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LinkedIn Guide: How to Prospect More Effectively

How to Prospect Effectively with LinkedIn


Social selling is a vital part of prospecting. Did you know 78% of social sellers outsell their peers who do not use social media? It's no wonder why LinkedIn is such a powerful tool to utilize when it comes to social selling and prospecting.


LinkedIn is a place where business professionals worldwide can come together, connect, share ideas, and build professional relationships. For sales reps, it's the perfect place where they can relate to their prospects on a more casual yet still professional level. It is an outlet where salespeople can grab the attention of decision-makers without hitting their inboxes or voicemail.


Everything you need to know about social selling successfully on LinkedIn


Our guide covers the following topics:

  1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator Basics
  2. Capturing and Exporting your LinkedIn Connections
  3. Getting Prospects to Accept your Connection Requests
  4. Prospecting your Connections
  5. Leverage InMail More Effectively


LinkedIn Sales Navigator Basics

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a premium version of LinkedIn used as a research tool for prospecting. It is designed especially with sales professionals in mind. Sales reps can live off LinkedIn Sales Navigator to gain insight into their prospects. 

Many research tools used for prospecting can only make assumptions or outdated conclusions about your prospects. Whereas the data on LinkedIn is coming straight from the source since it is user-operated. Therefore, you have the most current and accurate information on your prospects.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows its users to get more advanced features than the basic LinkedIn tool and build an isolated feed of their prospects and target accounts. This way, sales reps can stay up to date and know what their targets are up to.


Features that LinkedIn Sales Navigator possesses that LinkedIn Basic does not:

  • Advanced Filtering
  • More search results per page
  • See your customer's/partner's connections
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator Gmail Extension
  • The ease of finding new accounts/leads

To have these features further explained in our blog post, Why You Should Buy LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

The best sales reps utilize LinkedIn Sales Navigator and social media in their prospecting. They know how to connect between the things their prospects interact with and build relationships with their prospects.


Capturing and Exporting your Connections

There are several methods and tools that you can use to capture leads from LinkedIn and export them to files or your CRM of choice. The most effective, time-saving tool we guessed it… LeadIQ!

Here is how to capture and export your leads from LinkedIn using LeadIQ.


How to Capture Leads from LinkedIn

Let's say you have a post on LinkedIn about prospecting during the pandemic. This post has a large number of engagements. How would you go about capturing the likes on your post using LeadIQ?


This short clip shows you how to capture LinkedIn likes using LeadIQ.


It's simple. When you click on your post's likes with the LeadIQ chrome extension open, the app will mirror the individuals who liked your post inside the LeadIQ extension. You can capture them all in one click with the "capture" button at the bottom of the list. With one more click, they are all exported to your CRM.


How to Export Your LinkedIn Leads

Exporting contacts off LinkedIn using LeadIQ is easy. You can even export your entire LinkedIn network with one click!


6 Steps to export contacts off LinkedIn:

  1. Click on "My Network" tab and then click "See all Connections".
  2. Click on "Manage Synced and Imported Contact".
  3. Click on "Export Contacts".
  4. Select "Desired Files" and click "Request Archive".
  5. Open your email and use the download link.
  6. Download.

To learn about these steps in more detail, we've created this handy post, How To Export Any LinkedIn Contact.


Getting Prospects to Accept your Connection Requests

Never send your prospect a connection request without a note. All they have is your name, photo, and occupation to figure out who you are. And I would bet they have no idea who you are. So why would they accept the request?

You need to incorporate a note with your requests to set the tone and make an excellent first impression.


3 Tips to Get Prospects to Accept your LinkedIn Requests:

  1. Always include a personal note and personalize it.
  2. Don't pitch in your request.
  3. Combo your connection requests with another channel, like email.


Including a personalized personal note

If you don't include a personal touch to your connection request, I promise you that you will not stand out from the 20 other requests your prospect has received that day. This prospect will have to judge you on your name, photo, and occupation. They don't know you? Declined.

With no personal message and a sales-related title, you have very little chance this prospect will accept your connection request.

So how do you personalize your requests? Think of it as a cold email; show you've done your research. Incorporating triggers is an excellent way to add a personalized touch.


John Barrows from JBarrows Sales Training explains triggers in this short clip and how you can go about using them in your prospecting.


Maybe your prospect commented on a post of a mutual connection or shared an interesting post related to the problem they're facing. Did the prospect do something different or unique? These are all triggers.


Combo with another channel

One of the best ways to utilize connection requests is as one touchpoint while syncing it to another method.

For example, you send a connection request to a prospect with a personalized note and mention that you will give them a call tomorrow. Your next step would be calling up the prospect and referencing your connection request note in your cold call. Or, if the prospect doesn't answer, lead with that in your voicemail.

Another example would be doing this in reverse order. You can start by leaving a voicemail or sending a cold email and then sending a connection request referencing that you just left a voicemail/email.

For more tips on getting prospects to accept your connection requests, read our post, How to Get Prospects to Accept Your LinkedIn Connection Requests.


Prospecting your Connections

So, you have that post about prospecting during a pandemic with many engagements. You see a person or two who fits your target, maybe an account you've been trying to break into or a lost opportunity. Great, now you have an excuse to reach out to them.


Short clip of Ryan O'Hara explaining how he goes about prospecting off his LinkedIn engagements.


Having the LeadIQ extension open while you are browsing LinkedIn, you speed up the process it would take to go manually find and put that information into Salesforce or whatever CRM you are using.

All you have to do is go down to the post, click on the Likes button, and have LeadIQ open. All these people are going to populate in the extension. Then you can put those people right into the different tools/systems you use.

You will get the contact data needed to reach out and the connection piece to why you are reaching out. Now, you can put them into a cadence or sequence, and all you have to do is say, "Hey X, I saw you liked my post about prospecting during the pandemic."

Boom. There's your personalization piece for email one. You saved yourself time and effort. You can now use your time more efficiently and do all those things you usually can't do… like connecting with more prospects!


Leverage InMail More Effectively

On average, sponsored InMail has a 52% open rate. According to MailChimp's data, that's more than double the average open rate for email campaigns, 21.3%. Imagine what the open rate would look like for personalized messages?

If you're looking for a way to break through to leads, InMail is a perfect way. It's considered far more exclusive them a regular email. In fact, InMail has a response rate of 10-25%.


3 Tips to utilize InMail


Create a unique subject line

It's all about a good subject line. Think about InMail subject lines as you would if writing a cold email. Remember, a good subject line is vague enough to draw an open and relates to the body of the email.

They shouldn't look like mass marketing emails, and they shouldn't look like they can be sent out to multiple people in one touch. 3-4 word subject lines will work wonders. You could even mention their first and last name in the subject line to show this was meant for them and only them.


Keep your message short and simple

Your prospects are busy. Nobody will take the time and read a long message from someone they don't even know. Don't waste their time. You won't get a response if you do.

Keep your message short, sweet, and to the point. The rule of thumb for a cold email is to keep the length close to one smartphone size. Try to keep the same mentality with InMail, if not even shorter.

Avoid using business speak and buzz words. The point of InMail isn't to get all of your information across at once. How can you help this person with a problem they knowingly or unknowingly face? Resonate with them without explaining every feature you offer. Entice them, and make them curious enough to respond, asking to learn more.


Do your research, and personalize it like a cold email

Research suggests that a personalized message rather than an overused template can result in a 15% increase in response rate.

Again, think of personalizing InMail like you would a cold email. You're following the same mentality, but it can be a bit less elaborative this time. This personalization could be as simple as sharing a mutual connection or referencing a post they recently made.

The important thing is that you show you've done your research, proving that you are human and not sending this message to 100 other people. If your prospect feels the message was intended solely for them, they will feel more entitled to respond to you.

For even more tips on effectively using InMail, click here.



We all know how powerful of a tool LinkedIn is. It's a place where people worldwide can come together and build professional relationships. It's also a place where you can find solutions to your problems.

For sales reps who aren't using LinkedIn to the capacity you should, I hope you learned a thing or two from this guide and apply it to your prospecting. Happy hunting!