How to Use LinkedIn to Find the Decision Maker
Although generating a list of potential leads from your LinkedIn contacts is a great first step in marketing your product, LinkedIn offers you the tools to skip over middlemen and go right to a potential client’s decision maker. Effective salesmanship often comes down to finding that right person whom you can present with an offer to buy something. This person is the decision maker (or the final authority, or even just da boss).
You can talk to as many administrative assistants and receptionists as you’d like, but without the exact name or contact info of the person who makes the purchasing decisions, your sales effort is stalled.
LinkedIn can help you reach that decision maker in the following ways:
When you perform an advanced search, include words like Account Manager, Director, or Vice President in the Keywords field: If your results show someone who’s in your extended network, now you have a specific name to mention when you call the company.
Use the LinkedIn Company Profile pages to find out specific information about your target company. If you’re trying to reach someone within a company you want to target, see whether that person has a Company Profile page.
To do so, click the word Companies on the top navigation bar and select Find Companies from the drop-down menu that appears so you can search through LinkedIn’s company pages.
You will immediately see who in your network works for this company, so you know whom to approach to pass along your request to the decision maker, or to tell you who that decision maker is.
Be sure to scroll down the rest of the page, too, to see other useful information, such as new hires, recent tweets, blog updates, promotions and changes, and open job listings for the company. You can then follow that company to see all its new updates and information as part of your LinkedIn News Feed, for example. At the top right of every company page is a button you can click that reads Follow Company.
Use your existing network to ask for an Introduction or to point you in the right direction. Using your network in this manner was basically the original intent of LinkedIn: you contact someone who works at your target company and ask that contact to introduce you to the decision maker.
The decision maker is much more likely to receive an Introduction than a cold call. Your network connection might also serve as a recommendation of you to the decision maker, which will carry some weight when you try to close the deal.
Use InMail to contact people close to the decision maker. You may find that, in some cases, the decision maker may not be on LinkedIn yet, or his or her profile is closed to Introductions and InMail. In such a case, you can use LinkedIn to find the closest person to the decision maker and ask that person for help, a connection, or information to help you reach the next level.
Use InMail to contact the decision maker, if he is on LinkedIn. This is a faster option than waiting or asking for an Introduction, but there is the chance the decision maker will ignore your message. You have to decide what’s best for your situation.