Following up on my two previous blog posts, How To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile and How To Use LinkedIn to Generate Sales Leads, I now continue onto this 3rd post giving you my top set of questions to ask when qualifying prospects on LinkedIn.
This process requires a series of steps that need to be taken, allowing you to evaluate if something positive will come out of this lead or not worth pursuing. It is a very similar process to the one that researchers use when analyzing data gathered, allowing them to draw conclusions or theories and plan for what comes next.
I usually like to approach this by imagining that I meet a group of people in a seminar or conference. I walk into the room, introduce myself and listen to others speak about who they are, what they do, whom they know, what their position is, what their current challenges are, what their goal is, and so on.
However, when you are researching on LinkedIn to qualify prospects, it is done quite differently. The best approach that worked for me is to open your notepad, jot down the below list of questions, and start your research on LinkedIn to get as many questions answered. Remember that the best way to do this is to ask questions, lots of questions, more questions—the who, the what, the how, the when, and most importantly, the why.
Identifying if you have the right prospect is straightforward. The prospect must have authority, budget, and the need for your service or product. Qualifying may also address the need's timing and the consequences if this need is not met.
So are you ready? How do you find the right kind of customers to grow your business? First, you need an effective qualifying process. Here are some of the most useful questions to ask:
Do you want to probe to find out if this person could be a potential client? Questions you can ask yourself are:
On LinkedIn, the challenge for many people needs to answer these questions outside the context of a conversation. You need to assess what you’re reading to decide if they are a potential client, someone with influence, or what or whom you have in common.
Once you have asked and answered these questions, you will find that some of the people on your lead list will be scratched out, and some you will want to continue to pursue now that you have qualified them through the answers to the above questions.
Let me note that the longer you’ve been in sales or business development, the better you are at asking the right questions, knowing how to interpret the answers, and knowing what to do next.)
So you have filtered your lead list down, and you now have some names, contact information, industry-related information, and some connections. Now, here comes the tricky part. How do you start the conversation? What do you write in that email or message? What are you going to say if you are calling them? How do you break the ice? What techniques can you use?
Here are some ideas:
Before you do this, however, do make sure that your LinkedIn profile is as spick-and-span as possible because before anyone answers anything you send them, they are totally going to check you out. They will want to know who you are, what you do, how long you have been doing it for, whom you know, whom you are connected to, what you post, where you post, and so on. It only makes sense that you have to have yourself positioned as the expert if you want to connect with someone. At the end of the day, why would anyone want to give you some of their time if they do not feel beneficial to them? Why would they? Would you if the table was turned?
I would love to hear your comments on how this works out for you. Would you please let me know? Are there any other questions that you feel are important to be added to this list? What questions would you ask?
Enjoy the moment and good luck.