How to Research Prospects on LinkedIn to Improve Sales

After you identify your prospects on LinkedIn, spend some time familiarizing yourself with them before you contact them. Gleaning some insight about a potential buyer can go a long way toward getting the person to respond, taking the time to listen to your pitch, and ultimately buying your product. Following are some tips concerning specific ways to research your prospective clients:

  • Read the prospect’s full profile to discover all you can about his interests, likes, dislikes, and so on. You can do far more than simply scan a person’s profile looking for past jobs and view her education to see whether she shares an alma mater with you. A person’s LinkedIn profile can be a gold mine of information about that person.

    For example, people may include links to their own websites, blogs, or company websites. Follow those links, especially to blogs or personal websites, and see what you can find out. In the prospect’s profile, look over the Interests section and the Additional Information section. And don’t forget the Contact Settings section — here’s where you can find out under what circumstances this person wants to be contacted.

  • Read your prospect’s recommendations for other people. You can gain a lot of insight by seeing what qualities a person likes to praise in other people. In this way, you also gain insight into the people he trusts, so check those people who received a recommendation to see whether you have a connection to any of them. If so, ask that person first for an introduction to your prospect.

  • See the activity your prospect has on LinkedIn. If you pull up someone’s profile, look for a section on his profile page below the summary box called Activity and scroll through that section to see updates and articles that person published, along with status updates, articles he liked or shared, and topics he follows. You might gain some insight into this person’s preferences and “hot button issues.”

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