When LinkedIn first launched, it was a digital resume. You had a professional headshot. You listed your experience. And… that was really it. Today, the platform has 900 million members and can be one of the most powerful tools for reaching potential buyers.
At its core, LinkedIn has always been a networking platform, and remembering that is the secret to success for sellers.
On this episode of B2B Power Hour, we’re on a mission to figure out how to master your research on LinkedIn. What do you look for in a profile? How do you increase message reply rates? How can you make sure your messaging aligns with buyer passions?
Turns out, there are generally three types of profiles. Company-centric profiles likely have a professional headshot and lots of info about the company they work for — essentially a digital resume. Product-centric profiles have a little more personality and usually share content around a very specific category. Personal pages dive into who the person really is, exploring what they’re passionate about and using more emotional language.
One profile type isn’t necessarily better than the other. But you, as the seller, need to research and figure out where your prospective buyer’s profile fits so you can align your outreach messaging properly.
What are their personal passions? What topics are they industry experts on? Do any of your passions align with theirs? These questions will help you open up the door to a conversation.
We also break down what top-performing messages look like and what themes to focus on based on buyer profiles. Tune in to learn about the profile sections to pay close attention to, what language to look for, and what likes, comments, and shares all mean for your messaging.
B2B Power Plays
Top takeaways from this week’s conversation
➡️Know the three types of LinkedIn profiles
How prospects set up their profiles will be crucial to how you personalize your outreach. In general, there are three profile types:
- Company-centric: Look for a professional headshot and a lot of information about the company they work for. They don’t share a lot of information about who they are as a person but place a heavy focus on their industry experience. They’re likely sharing lots of company-specific content in their feed.
- Product-centric: These people are trying to sell you immediately, starting with their profile headline. You get a gut feeling that they’re going to push a product on you from the jump.
- Personal: These people are eager for learning and development. Their activity shows that they regularly engage with other influencers on the platform by liking or commenting on their posts. They share helpful articles with their connections and might even incorporate some of their personal passions into the profile.
Zero in on profile pictures, profile summaries, activity feeds, volunteering, and recommendations sections to get a feel for what type of profile they have. This helps you determine what they really care about, how likely they are to buy, and how you should go about messaging them.
📨Use the right message themes in your outreach
Once you know the profile type, you’re ready to think about messaging. Most successful sellers use a mixture of three themes on LinkedIn, and they’ve honed a strategy for spreading out those themes across the message.
The themes are pain, passion, and learning and development:
- Pain is finding a problem you could fix.
- Passion is something you could nerd out on forever.
- Learning and development is showing an eagerness to learn outside of what professional development might be available through a current job.
Nick found that the most successful sellers use a breakdown of 80% learning and development, 15% passion, and 5% pain. When you can find an avenue where you have a shared passion and a prospect also has something they can teach you, those are the foundations of a great relationship.
💭 Think: Would I say this in person?
When you’re crafting a message for LinkedIn outreach, you should think, Is this how I would approach someone at a networking event?
At its core, LinkedIn is a networking platform. You wouldn’t walk up to someone at a conference and immediately try to sell them on a product. You might compliment their watch, ask where they're from, look for a common interest, and strike up a conversation.
This is how LinkedIn should work, too. You can’t try to win with speed or automation — win with good conversation.
Inflection points from the show
[3:21] Match your prospects: The game changed for Nick when he learned the importance of using LinkedIn the same way your prospective buyers use it.
[9:45] LinkedIn profile themes: Nick breaks down the three types of profiles on LinkedIn, how to spot them, and how to make your messaging resonate with each type of user.
[18:57] Can’t-miss profile sections: Be sure to check a prospect’s experience, volunteering, and recommendations sections. You’ll learn about where they are in their current role and if you can fit with a priority of theirs.
[22:04] Top-performing messaging: Nick discovered three basic message themes during his LinkedIn research: pain, passion, and learning and development. Successful outreach balances these themes just right.
[27:22] Learn how people learn: The way people learn says a lot about how they want to be approached from a learning and development angle. It’s also a huge indicator of their willingness to change.
[30:06] Indirect relationship-building: Engage indirectly by liking a post, commenting with a helpful tip, or congratulating someone. Top sellers look for shared passions with their buyers and then strike up a conversation.
[38:47] The power of teaching: One powerful learning and development angle is to ask someone to teach you. This creates a very different bond than a casual conversation.
[42:02] The in-person comparison: If you met someone in person at a networking event, you wouldn’t walk up and start a sales pitch — you’d ask them where they’re from or compliment their watch. Approach LinkedIn outreach the same way.
[45:27] Slow down to speed up: In a way, sales intelligence tools have made us lazy. Having everything laid out for us limits the learning process. Slow down, think about how to have a good conversation, and go from there.
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