Have you ever wondered how to maintain flawless relationship with your prospects on LinkedIn? How to carry out nurturing LinkedIn prospects?
If so, do read further. 🙂
Imagine that you just bought a pot plant. Because a couple of years ago, I did. A bunch of pretty violets for our balcony. I thought that my wife would enjoy them immensely.
Some months ago, on my way to work, I unintentionally glanced at the local florist shop. I knew the florist always says good morning, so I smiled and waved back. Some hours later, blankly staring at the busy screen at the office, I caught myself still thinking about the florist shop and those pretty flowers I bought last time. And how none of them survived. It was entirely my fault. I never asked any questions on how to care for them, so they were left on chance. And unfortunately, they didn’t make it.
Deep down, I knew I was bad at it, and I gave it up. But, they all look so beautiful in the florist shop. Lush and swanky. Full of life and hope.
I made up my mind to give it another try. I’m definitely not a quitter. Even when it comes to flowers. And I always tend to learn from my mistakes.
So, this time, I did it differently. I asked the florist how to keep the flowers healthy and lively. So they can fulfil their blossomy potential. He gave me precise instructions. I noted them down and left.
Following the florist’s advice, the flower thrived. I couldn’t believe it.
It turns out I don’t suck at this!? I was confused. Me, a plantsman?
If I can care about a delicate flower, then probably everyone can.
Can the same be said for nurturing LinkedIn prospects? Absolutely. Especially when it comes to outreach via LinkedIn. Wondering why?
If you simply reach out to your clients, even if you have the most fragrant and juicy messages. But let them be, like I did with the violets the first time, your campaign will wither. So what have I done to my violet, so they started blooming, and showing off their grandiose colours? The answer to a great many things in life – I NURTURED THEM.
That was the click. My prospects needed attention. Nurture. I have to show them that I really care about them.
I can’t expect prospects to care about my solution and trust that it will change their lives without having a proper relationship with them. We are human beings, and we like to be heard. We like to be taken care of.
That was it. The missing link in the chain.
Obstacle 1 – getting a response
After that sudden revelation, I felt weirdly relieved.
I realised that there was so much more potential to nurturing LinkedIn prospects. So much more to be done.
People are used to treating outreach prospects identically, no matter the platform. It’s like putting the same amount of water on succulents and begonias. Let’s take my favourite outreach platforms into consideration – email and LinkedIn.
Remember the old-school cold emails – formal introduction and pitch. Once upon a time, I thought that was the right way. Unfortunately, I still encounter people who use this approach. What’s even worse, they believe that it’s LinkedIn appropriate. You can’t possibly make a mistake by being formal, right? Wrong.
I put myself in my prospects’ shoes. People approach me on LinkedIn every day – with the same boring sales pitch. I rarely answer. Why am I not answering, you ask? They don’t seem to care enough about me. They just want to sell. Then why should I waste my time on their message?
We needed to foster a whole new style. To be more human, and less salesy. But getting a response is just the first obstacle when it comes to nurturing LinkedIn prospects. And the solution is pretty straight-forward; it’s all about the type of messages you send. I have a tip that I believe you’ll find rather useful. When crafting the messages, imagine talking to somebody you know, someone you respect and someone you can help. If you do that properly, you can hardly go wrong.
The real nurture part starts when the automation and the copywriter’s job ends. If you are unsure about the copy of the messages, you can check our ebook. Once you get the first response, you stop talking to a generalised crowd and start talking to an individual.
Nurturing LinkedIn prospects – BizzBee examples
To make things easier, I thought it wise to show you a couple of examples. I always find learning is easier with practice, rather than theory. So check the images below. You’ll probably notice that patterns emerge, even though the messaging is entirely manual, or as I like to say person to person.
Patterns start to emerge when you work with various clients. That’s how I summed up the 3 main do’s and 3 don’ts when it comes to nurturing LinkedIn prospects:
Talk to a person
Even though we are B2B experts, we always prefer to talk P2P (person to person). You can’t indicate empathy if you consider yourself or the prospect as a company. Also, although LinkedIn is a business platform, it still is primarily a social network. A social network requires a chit-chatty, friendly approach. Let’s put this into a cold outreach perspective. Instead of imagining that you talk to some hard-to-get company, imagine talking to an old acquaintance.
It might sound weird to you at first. How can I listen on LinkedIn? Well, we like to think that you can actively listen whenever there is a conversation. Active listening means fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively “hearing” the message of the speaker. And that is the key. Listen to what the prospect has to say. Don’t focus on the selling, but focus on understanding their problems. After all, can you make a sale without getting your prospect to admit that they have a problem? I hardly think so. Admitting you have a problem is the prerequisite for change.
Affirmation & paraphrasing
How will your prospects know that they are being heard? After all, they can’t see your body language through LinkedIn. That’s why you need to affirm their messages. If you get tired of agreeing, or you feel like you are not authentic, you can try paraphrasing. I consider it the next level of affirmation. Paraphrasing can be quite useful for avoiding miscommunication. If you are unsure what the prospect has to say, or you are not certain that you have understood them completely, paraphrasing is the way to go.
Don’t interrogate them
Conversation is a two-way street. Peer communication is the easiest to uphold, so it’s best if you assume that position. Being a superior can sure boost your credibility, but where would it get you in the long run? Most conversations when one person assumes the position of an expert end up feeling like an interrogation. The prospect is feeling attacked and left to fend for themselves. And we don’t want that. We want to have a pleasant conversation with the prospect. We want to build a relationship. How can we do that? First of all, by asking as much open-ended questions as possible. Second, by showing that the prospect is heard and understood. After all, our job is to help them, not sell them something that won’t solve their problems.
Don’t make assumptions
While marketing is all about generalising and making assumptions, sales is a tad different. When the marketing automation stops, and you get a response, suddenly you are not talking to a bunch of people who share some common ground. You are talking to a particular person, with unique problems, fears, worldview, interests. You catch my drift, right? So it does seem a bit more complicated, but it’s also more precise and more freeing. You don’t have to guess anymore. You can simply ask. This way, you won’t make a wrong assumption or offend anyone. And by asking the right question (and listening to the answers, of course), you will make the prospect feel far more appreciated and heard. And that’s the basis of any relationship.
Don’t jump the obstacles
Are you wondering why we don’t recommend pitching your solution right away? Because there are a couple of hurdles you need to cross first. I always like to look at my service as a solution, a way of helping people. And as I’m sure, many psychologists would say, you can’t help people who won’t admit that they have a problem. So that’s the first obstacle (once the first response is received). If someone has more leads than they could handle, my efforts to sell my lead generation solution will be in vain. Since they don’t have a problem, hence they do not need a solution. So what should you do? You should take your prospect’s hand, and safely walk them through the journey, without taking shortcuts. Make them problem aware, solution aware, and only then, tell them that you have the solution that they need.
Is there only one right way to nurture?
As almost every bee out there, we think our Queen’s way is the right way. But we are busy bees, not stubborn bees. So we wanted to expose you to other expert opinions, tips and tricks. We asked them what the right way to nurturing LinkedIn prospects is, and this is what they had to say:
“The best way to nurture LinkedIn leads is to firstly curate a strong network of people who may be interested in your offerings, and tailor your communication strategies with them. What I tend to do is match the tone of voice that the other person is using. Take note of how often they reply and what language they use, and try to mimic it when possible. Another important tip is to ask questions and establish where your offerings can come in to fill the gaps about the other person’s goals. It’s not a secret that people love speaking about themselves and their projects, so use this to your advantage when trying to get the upper hand in terms of negotiating business from LinkedIn.”Itamar Blauer, SEO consultant.
“Do what no one else does if you truly want to nurture B2B LinkedIn leads. Ask, what’s a small favour I can do for you? Almost everyone on LinkedIn is asking for favours from others. When you position yourself as the giver, and not the taker, it’s a game-changer. You’ll invite more genuine conversations. Meet better and more interesting people. And grow your book of business in the process. Try it out and see how much the return is for giving first.”Brian Robben, CEO of Robben Media.
“What I personally do to distinguish myself from dozens of others who are sending invites to the same person, is creating intro videos instead of your typical intro message. Make sure these are customized and include the person’s name as well as some things you already know about them like industry and role. You can keep the conversation rolling by asking a question or having them recommend a tip, book, podcast, anything like that.”Alexandra Cote, digital marketer.
“Using a personalized approach can bring you an average increase of 20% in sales. So, even if you are doing B2B sales, we recommend approaching your leads as person to person. They should feel there is a real You on the other end. Formality is about distance, whereas you need to approach your leads. Of course, you don’t need to be chatty and buddy. Rather be authentic. With time, you will catch your lead’s wave and adjust your conversation style to their manner of speaking. Follow up wisely.Valerie Frolova, Outbound Manager at Snov.io
Conversion won’t happen if you don’t follow up. However, bombarding your leads with the same annoying messages will make you a pain in the neck for them. Instead, prioritize your follow-ups based on the quality of your leads, be consistent, and remember to add some sort of additional value to each next message you’ll send.”
The importance of nurturing
Now, why is nurturing LinkedIn prospects important?
LinkedIn is the biggest professional network, where business people from all over the world can chat. We all know this. But little do we know how significant this network actually is. Let’s take a look at the recent stats.
- A study from Hub Spot shows that LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than other social media networks.
- Of all leads generated from social media, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
- 43% of marketers surveyed have acquired customers from LinkedIn.
- 92% of B2B marketers specifically prefer LinkedIn over all other social platforms.
- 79% of B2B marketers view LinkedIn as an effective source of B2B leads.
Having this in mind, it’s a no-brainer to realize why LinkedIn enjoys such popularity among marketers and salespeople. These facts build strong credibility and trust.
There is also a tool within this platform called LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This tool helps prequalify and find the right prospect so you can close more deals. The point of this tool is to tap into LinkedIn’s extensive network of companies and filter out the needed data. In other words, to ease the life of those that are using it.
Knowing this, it comes a no surprise that many companies, brands and independent consultants choose to social sell on LinkedIn. Since this platform offers a convenient yet professional way of collaboration, building new connections and business relationships comes more naturally.
Again, what nurturing has to do with social selling on LinkedIn?
In order to develop a strong bond with someone, being it business or casual, you need to invest time and effort. Social principles weight on towards kindness and truthfulness.
People will automatically perceive you as trustworthy the second you show them that they are being heard and appreciated. That’s why genuine LinkedIn connections are so powerful.
Your whole business projection can change with the right LinkedIn presence.
Human interaction above all
The thing we often forget is the concept of human touch, of human personality. Nowadays, we can automate most of the work. It saves a massive amount of time, and it’s cost-effective. But, there are certain things that require a human element. Such as making honest, legitimate relationships. Or connections if you please.
There is an awesome quote by an anonymous author that I often like to mention. It goes like this: “Automation may be a good thing, but don’t forget that it began with Frankenstein.”
It’s kind of witty, but it hits home. Automation tools are great most of the time. They provide predictable performance but lack good judgement and empathy.
This is where the human factor comes handy. You can’t expect much from a tool when it comes to human emotions or deciding on when it’s time to pitch the service.
Our new connections want to feel validated and respected. They want to talk to a real person, not a machine.
That’s how I nurture my lovely violet. That florist taught me an invaluable life lesson. Take care of the things you want to last. Don’t try to blend. Instead, be humble, genuine, be a carer, a nurturer.
Danco is a serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of a 2-year-old and a burger enthusiast. He is inspired by growth and goes above and beyond to make it possible – whether it comes to his 300+ clients or his people. Eager to learn more? Follow Danco on LinkedIn and Facebook.