How to Use LinkedIn to Prepare for a Client Meeting
Say that your initial conversations with your LinkedIn prospects have gone well and you have been granted a meeting with a potential client to make your pitch. Whereas you may have already used LinkedIn to gain more information about the specific person, you can now get details about the specific industry, the company, and the company’s potential response to your business pitch.
Here are some tips on gathering information about the company:
Try to get an informational interview with someone at the target company, preferably with someone you know. Check your LinkedIn network to see whether you have a first-degree connection or second-degree network member at the company you’re planning to pitch to. Ask that person to help you gather information about the company, and try to get some insights into company priorities and culture.
Also see what you can learn about the company’s top motivation in purchasing decisions — what priorities or issues the company considers before buying something from a vendor. If you don’t have a direct contact, look at the groups you’re a member of for any potential contacts, or read up on LinkedIn members who might have mentioned the target company in some way.
Visit the LinkedIn Company page to review recent company activities. When you look at the Company page, you see sections such as New Hires, Recent Tweets, or Recent Blog Posts. Peruse these sections before your meeting with your potential buyer to find out who has been promoted or hired, the key statistics of that company, open job listings at the company, and even the most popular employee profiles.
Doing so gives you more background information and therefore more confidence; also, this type of knowledge helps you identify interests or commonalities to enhance your sense of connection with your buyer (and hers with you).
Use LinkedIn to get advice from the community at large or your network. Search the channels within LinkedIn Pulse to see what is happening in your target field or company, or to find out how to approach companies in your industry.
If you don’t find anything directly related to what you’re searching for, you can search for and join LinkedIn Groups that are related to your target field or company, and see what discussions or information are generated from other LinkedIn members.
All these efforts are meant only to prepare you and get you closer to your prospect or target company so that you can make your pitch. Obviously, to complete the sale, you still need to have a compelling product, pitch, and offer for this company. Have everything ready before you approach your prospect.
Take the information you’ve learned; lay it out and organize it around the company, the person you’re meeting, and the opportunity you’re trying to gain; and prepare any potential questions (along with your answers to those questions) that may come up during the meeting.