Imagine, as part of your LinkedIn prospecting, you send a connection request to a marketing director in your industry. She responds a day or two later, and you thank her for the connection. You reply back, and she responds again right away. You have a short conversation via messages.
A few days later you’re working together.
In just a moment, I’ll share more details on how this kind of exchange turned into an ongoing client for me. But first, let me preface it with this…
Having a good attitude and a system will help you turn interactions into clients.
Sure, there’s a bit of groundwork to do first, like having a solid profile and understanding the mechanics of LinkedIn search. But, once you have those in place, you can craft a simple strategy for attracting clients via the biggest professional social network in the world.
Let’s start with the big picture.
Effective LinkedIn Prospecting Starts with a Helpful Attitude
One thing that often holds people back from prospecting is their fear of coming across as too “salesy.”
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. You’re going to be strategic about reaching out to potential connections in your industry, such as marketing directors and other types who are in a position to hire freelance writers.
You’re not going to reach out to them with the idea they’re going to hire you. They may have in-house writers or existing freelancers. Your goal is simply to connect. You can share what you do in a friendly way.
For example, in my interactions with the marketing director I mentioned above, I reached out initially because she was a marketing director in one of my niches. We were a second-degree connection, so I sent her a simple message saying something like, “We have 25 connections in common, and I’m a pet industry copywriter. Love to connect.”
When she connected, I sent her a follow-up message thanking her and addressing their business. I said I appreciated their approach and could see how valuable it was. I also said, “I see you have an active blog, but if you ever need another writer, let me know!”
I complimented her on their business philosophy and let her know I was interested.
Her response was gold. “Hi Jen, I’d love to see some samples. One of our writers recently left, and we need some help.”
Cue the happy dance!
It doesn’t always happen this way, but it never would have happened if I hadn’t reached out. I also took the time to look at their website and give a genuine compliment. It was a friendly exchange. I approached her like I would if I were at a real-life event. Friendly, courteous, and interested in her business.
So, you’re probably wondering something like, “That’s great, Jen. Now, how do I make this work for me?”
Glad you asked.
I’m calling this the H.E.L.P. approach. It’s a four-part system designed to help you boost your LinkedIn game.
The H.E.L.P. LinkedIn System
As you can see above, it starts with a positive, helpful attitude. When you implement this LinkedIn prospecting system 15 minutes at a time, three to five times a week, you’ll start to see results. Let’s break it down.
The framework starts with a helpful attitude.
If you already have a list of potential prospects, start there. You can use LinkedIn search to filter by job title and industry. Then, send a relevant connection request. Just a simple “We’re both in the same industry, and would love to connect” is just fine.
Once they accept your request, you can take a few minutes to review their website. And, if it seems relevant, send them a follow-up message thanking them and complimenting them.
When I connected with that marketing director, it made sense. I could just have easily met her at a live event because of our shared industry. It also made sense for me to take a few minutes to review the company website and come up with something relevant I could say to her.
I reached out to her one-to-one. I didn’t use copy I would have sent to anyone else. In the course of our exchange, it was obvious I was having a conversation with her, investing my time, and expressing my interest.
This one-to-one outreach is your first step to making better use of LinkedIn.
The next step is to make yourself more visible, so prospects can find you more easily.
When you share relevant and informative information, you build trust with others. Building trust and connecting with others is a vital part of LinkedIn.
You’ve got a lot of knowledge about web writing, and you can distill some of it into short posts for status updates. What tidbits of web-writing knowledge can you share in 200 to 300 words? Can you come up with five to eight of them? Use line breaks and emojis to capture attention and make them stand out. Don’t forget relevant hashtags like #webwriting.
Then, post one on your profile.
Go to “home” and see where it says “share a post.” That’s where you post. Respond to every comment. Activity on your profile helps you get seen by more people. Repeat in a few days with another post.
If that feels overwhelming, then find relevant articles to share over the next couple of weeks. Read them and write a sentence or two that shares your thoughts and ask an engaging question to encourage discussion.
Lead the Way
Now we’re back to one-to-one connections, which is where relationships are made.
If you don’t already, make it a habit to reach out to five to 10 people a week. Reconnect with another five to 10 you’ve already connected with and haven’t “spoken” to in a while.
That way, you’re staying in contact with people. Relationships are built on repeated interaction. Businesses are built on relationships. And that’s why forming relationships is at the heart of this LinkedIn prospecting approach.
Bring a sense of “fun” to the process. Check your notifications regularly and interact with the people in your feed. You can be professional and have a personality! Show a bit of yours and you’ll find yourself interacting in a natural and positive way with others.
As you can see, this is a natural, non-salesy approach. There are no “cold” sales messages. Just a simple series of outreach and posting of useful information. It’s proactive, and if you’re consistent about adopting such an approach, you’ll find you have your own LinkedIn success stories to share.