In this post, our focus is going to be LinkedIn sales prospecting. Prospecting is what allows us to find the right people to connect with. Because we don’t want to connect with just anyone. We want to connect with those that can help us–and that we can help in return.

*Just so you know, this post comes with a free worksheet to help you go from Setup to Sales Call with LinkedIn. Get the accompanying worksheet here.

Before we start sending connection requests to some of the half-billion users on LinkedIn, we’ll want to get clear on our goals and intentions, as far as this social activity goes.

Why is it important that we have goals for our LinkedIn connections?

“I want sales so what’s the problem?” You might be thinking to yourself. Yes, but social selling does complicate that a bit, as various people and prospects have told me on several occasions: I’m only LinkedIn for networking.

I can tell you from my personal experience that being unclear on my goals is something that’s impeded my own expansion in the past.

In the beginning, when I started connecting with folks on LinkedIn–first, I didn’t know it was going to work and second, I really didn’t know why I was reaching out, outside of a general sense of desperation. I was just stuck in a roach hotel in a new city, the city of Denver, without any connections or direction. I had applied to over 425 different positions with no results.

It was ridiculous.

But as I began to develop success with my LinkedIn connecting abilities and actually got important people in marketing to sit down with me, I regularly felt dumbfounded as to what I should do next.

I want to help you skip those issues. So let’s get into how you can set your goals and intentions correctly for connecting with folks on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Sales Prospecting: Developing Goals and Intentions For LinkedIn

What Impact Do I Want To Make?

Think of setting up your whole LinkedIn journey as putting in a destination into your GPS. When you’re driving in your car, you don’t just get in your car hoping you’ll get someplace, right? You set your GPS and you say, ‘I want to go to this restaurant,’ or ‘I want to go visit my friend in the city.’ You set your destination.

In the same way, you want an end goal for the connections you’re seeking to make on LinkedIn.

For the sake of full disclosure, I had originally written this question down as “how much do I want to make?” but then wiser heads helped me realize money isn’t what really motivates any of us. None of us wants money for money’s sake. Instead we seek some sort of outcome.

For you, this might look like Significance, which might translate to…

“I want to work with the world’s top business coaches because I believe I can make the biggest impact being surrounded by that level of excellence and ambition.”

Maybe you believe you can impact the most people by Being the Best Giver, which might translate to…

“I want to work as a successful freelance data scientist for national nonprofits so that I can help organizations that give so much maximize their own impact by making sense of their numbers.”

Then again, perhaps your focus is Security and you believe you could make the greatest impact inside of a well-funded legacy institution. This might translate to…

“I want to work as a virtual Co-CFO for large companies that may need the support so that I may provide for my own team, stakeholders, and family.”

Once you’re able to articulate this and write it down, don’t be surprised if potential opportunities and people you should meet pop into your head. Once they do, we can think about….

What is my purpose for connecting?

Like I mentioned earlier, when I started connecting with people on LinkedIn, I was lost as to my purpose.

This only served to waste the time of people with whom I sought to connect. And as the great writer/poet/diplomat Dante Algheri put it:

I actually ended up going into a coffee meeting with a well-to-do marketing agency founder clueless. This guy was well-connected and was the president of one of the top marketing associations in the area.

I had gone to a bit of trouble in order to impress him, bought a pink box of famous Voodoo Donuts, drove over an hour and a half so he wouldn’t be inconvenienced,and wore my smartest sport coat.

However, when he looked straight at me and asked, with a bit of irritation in his voice, “What do you want? Why are we meeting?” I didn’t look so smart.

This guy was irritated with me because I was there, good-looking as I was, wasting his time.

So, answer, what do you want?

Some possible answers that might resonate with you,

My purpose for connecting is to…

  • see if this person might want my product/service.
  • do some market research.
  • see if this person can introduce me to possible customers.
  • learn about potential work/business opportunities in their industry.

How might I help them?

While you likely have some burning need in the back of your mind at any given moment pushing you to reach out and connect with new people, don’t forget that each of these people has their own pressing needs. Think about how you might help them.

2 Easy Ways To Help:

Listen. Just honestly listen. None of us feels over-appreciated in our lives. Your listening to any given individual may be the greatest gift they’ll receive all quarter. They may not have anyone else to talk to. Sounds like a stretch? Remember, Linked recently shared,

Nearly half of respondents to a nationwide survey by health insurer Cigna say they always or sometimes feel alone, and 54% say they feel no one knows them well.

Another simple and straightforward way to help others is to open up your rolodex. Make helpful connections on their behalf. Recommend people, groups, and resources that might help or solve issues they’re struggling with.

This allows you to be at a little higher frequency when you’re connecting with people. We’ve all connected with people that just want something from us or wanted to see what they could get for nothing, and that’s not the kind of frequency you want to be at.

We want to make valuable connections that last.

In our next post, we’re going to cover VIP (or lead) Personas. In a previous post, we touched a little bit on determining needs through keyword research but in the next post, we’ll cover understanding this ideal VIP/Lead in-depth. I promise it will help ease connecting with VIPs and leads. See you then.

*Just so you know, this post comes with a free worksheet to help you go from Setup to Sales Call with LinkedIn. Get the accompanying worksheet here.