good results, it is necessary to have completed this step conscientiously and, even, in more than one language if it is useful to your objectives. Don't forget to use keywords.
the other target is that our profile is attractive and interesting, because that helps to create quality relationships. In short, first they have to be able to find us and then "hook" with our profile.
In order not to dwell on issues that we have already addressed, I suggest you reread this note that provides 10 tips to optimize your linkedIn profile.
Use LinkedIn to develop a network of professional contacts
Once we have optimized our profile, it is time to start building our network of contacts, because basically LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool.
We have also delved into this topic previously, so I suggest you review this note.
Now that we have a firm foundation we can start prospecting for clients on LinkedIn.
How to Find Clients on LinkedIn
Surely after having carried out the previous steps you will also have a clearer idea about the specific type of client you want to reach.
You will surely have a good list of keywords, a list of the type of companies that could use your product or service, a list of specific companies that you know hire the type of service or product that you want to sell to them.
With all that data in hand, let's get to work.
Use the search box
The first time you connect, or every time you log in, LinkedIn takes the contacts from your address book and suggests including them in your network. It's a good way to start.
Before continuing with your investigation, you can take the opportunity to see if that person is no longer related to someone in your network, which is called a second level or degree contact, in which case you can ask the other person to introduce you.
You can do the same with people who are in the third level. And this is a good way to add potential clients, that is, taking advantage of the contacts of our contacts who have a very good chance of meeting our requirements.
Then you can continue with the list of people that you most likely already have to contact them.
Use the search box to see if they're on LinkedIn. If he is, you can send him an invitation to contact. After a while you can apply with that person the same procedure that we described before, of taking advantage of the contacts of your contacts.
Keep in mind that it is always possible to segment the results obtained in the search for people by location, companies, industries, language of the profile, interests, etc.
In this screenshot we can see the results of the search for «architects» (1) and how we can see the groups (2) and segment by various criteria (3).
Important: It is vital that the selected profile has the ability to decide when it comes to doing business with you. For example, if your business supplies spare parts to a certain industry, you will most likely have to locate someone from the supplies or maintenance department of the company you want to contact, it will be of little use to add a staff person to your network. It is understood?
Find your customers in related groups
A great source of contacts are the groups related to the clients we want to get. It's like going fishing in a lake where we know that the fish we long to catch gather.
For example, if you sell a specific product for construction, a good starting point is to look for groups of architects.
To search for groups by name or keyword:
In the search box at the top of your LinkedIn home page, type keywords or the name of the interest group and click Search.
On the search results page, click the Groups tab.
You can also search for groups recommended by LinkedIn especially for you:
Click the grid icon in the top right of your LinkedIn homepage and select Groups from the dropdown menu.
Select Discover at the top of the page to see group suggestions.
You can then request to join the group by clicking the Ask to Join button below the group description.
You can be a member of up to 100 groups at a time (Note that this number changes, until recently the limit was 50 groups). That is why it is important that when you are presented with the list of groups, you look at the following parameters:
A group that does not present activity is useless and therefore not worth signing up for.
Sometimes it is possible to know the locality of the group, for example in the case of architects there is a specific group of Argentine architects, so if you work in Canada, it is unlikely that this group will serve you.
The search for groups related to the interests of our potential client presents two possibilities:
Ask to be part of the group and start interacting
See the profiles of the members of the group and try to get in touch with those who seem most promising to us.
My recommendation is to interact as much as possible with the group by approaching articles or any type of information that is interesting and adds value.. In this way we become valuable members of that community.
I do not recommend in any way to start interacting with the group wanting to sell. Social networks are like that, good places to prospect and make connections.
search by company
It is also possible to search by company. So pull out your prepared list of companies you'd like to work with and start searching for them using the search box just like you did earlier with individual people.
Once you locate the company on LinkedIn, you will see that they usually have a list of employees with the positions they hold, so you can now focus on the profile that is most convenient for you to contact, that is, the one that has the capacity to decide to do business with you or not.
save the search
LinkedIn has a simple to use but very sophisticated search system. Whether you search by people, company, keywords, titles, location, etc, you can always save your search criteria and periodically get new contacts that match those search criteria.
If you "fine tune", you will soon dominate the advanced search so that it is a continuous source of potential clients.
take advantage of the events
Certainly nothing compares to a face-to-face encounter. Events, conferences, seminars, fairs, are an excellent opportunity to maintain contact with people we already know, strengthen contact with people with whom we had only related through the Internet and, above all, contact new people.
LinkedIn (and also Facebook that has its own app) can help you, share the agenda of events you plan to attend and ask who plans to attend so they can set up a meeting. What's more, you can use an event app (such as Eventbrite), and then post the link to the event on LinkedIn.
Power your Network
If you are already using a CRM, I tell you that it is possible to connect your network of contacts on LinkedIn with your records in Sales Cloud.
A CRM allows you to keep track of all your customer information and interactions from one place. It is ideal when you sell products and have a sales force.
Sales Cloud is an interesting software because in addition to LinkedIn, it receives information from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
They provide four different options, all subject to an annual contract. They offer a free trial.
Hire advertising on LinkedIn
Finally, you can also hire advertising on LinkedIn. Both Facebook and LinkedIn allow for very, very precise segmentation.
We are not going to develop this point because our objective was to show you how to prospect clients on LinkedIn with a free account and although you can hire advertising with a free account, the concrete thing is that the idea of this note is to show you how you can prospect clients without investing money in the task.
For this to work you must prepare a weekly work plan (so that it has continuity) and stick to it. You should always be attentive to improving your profile, share content that positions you as an expert on the subject and be attentive to the people who visit your profile, it is a good opportunity to make contacts.
Did you like this note? Was it useful to you? So please share it on your social networks and don't forget to leave your comments below.