Surprise! You’re Overlooking Prospects on LinkedIn

Do you suspect there are more prospects in your territory than LinkedIn’s search function is showing when you search its database? In Bruce Johnston’s experience, most sellers are unknowingly wearing self-imposed blinders.

Do you suspect there are more prospects in your territory than LinkedIn’s search function is showing when you search its database? In Bruce Johnston’s experience, most sellers are unknowingly wearing self-imposed blinders.

I sat down with Johnston, a LinkedIn-focused prospecting coach, for the skinny. Here’s what I learned:

Most sellers are overlooking good prospects because they don’t realize:

  • how LinkedIn treats geographic territories and industries (location)
  • 95 percent of effective people searches involve only six (free) filters
  • how easy it is to use location, industry, title and keywords fields to hyper-target

Here are a few of Johnston’s tips to make sure you’re seeing all prospects LinkedIn has to offer — within your territory. Plus, a simple way to narrow search results into a manageable number of high-quality prospects to contact.

Advantage: Sales Navigator

If you do not invest in LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, Johnston says be careful using the location filter when searching for potential buyers. Simply because it was designed with Human Resources people in mind.

Quick example: An HR person is looking to fill an executive position for Morgan Stanley in New York City. Well, qualified candidates could live within New York City. But they might also live in Long Island, Northern New Jersey or the south part of Connecticut. So LinkedIn took this into account when they set up the location filter.

Thus, LinkedIn’s “Greater New York City” filter option covers all of these places.

In the same fashion, San Francisco includes all of Silicon Valley, San Jose, and even places on the other side of the bay like Oakland.

LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator corrects many of these difficulties.

“Navigator has a much better location filter,” says Johnston. “But you will need to decide if you want to pay for better location searching as Sales Navigator is a premium product.

Effective Searches Simplified

Most sellers I coach use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search pane without a clear system. Or with an approach that involves only the keyword field and, maybe, the title field. Mostly because they lack confidence in understanding how LinkedIn search actually works.

Let’s face it, it’s not our job to understand!

“Remember that LinkedIn search was designed for HR people,” says Johnston. “Sales people were added as an afterthought.”

In my experience, after speaking with Johnston, most sellers are unclear on small but important details. It’s not terribly complex to remember these details — but extremely useful in saving time and finding “hidden” prospects.

Example: Do you know what the title field actually searches? It searches only what users place in the title field. How about the keyword field?