Episode 97: Who Knows Your Prospects on LinkedIn
The one and only LinkedIn Whisperer, Brynne Tillman, is back again with the LinkedIn Sherpa, Bob Woods, to teach you five different yet highly effective methods to find who among your network knows your prospects on LinkedIn.
Learn how to navigate each method in simple, straightforward steps and start leveraging your connections to get into that sought-after initial sales conversation with your prospects.
Bob Woods 00:00
Hey, Greetings, and welcome to Making Sales Social Live! I’m Bob Woods and with me today is the LinkedIn Whisperer, Brynne Tillman. What’s going on, Brynne?
Brynne Tillman 00:10
Hi, Bob, not much or a lot. So I’m not sure, but having a lot of fun. Noticed a couple of new changes in LinkedIn that are coming up — not what we’re talking about today, but you know, spending my time investigating for sure.
Bob Woods 00:24
Yeah, it’s always an investigation. It’s almost like a new crime scene every day, except it’s good stuff. So yeah, definitely. Speaking of LinkedIn, let’s talk about who knows your prospects on LinkedIn.
Welcome to Making Sales Social LIVE! As we share LinkedIn and social selling training strategies and tips that will have an immediate impact on your business. Join Brynne Tillman, and me, Bob Woods every week, Making Sales Social Live.
Bob Woods 00:56
LinkedIn, as we all know, is all about networking. It’s been that way since it started back when I joined it in 2003. It’s also about who they or your connections know just as much, if not more than, who you know, which is especially important in this wide (unintelligible) sales that we’re involved in.
So today, we’re going to detail five different methods that you can use to find out who in your network knows them, your prospects. Also, we’re going to quickly share how to go from discovering who knows your prospect and asking for that all important initial sales conversation.
So we’re going to start wide, it’s kind of like a sales funnel, we’re going to start wide and we’re going to kind of narrow our way down as we go through it. So let’s talk about just a general search and that’s you know, we’re basically talking about going into that search bar in that search box at the upper right of every LinkedIn and just use it from there.
Brynne Tillman 01:53
So general search, what we’re doing is we are asking LinkedIn, to give us a list of people that we are already connected to that know exactly who we’re looking to meet. So the first thing, which we’re not going to spend a whole lot of time on today, is you’ve got to figure out who your ICP is. Your ideal client profile, right? So who are they and what filters do we need to use, in order to find them. It could be location, it could be industry, it might be by title but once you’ve honed that in, you can search your entire network to find out who knows them by using a second-degree filter.
So a simple search inside of LinkedIn — when you click on the Search bar, you hit enter, and you go to All Filters, one of the filters is a Relationship button, they have first and second. So in this particular case, we hit second, complete all those other filters, and hit enter. And then LinkedIn looks at all of the connections of all of our connections, and those that match show in a list.
So if we are looking to meet, let’s say, CEOs in the marketing and advertising in the New York area, you add all of those filters and a second-degree filter, and now you’re going to identify who in your network knows those people.
Now, at the end of all of what we’re talking about, our list of how we’re going to teach you how to do this, as Bob said, we’ll teach you what to say once we’ve identified those, but ultimately, with these folks, it’s about leveraging our existing relationships. Who do we know well that we can ask for either introductions or permission to name-drop?
Bob Woods 03:51
Exactly. So I mean, even, you know, even just starting out just with that little nugget about, you know, let’s just search everyone, there are so many potential people that you can draw from because you’re using those additional filters. You’re just not scrolling through pages and pages and pages of information, essentially. So, you know, using filters, even with a general search, can really let you hone in on those people so that you can locate exactly who you’re looking for.
Brynne Tillman 04:17
Chris had a question on this that I really love: “What if there are two people that know that person, or three people?” So there are a few things that we can do. One, we can just choose one, the one that we’re closest to and ask. Or you can drop all of them in quick little message. And I guess I’m jumping ahead versus waiting until the end but because the strategy really is, you know, “Chris, I noticed you are connected to Bob Woods on LinkedIn. I’m looking to reach out to him in the next couple of days but before I do, I’m wondering how well do you know him and do you have any insights that you might be able to share?” Then I go, “Steven, I noticed you’re connected to Bob Woods on LinkedIn and I’m going to be reaching out to him in the next couple of days, but before…”
So you can send that message to three, four, or five people. We’re not asking for a call. We’re just asking how well do you know them? And do you have any insights that you’d be able to offer? So there are times where I have 30 shared connections and I go through and I find six or seven, and I send that message to all of them. And two or three come back going, “Oh, yeah, he’s my fraternity buddy, or I worked with him a few years ago. He’s a great guy.” And those are the people that we then want to start a conversation with, like, you know, “That’s great. I love it. Are you open to chatting for just five minutes where I can learn a little bit more?” So when I reach out, the end of that conversation, right. So I get on the call with Chris and Chris is like, “Bob, he’s a great guy. I’ve worked with him for years.” Right? “Awesome. When I reach out to Bob, can I mention we chatted?” and that’s why we want to get on that call. Or you can even say, “Great, Chris, when I reach out to Bob, should I tell him you said hello?”
“So Bob, Chris and I were chatting and your name came up in our conversation, and he says hello.” is going to like really create an immediate connection with your prospect.
Bob Woods 06:13
I love it. And we got two points down in one thing. So that’s even better. So now you not only know how to do a general search but going from that discovery, who knows your prospect, asking for the initial sales conversation and even the step before that. The second one we’re going to talk about now is searching by the client or prospect name, which is really good too.
Brynne Tillman 06:36
Yeah. So in that same search, when you hit enter, and you go to All Filters, right under Relationship will say Connections of, so I could go in there and I could go Bob Woods, and then I go down and I see CEOs in United States, in marketing and advertising or whatever industries could be many industries does he know and now I can reach out to Bob with the seven or 10 people that he knows because what we’re asking LinkedIn to do is here’s our ICP, our ideal prospects and how many of these people does Bob know? Or is Bob connected to?
So I have this list and I say, “Hey, Bob, hope you’re doing well, I noticed you’re connected to quite a few people that I’m going to be reaching out to on LinkedIn. Before I do, I’m wondering, do you have like seven minutes where you can jump on a quick Zoom and I can run these names by you and maybe you could provide some insights?” This is great for your clients. This is great for networking partners, anyone that you have a good rapport with or relationship with and you can always open it up to them. “And please feel free to look through my connections as well.”
Bob Woods 07:50
Reciprocity, it’s important.
Brynne Tillman 07:54
Yeah, absolutely. So now we have this list. I run a list of let’s say, 20 names by Bob, six of them are people that he knows well and says, “This would be great.” And now when we get permission to say, “Hey, when I reach out, Bob, can I use your name?” And then I reached out to each of them and “Bob Woods and I were chatting and your name came up in conversation,” and half of them will convert to calls, and the other half you’ll nurture over time. And over time, they may convert later on.
Bob Woods 08:22
Next one is searching by referral partner names. So speaking of networking and things like that, this is where all that really comes together.
Brynne Tillman 08:31
So I mean, I think that’s the — did we say, client, the first one? Did I just mush them together?
Bob Woods 08:37
You might have mushed both of those together because actually, it’s, you know, it’s gonna be a pretty similar process between client and referral partners. So yeah, so you know, insert in your mind there, whether it’s client or referral partner but it’s essentially the same thing, which actually then gets us to number four, which is a slightly different angle.
Brynne Tillman 08:57
Let me just add one piece to it, if that’s okay. So networking partners. Before you meet for coffee, before you meet on Zoom, before you go to lunch, reach out with a little note, “Hey, Bob, I’m really looking forward to meeting you for coffee next week. Feel free to look through my LinkedIn connections and make a list of people that you might want to meet. And if it’s okay with you, I’ll do the same and we can review the list when we’re together.” And now you do that search the same way, right? You do that search connections up, you build your list, you whittle it down to a few.
Okay, now let’s go to number four. Oh, wait, there’s a question here from Dwanda, “How do you keep your contacts from fishing your network with unsolicited messages?” So you can’t completely but the first thing I would say is build a purposeful network, one that you communicate. When you have the perspective of being a LION, a LinkedIn open networker, what happens is you’ve got all these connections that you have no relationship or rapport with.
When you have relationships with your connections, they’re less likely to do this to you but it’s not completely unheard of. I mean, I’ve had people reach out and use my name without my permission. And it’s kind of icky. When someone reaches out to me and they drop someone else’s name, before I respond, I go to the other person, I’ll say, “Hey, Bob, Chris just reached out to me, mentioned your name. Is that someone you recommend or refer? Or is this… Do you put your name behind him before I had this conversation?”
And he would say, “Of course, Chris is a great guy.” But there are on occasion where you would get like, “Hmm.” You can’t completely avoid it and that’s part of the risk of social media, right? You might get another LinkedIn trainer that would tell you, you can avoid it by closing down your connections but we never recommend that because this is a networking platform. So although that’s a solution, it gets in the way of growing your business as well.
Bob Woods 11:11
Absolutely, absolutely. So that’s why you know, your connection base is like your tribe. You have to protect your tribe. You got to protect your house, as they say in sports. And so you know, that’s why being very purposeful about who you accept in and hopefully the other people are also being very (unintelligible), who they accept and should rent — excuse me, a lot of that, I could have prevented all of it, but should prevent a lot of that.
Brynne Tillman 11:35
Yeah. Now Chris asked, “How can you develop relationships for those connections that I don’t know at all?” So we talk a lot about taking inventory whether you export your connections or search your first-degree connections. And we want to start with value. We don’t want to reconnect with them with a pitch.
Maybe you have a poll that you invite them to vote on. Maybe you ask them their opinion on something, maybe you listen to a podcast that would be relevant to them in their world. And you reach out and let you know, “I thought of you when I heard this podcast, here are some of the takeaways. Love to hear your thoughts.” Start a real conversation with them that’s not about selling to them.
Bob Woods 12:16
Precisely. So let’s next go to searching by company. So again, this is a slightly different way to do it but if you do this, along with everything else that we’ve talked about, you’re definitely going to expand your pool of potential people that you can reach out to. So Brynne?
Brynne Tillman 12:32
So search by company, this is absolutely one of my favorite features in LinkedIn and it’s relatively new in the free. And weirdly, what I’m about to say, it used to be a function in Sales Navigator, and it’s no longer, so this is a better search feature in free LinkedIn than in Sales Navigator. We’re going to talk about Sales Navigator in a little while.
Company Search, if you want to find companies, well, there’s two ways to do this. Companies that you already have a first-degree in, when you click on that search bar and hit Enter, click on Companies and All Filters. Or if you click on All Filters, there’s a drop down where you can choose companies, then you can identify what industries and company size that you like to prospect, and then go all the way down and there’s a first-degree relationship button. That will give you a list of every company that’s represented in your connections. So you can look through and that meets the criteria of companies you want to work with. So it’s a very powerful search that has a huge impact on prospecting.
The other thing that you can do from a social proximity inside of that account, is you can look up the company, click on Employees and filter down first- and second-degrees. So that filter that I just talked about is only your first degree but if we want to see second-degrees who knows our prospects, we can do that by company. So before I go to Chris’ question, is there anything you want to add to that?
Bob Woods 14:13
Yeah, no, there’s nothing really to add to that, you know, except for that it’s powerful, and it does give you another really good way, you know, like I said, it’s, you know, it’s kind of like taking a little bit of a detour off of that main path. But still, you know, sometimes you can actually do better when you take detours, and this is definitely one of those areas.
Brynne Tillman 14:33
Awesome. So Chris asked, “Should I delete the ones that are not in my business?” And the answer is probably not, but not definitely not. They may not be in your business but they may know people in your business. And so the social proximity is not just the first-degrees but it’s the second-degrees.
If you come across someone that you don’t know how you connected, they’re not in your business, send them a quick little note and just say, “Hey, John, we’ve been connected on LinkedIn for some time yet I don’t think we’ve ever really talked. I’m using LinkedIn for networking, can I ask you how you’re using LinkedIn and if you think that there’s some value in us being connected?” Let it go a few days and then if they don’t respond, they’re not going to be responsive, maybe even go a week. And then you could delete them if you really don’t think there’s an opportunity there. But recognize every time you delete them, you’re also deleting the power of the extended network. So, you know, I would say, each one is an individual decision on who makes sense and doing some (crosstalk).
Bob Woods 15:42
Yeah. And never forget that you don’t know who they know. And that’s even people off of LinkedIn. I mean, you know, this person may not know anyone directly on LinkedIn but that’s just because they’re not connected. They may have a huge network of people who they’re just not connected with on LinkedIn, but they can still help you (unintelligible) too, so you know, like Brynne said, though, it’s a very individual, you know, by each individual case decision.
Brynne Tillman 16:09
Asked and answered, awesome. All right, what next? Is that everything?
Bob Woods 16:13
Yeah, Sales Navigator.
Brynne Tillman 16:17
Yeah. So here’s the thing, Sales Navigator has some amazing search tools that can really drill down to the exact right people that you want to meet. So while the concept is still the same, right, like, who knows who we want to know, so we’re searching with second-degree connections, or we’re searching individual people, we can really drill down with incredible filters, like who’s posted in the last 30 days. Those are active people on LinkedIn and you have a much higher chance of responses when they’re active, right, because they’re hanging out. It also gives you an opportunity to engage with them before you reach out. Another one is new job in the last 90 days, depending on what you sell, or what you do. These people are much more open to having a conversation when they’re new in a position because they’re looking for new and innovative ideas.
Bob Woods 17:16
So especially if they were brought in to change things.
Brynne Tillman 17:19
Right. Absolutely. Yep. Well, this went really fast.
Bob Woods 17:23
This went fast. A lot of good little nuggets in there though for everyone. And thanks again, everyone for joining us on Making Sales Social Live! If you’re with us live on LinkedIn right now, we do this every week, so keep an eye out for us. If you’re listening to us on our podcast, if you haven’t subscribed already, we’d like you to do so. So hit that Subscribe or Follow button depending on what you’re listening to us on.
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Brynne Tillman 18:14
Social! Bye guys.
Bob Woods 18:17
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