I recently received feedback from a subscriber whose biggest challenge on LinkedIn was “to identify companies in his target group”.
Please pay attention to where the focus is here.
He wants to find companies. Not people.
Even if we are interested in finding companies on LinkedIn and want to connect with the right target and generate results, we need to think in terms of connecting with PEOPLE, not companies.
This looks a bit counterintuitive. But the more real relationships you establish with other professionals on LI, the more success you’ll find.
In this post, I’ll show you how to find key people who will open the doors and get you access to the companies you want to do business with.
And of course, I’ll show you how to find the RIGHT people on LinkedIn.
Let’s do this.
How to find EXACTLY what you’re looking for on LinkedIn
Okay, you want to find the right target on LinkedIn.
Forget about companies, forget about businesses, and start thinking about people.
The wrong approach is: “Companies in my target group.”
The right approach: “Who is the PERSON who can help me access the companies I want to work with?”
You need to shift from the B2B perspective to a person-to-person perspective. This is how I get most of the leads for my consulting business. And I’ve found it to be the most effective approach to generating new quality leads on LinkedIn.
The big question is: WHO is the right person?
The first step is to define the person who has access to the decision-makers, or who is the decision maker.
You need to define that person and do it using LinkedIn’s search filter criteria.
How to use the LinkedIn Search engine
Let’s take a look at which filters you can use, and which ones are the most effective.
Let’s imagine that the appropriate person to target holds the “Sales Director” position. Just like that, it’s very vague, but it’s enough for now.
I’ll do a search like this:
Simply search in the main box for the keyword “sales director”.
For the second step, you need to open “All Filters”. Just like this:
Now you have access to a more comprehensive search tool that you can use on LinkedIn for free. Of course, if you’re paying for Sales Navigator ,you’ll have access to even more specific search filters.
But if you are new to this, this is enough for you now. Don’t run before you can walk.
The filters look something like this:
We have a few options here, and a few ways to use them in combination. Let’s take a look at them.
Let’s start taking a look at the first batch.
Connections. You can obviously filter by connection level – that is, whether if you want to reach 1st-degree connections. These are people with whom you are connected at this moment. 2nd-degree connections are connections of your first-degree connections. You can send them a request to become a 1st-degree, and start talking with them.
Now, here is something that not many people say about the power of building a good network on LinkedIn:
it grows exponentially.
Let me explain. LinkedIn has over 500 million users, but you cannot see all those 500 million if you do a search.
You’ll only see your connections and the connections of your connections.
In other words, every time you connect with a new contact on LI, you get access to ALL her network, and you can send a request to those people to connect with you.
Again, when connecting with one of them, you’ll get access to that person’s network as well.
So, your range of action grows exponentially when you expand your 1st-degree network.
Now it gets interesting, because if you can build a segmented network – let’s say, “sales directors” – the chances that these contacts will be connected with other sales directors are high.
And you can both grow your network and reach more people at any time, and segment your network towards your target audience.
This is the power of connecting with people.
And now you know how to filter profiles on LI.
Connections of. This is a sneaky one. It allows you to see the entire network of your 1st-degree contacts.
Why and when is this useful? This is very interesting to use with “influencers”, or at least with people in your industry who have a good network.
Imagine that there is an influencer who helps sales directors perform better. And your target is sales directors.
You can connect with the influencer, then use the filter “connections of” with that person and see all her 2nd-degree contacts. These may be sales directors who are interested in improving their capacities. Your targets!
Locations. This is pretty simple: you can target people locally or globally. Sometimes your target audience is too big, and this is a good tool to segment it by geographical area and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Let’s look at the second batch of filter options:
As you can see, here we have a few options, but I’ll focus on the most important ones only.
Filter by company. You can filter people who work at a specific company. This is interesting when you are trying to target people at a big company, like a multinational.
Maybe you want to target any person related to marketing or sales roles. This way you can filter every employee that matches with the keyword “marketing”.
Another good way to use this is when you’re interested in working with a particular company, whatever the reason.
What I want to show you is that you can use this filter to get a large number of options to reach key decision-makers in the company.
This is called a multitouch technique. You contact the sales director, marketing director, sales area manager, and so on. The effect inside the company is that when they talk internally to find the right person to speak with you, your name will be familiar to them, and your chances of getting in touch with the right person – and jumping over the gatekeepers – are very high.
Industry. This is a simple one, right? Depending on your interest, you will be able to filter your search and focus on the industries you are interested in.
Job Title. Remember how in the beginning I did a search using the keywords “sales director”? The main search works this way. They match the keywords – sales director – with any section on peoples profiles: Summary, current job title, past job titles, job title descriptions, headline…
The good thing about this is that you can do a broad search and get lots of results to work with.
The bad thing is when you’re interested in a specific job title. Let’s say you need the person to be in charge of international sales in her current job position. Then you can filter using “international sales” in the job title and visualize ONLY people who are in that position right now.
Reverse engineering: find out exactly what your future clients will look like
So far, we’ve looked at the ways you can use filters to find EXACTLY who you are looking for.
But one of the most important steps to finding what you want is KNOWING what you want.
So, now I’m going to teach you how to draw your ideal client profile using LinkedIn as a tool.
This technique is based on reverse engineering. In other words, I want you to go and identify one of your clients on LinkedIn.
As an example, I’ll use one of my friends, Alex.
At first glance, I can see the term he uses in this headline: “international business development”.
Now I know this is a common way to describe the job position of my targets.
Next, I can see in which company he works at —”Datasur”. This means that I can target other companies like this one.
How? Very simple. You can go to that company profile just by clicking there and taking a look at all their employees. (Remember the multitouch technique?)
Second, you can scroll down and go to “Similar pages”, where is a selection of other companies engaged in similar work.
Simply put, the companies that are potential targets for you.
Okay, you know a lot more about Alex now. But we’re not finished with him yet.
Where can you find him on LI? What does he like? Where can you find more people like him?
Let me show you.
I want you to go to his main profile again and scroll down to the section “Interests” and hit “See all”.
Now you can see EVERY group that Alex is a member of. And guess what? He’s a member of a lot of groups related to International Business. But not just any groups – only the ones he finds interesting, obviously.
That’s a gold mine for you, because you’ll find plenty of other people like him.
What I would do now is join those groups. Then you’ll have access to ALL group members!
You have two options here:
- To send a connection request to expand your network and contact potential leads.
- Contact the most interesting ones directly.
EXTRA TIP: Use LI groups superpowers to contact ANYONE outside your network.
So far, you have a bunch of groups where your clients are, and you know there are plenty of other potential clients out there.
As I said before, you can send invitation requests to members that match your buyer persona.
This is what I recommend: send your invitations to connect. But make them personalized — not generic — and offer some value and a reason why you want to connect.
BUT … this is something that not many know about LI … you can send up to 25 direct messages each month to other group members.
I explain this in detail, step-by-step in the posts. Please don’t miss this trick, because when you find the right people on LI, you can simply start talking with them.
Check out the step-by-step guide below: