A Fast (and Easy) Way to Chat Up New B2B Prospects Online

Looking for more B2B sales leads online?

There are 500 million of them sitting over on LinkedIn, which continues to add two new members to the platform every single second.

The secret to mastering LinkedIn for sales, however, lies in this helpful (and often ignored) feature hidden inside LinkedIn’s powerful internal search engine.

First, a bit of background: LinkedIn indexes every piece of content its members create – from user profile data to blog posts and status updates – with keywords that you can leverage for your own specific business development needs.

LinkedIn = B2B Prospecting Power

The best way to go B2B prospecting online right now is to use LinkedIn’s massive internal search engine like Google for professionals.

Because LinkedIn indexes every piece of content and word published on the site, you can search the platform using keywords and phrases (just like Google) to find what you’re looking for.

Even better, you can filter your LinkedIn Search results to display people, blog posts, status updates, company names, job openings or other professional topics based around those keywords or phrases you entered.

When you understand the power of real-time, 1-on-1 personalization using the data available at any given moment on LinkedIn, that’s when your B2B prospecting goes to a whole new level.

Feeling Minnesota

For example, it could be as simple as entering in a location (Minnesota), seeing someone bemoaning the weather there (a common occurrence!) in a status update, and adding a comment to his or her post.

Using LinkedIn Search for Leads

Even better, if this person seems like a potential sales lead or a good fit for your product or service, you can reach out and connect with him or her using the “Minnesota weather” angle as a personal note in your invitation.

From that point forward, you can then begin to move your new connection (whom you’ve already broken the ice with!) through your normal LinkedIn lead generation and sales cycle.

(Related: How to win new business on LinkedIn.)

How to Search for Posts

In order to utilize this approach with LinkedIn Search, it’s important to step into the shoes of your customer and think like he or she would.

Ask yourself this question: What would my ideal client or prospect type into Google when looking for content, tips or help related to a specific topic?

Try and reverse-engineer the common topics, trends or thoughts your ideal clients have when searching for content or help online, and plug those terms into LinkedIn Search.

Next, filter by “Posts” and see what shows up.

You can even try and search for terms like city names, state names or other markers to find people “talking” about those topics on LinkedIn. (See the “Minnesota” example screenshot included in this post.)

It’s important to note, the way LinkedIn seems to filter its “Post” Search results depends on (A) If any of your 1st or 2nd level connections are sharing posts or status updates that include those search terms, and then (B) It widens the search to anyone on LinkedIn using those search terms in an blog post or status update.

Keep in mind, the “Post” Search results can return both blog posts others are creating that have your keywords and quick status updates someone fires off.

Both are great opportunities to engage someone in their online living room, and use the content of their status update or blog post as context to begin a 1-on-1 conversation.

See if you can add to the discussion, ideally by answering a question or adding a dose of your own wisdom that helps demonstrate your expertise in the area.

LinkedIn & Real-Time Leads

The idea is simple – you engage others around a topic they’re talking about, and you do it in a way that isn’t sales-y, sleazy or spammy. Rather, you add to the conversation, sharing your thoughts, answering questions or asking additional questions to keep the discussion going.

(Related: How To Sell on LinkedIn.)

Make sure you take some time today to experiment with LinkedIn Searches that you filter by “Posts,” and be creative with your search terms and topics!

If you do, you’re likely going to find some warm leads and conversation opportunities waiting for you.