Prospecting Using LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a tool that we recommend tapping into while prospecting potential commercial lines clients. Using the search function you can look up company names, individual accounts, and job titles to grow your network and get in touch with prospects. Prospecting on LinkedIn should be treated differently compared to a traditional first touchpoint, so we’ve put together some tips & tricks to navigate the space while maximizing the free capabilities that the platform has to offer.
Using Your Personal Account To Prospect
We recommend targeting commercial lines business using your personal LinkedIn account by getting in touch with key decision makers in the businesses you are targeting. This can be accomplished in a few different ways:
- Find the business or office website and visit the “about us” page to find the owner, VP, office manager, etc. From there, insert their name into the search bar on LinkedIn and make sure the title information, name and/or picture (if applicable) closely matches what was on the website.
- Search the business name on LinkedIn and navigate the business page to the employee section. From there, pay attention to the job title listed next to each employee. Again, you’ll want to get in touch with a key decision maker at the company.
- Search by job title within the search bar. When inserting the title into the search bar, make sure the title is specific and easy for the platform to identify. Avoid only searching general terms such as “Owner” or “Vice President”. Instead, search “Owner Jersey Mikes Subs” or “General Contractor”. There will be a few options that appear while searching. Always use the search option that includes “People” as shown below:
- Please note, this might be best if you’re looking to target broadly and not specific by city or state. We recommend using this method if you’re going after franchisees, contractors, medical offices, etc.
You’ve Found Your Prospect, Now What?
Now that we’ve found a prospect, it’s time to make initial contact. We recommend adding the prospect as a connection and including a brief message explaining why you’re adding them to your network. A few examples of appropriate messages can be found below:
- Hello, INSERT NAME HERE. I hope you’re having a nice day. I’m interested in joining your network to learn more about your business needs and to share insurance related content that I feel would be relevant to you. Looking forward to connecting!
- Hi, INSERT NAME HERE. I noticed that we had some mutual connections and I thought it would be beneficial for us to connect. I’m excited for the opportunity to join your network!
- Good afternoon, INSERT NAME HERE. I’m hoping to connect with you to share some insurance related content that I believe would be relevant to your business needs and will help protect your business. I look forward to connecting with you.
We typically see a 25%-33% acceptance rate when a message similar to the above is added with a connection request. These should be short, sweet, and not heavily sales focused messages that provide a reason why you’re connecting with the prospect. If you’re more comfortable adding a brief introduction to who you are that is also encouraged but not a requirement.
If the prospect doesn’t accept, don’t worry! Everyone has different preferences as to who they allow into their LinkedIn network. For example, a prospect might decline your request if you don’t have any mutual connections. If this is the case, proceed with a traditional cold call or mailer to their business as your first touchpoint.
Immediate Next Steps After the Prospect Accepts
Once the prospect accepts your connection request, it’s important to reach out within 48 hours of acceptance. This is technically your 2nd touchpoint with the prospect and can be a little more “sales” oriented. We recommend sending a message thanking them for accepting and providing a bit more information on you, your background, and your intent for connecting. This is also a great time to pull in aspects of their profile, website, and business to show your interest and expertise with their field. Explain how you can help them with their business then end with a strong call to action that encourages a follow up e-mail or phone call.
What happens when the prospect responds and wants more information?
Hit the ground running! Schedule a phone call, zoom meeting or in person conversation depending on what works best with the prospect. Request the prospect’s contact information so you can get a time and a date set and take the conversation outside of the LinkedIn platform.
What happens if your prospect responds but doesn’t want to connect at this point in time?
Don’t be discouraged! They have connected with you so there is some interest in you and your business offering. Politely thank the prospect again for connecting and let them know that if anything changes with their situation that you’d be interested in having a follow up conversation. Also be sure to include your website and e-mail address so they can easily find more information and/or contact you should their insurance needs change or if they’d like any insurance related advice in the future. We also recommend asking the prospect if they’d like to be added to your newsletter distribution list in your response. It’s important to avoid pushing the prospect into having a conversation with you as it will likely sour them from wanting to work with you in the future. Lastly, make sure to be interacting with the prospect’s posts regularly! Throw them likes, comment on their posts, engage with their content, etc. to show that you’re interested in them and their business.
What happens if your prospect accepts your request but doesn’t respond to your note?
Again, don’t be discouraged! This is completely normal and doesn’t mean that the prospect has gone completely cold. This prospect might need a different introduction style compared to others or might require a longer warming period. If this happens to you, schedule some time on your calendar 1 month after your initial touchpoint to follow up with the prospect. In this note, I recommend sending over an article, a snippet from your newsletter or information that is relevant to their business to spark interest with the prospect. Include a note with the content you’re providing as to why you wanted to provide this information and how it would help their business. Then see where the conversation goes! If the prospect does not respond the second time, don’t panic. Wait 2-3 weeks and ask if they’d be interested in having a conversation or if there would be a better time to get in touch. Remember, the prospect has accepted you into their network, so they see your public posts and engagements. You’ll still be top-of-mind as long as you’re consistently engaging with the platform. If you find that a prospect hasn’t responded to your first two messages but likes or comments on one of your posts, that’s a great time to follow up with them via private message and engage in conversation about the post they were interested in. If your prospect completely ignores your posts and messages, it’s best to hold off on engaging with them on the platform. The last thing you want is to turn a prospect off of you and your business because they felt pestered on LinkedIn. If there’s no engagement then it’s best to go with another approach (cold calling, postcards, etc.) or drop the prospect until a different time.
Keeping Prospects Engaged With Your Brand
Regardless if the prospect has responded to your messages or not, it’s important to stay relevant, encourage engagement and promote your brand consistently within your LinkedIn network. That way when a prospect gets to the point in their insurance lifecycle and decides to make a change, your name will be top-of-mind. Here are a few quick tips to ensure you’re staying at the top of your prospects’ feeds:
- Post, post, post!
- Share content that portrays you and your personal/business brand. Why would this prospect choose you over your competition? That should be top-of-mind every time you are posting on your LinkedIn page.
- Doesn’t always need to be insurance related
- If you find an article that is relevant to small business owners, post and explain why you found the article helpful
- Did someone in your family have a recent accomplishment (i.e., graduating high school, getting accepted into a college, starting their first job, etc.)? Post about it!
- Family achievements are relatable to most demographics and encourage engagement
- Participate in a volunteer day or a non-profit organization? Share one of their posts or create your own post sharing your experience and include a photo then tag the organization
- Hot topics, trending conversations and pop culture discussions are welcome here as long as they are kept professional
- The goal is to make you and your brand as relatable as possible
- Passionate about sports? Post about how your favorite team is doing
- Interested in learning and education? Post about the recent masterclass session or webinar you participated in
- If an existing client hit a major milestone or achievement, share that on your page
- Congratulate the business and tag them in the post you created or shared
- Helps to build your network but also grants you credibility with prospects if you’re working with another business in their market
- Sprinkle in content that is relevant to your target market
- Hitting a niche market? Find some articles to share and provide your own input into the body of the post
- The goal is to let your prospects know that you’re doing your research and are an expert in their space
- Helps to build trust with you and your brand
- Avoid getting too “sales-y” but in some of the posts you can include a sentence or two about how you’ve been able to help other businesses tackle some of the challenges the article discusses
- Highlight statistics, data, and any major takeaways in the body of your post
- Always include a call to action (CTA) at the end of the post to encourage your network to engage with the post
- Engage in their content and page
- Interact with their posts by liking, commenting, etc.
- Respond if they post questions or are looking for referrals
- Congratulate when they have a work anniversary, accomplishment, or achievement
- Wish them a happy birthday
- Follow their business page if they have one on LinkedIn
- Any type of engagement that expresses your interest in their business and brand is encouraged
While you’re prospecting using LinkedIn it’s important to stay consistent and motivated as it’s easy to drop off if a routine isn’t in place. We recommend dedicating 15-30 minutes of time at least 2x per week towards prospecting, posting, and engaging on the platform. The more time you spend on the platform, the better your results will be.