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9 LinkedIn Hacks To Find New Hot Prospects

Posted by Jose Sanchez on Mar 31, 2015 8:45:29 AM

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The easiest way to stop worrying about making quota is by exceeding it. LinkedIn offers search tools to help you make that happen on a regular basis and they are right under your fingertips. But what do search tools have to do with prospecting and exceeding quotas?

The answer comes from Koka Sexton's 3 LinkedIn Search Tricks that Will Make You Dangerous:

"Sales professionals who viewed the profiles of at least 10 people at each of their accounts were 69% more likely to exceed quota than those who viewed fewer than 4 people at each account."

In earlier posts, we showed you how to build a killer LinkedIn profile along with some suggestions on how to generate content for the LinkedIn publishing tool. Those bring you the right kind of attention while they build your authority, and are techniques that keep leads coming to you while you sleep at night.

Today we're going in another direction and exploring how you can find the leads you need right now. With these techniques, you'll be able to pull down names, job responsibilities, recent changes, associations, as well as who they listen to and what they complain about. LinkedIn can be a virtually limitless resource for growing and nurturing leads as you master the art of advanced search.

1. Become the local Boolean search expert

Even the ability to use the word "Boolean" correctly in a sentence makes you cool. Boolean refers to a logic system that uses common words and symbols in a very specific way. Parentheses, AND, OR, +, - and quotation marks are among the tools you can use to find the exact leads you are looking for. Start by understanding how to combine Boolean search terms on LinkedIn. Save and reuse your search later on to find new leads as people join the network and move around.

Example: ((Chief AND Officer) AND (Executive OR (Operational OR Operations) OR Marketing) OR (CEO OR COO OR CMO))

Type this in the search field to see a list of all the top execs using all kinds of different titles. Narrow it down by industry or geography from there.

2. Understand the market

Being prepared means knowing what's going on in a prospect's industry and the larger environment. Company search lets you narrow down your focus to companies with the same characteristics of those where you have been most successful in the past. Find out who their competition is and which ones are growing rapidly.

Example: Search for companies using keyword "cloud" with 51- 200 employees.

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3. Refine your search with richer details

Don't just look for the keyword "billing." Look for "medical billing" or "billing administration." Pay attention to the search category because if you are searching for "project manager" under the Company search, you're probably not going to find the contacts you are looking for. The icon in front of your search box reminds you which database you are hitting within LinkedIn.

Example: "Global compliance" under the People brings up 14,344 profiles. You can narrow it down by Industry or City next.

4. Identify prime business districts

A zip code can be a rough indication of success. Rents in downtown San Francisco are prohibitive without reliable cash flows. Financial District zip codes (94104, 94108, 94111 and 94133) suggest that the business must be fairly healthy. A heatmap of fundraising by zip codes can tell you where the startups are. Whether you are targeting a geographic region, or just successful businesses based on rents, a little research will bring you to the right area and LinkedIn will do the rest.

Example: Search keyword "software" and under Location, choose Located in or near, which brings up a box to enter a zip code: "94104" is a good start. You'll find Intel, HP and IBM, but you'll also find the smaller firms that can afford to set up operations nearby.

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5. Make common names work for you

Would you believe there are 24 people named Bob Leadbetter? Maybe you don't mind contacting all 24 to find the right one, but what happens when your lead is Bob Jones (8,935 possible matches at last count). Everything you know about Bob can find it's way into a search field. Where he lived, where he graduated and former employers can all help you find the right one. Signing up for a premium LinkedIn account gives you finer search qualifiers like years of experience and which groups you have in common.

Example: Search for Jim Davis. Result: 19,418. Narrow it down by City (Los Angeles) and Industry (Information Technology) and you are down to four: an intern, a homemaker, a college provost and a Coordinator for International Relations. From there, you can just follow the money.

6. Never forget the past

You know more people than you think you do. Universities search brings up everyone who ever went or taught there. You'll be surprised at how many people you can reach with a warm contact through second or third connections based on where they went to school. If you've lost contact with someone, Past Company search can open up a whole new line of discussion. The true power of LinkedIn is not necessarily in your 1st degree connections, but in the connections of your connections. That’s where some of the biggest opportunities lay.

Example: On the Advanced People Search, type "Frank" and under School you can Add "San Diego State" with the Relationship set to 1st , 2nd , 3rd + Everyone Else.

7. Zero in with keywords

Combine a job title search with what their specialty is, such as "purchasing manager" + "presenter." You'll find people that need specific tools to do their jobs. You can also combine keywords with specific conferences to see who is regarded as an authority in that area.

Example: Search for "speaker" + "CES2015"

8. Find additional contact points

While the other tips help you get to profiles, there's no reason to stop there. Once you get to a profile, you may not want to use up all your InMails. Edit → Find lets you search on the profile page for the @ symbol, which can take you directly to their email or Twitter handle.

Example: Ctrl+F on PCs or Command+F on Macs are the shortcut to accessing the on-page Find field. @ can also bring up the name of their blog. If nothing comes up, search for Facebook or other social media account names.

9. Follow the link trail

There are several more useful tools that you can access once inside a profile. To the right of the profile are sidebars such as "People similar to X," "People also viewed," "In common with X" and "How you're connected." The last of these can help you get a warm introduction. The other links can lead you to your next stage of lead nurturing. Don't ignore these because they are a shortcut to covering more networking ground in less time.

Example: Use the "In common with" field to find out what Groups you share and respond to the prospect's questions, comments or rants.

The Search Continues

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to search? Do you find Boolean too confusing. Let us know how we can help. The next step after search mastery is strengthening your reputation and your influence network. That's a blog for another day. LinkedIn search, like any other Social Selling tactic should be a part of your daily routine. Sign up for our weekly Social Selling learning session and we’ll show you how to get started.The Digital Growth Conference 2016: An event for B2B sales, marketing and enablement leaders.

Jose Sanchez

Jose Sanchez

About the Author

Jose focuses on creating incredible content and a unique experience for Sales for Life’s audience. He is a seasoned professional with 10 years of work in B2B marketing and cross-platform content with a design edge.

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