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    Four Ways To Generate Leads On LinkedIn To Grow Your Business By John Knotts

    The top way to grow your business is to sell more products and services to more customers. The most important thing for sales to sell to more customers is to generate more leads.

    Businesses are always looking for ways to generate leads.

    Since social media has become more popular since the pandemic, many businesses look for ways to generate leads on social media platforms. Many business-to-business companies are looking for ways to generate leads on LinkedIn.

    This article shares four ways to generate leads on LinkedIn. Best of all, all four of these methods are free.

    1. Poor Man’s Sales

    LinkedIn is free for everyone to use. However, they do have paid options for job seekers, recruiters, and sales professionals.

    Unfortunately, the free accounts do not let you talk to people unless you are connected to them. This can make it difficult to generate qualified leads.

    There are two ways, using LinkedIn’s search function, to find and connect with potential leads.

    The first way is to connect with people in key positions. I normally work with other Chief Operating Officers to either coach them in their current role or as a consultant helping them grow, scale, and improve their business.

    In the search bar on LinkedIn, type “Chief Operating Officer” or “COO.” In the drop-down, you can select the “in People” option or you can press enter and then filter the results by “People.”

    This filters only people who have used the role in their profile. Then, you can use the “Connections” filter to only “2nd” and “3rd+” connections. This limits your search to those you are not connected with already. You can further segment your search to a specific city, state, or country with the “Locations” filter. This way you can find people with that role in a very specific location, like “Texas, United States.” When doing this I came up with 32,000 people with Chief Operating Officer in their profile in Texas that I have not already connected with.

    Two other filters that are helpful in further filtering your search are by “Industry” and “Service categories.” This way you can specifically target your search to people you might want to work with.

    The second way is to search by companies that you always target.

    In the search bar on LinkedIn, simply put your cursor in the search bar and hit enter. Then, filter this search by “Companies.”

    Once you only have companies listed, you can filter first by “Locations;” again I will limit my search to “Texas, United States.” Many people only want to work with companies of certain sizes. By using the “Company size” filter you now can further segment your search. I selected “11- 50 employees” and “51-200 employees.” This limited my search to 10 million results in Texas.

    Again, you can filter by industry. The results will

    normally start with those companies you are following. Once you have selected a specific company, you can click on “People” for that company, scroll to the bottom of the list, and select “See all employees.” You can then search for interesting employees in that specific company.

    By doing this, you target your search to very specific types of people that you want to connect with.

    2. Leveraging LinkedIn

    Polls, that are well written, can allow you to specifically target people that might be looking for something your business delivers.

    Currently, polls get some of the best reach on LinkedIn. If you word your poll effectively, you can obtain a list of initially qualified leads with little effort.

    Let us say I posted this poll on LinkedIn:

    “What are your thoughts about business coaching?”

    Option 1: “I’m seeking a coach.” Option 2: “I would like to learn more.”

    Option 3: “I don’t need a coach right now.” Option for: “I’m not sure.”

    You can have up to four options on a poll.

    Now, the people that respond, “I’m seeking a coach,” would be people I would reach out to immediately.

    3. The Power of LinkedIn

    LinkedIn Events are very effective at finding and connecting with leads.

    Put together an event that would attract people that might be interested in what you offer. Make sure the event is set far enough out in the future to allow for massive invites. For instance, I might hold a free webinar on Growing, Scaling, and Improving Your Business.

    Every week, you can invite up to 1000 people on LinkedIn. This is why you want to set the event out into the future. You can send a LinkedIn message to every person that accepts the invite, even if you are not connected to them.

    Also, if you set up this on Eventbrite, those that sign up will provide their name and email address to you. This will put you in direct contact with prequalified leads.

    4. Prospecting in LinkedIn

    The last method is to use LinkedIn Groups as a prospecting platform. People tend to join groups that they are affiliated with. Although posting in these groups is not very effective, if you belong to the group, you can see their membership.

    For instance, I belong to the “Chief Executives” group, which has almost 119,000 members.

    When in the group, I can see all the members. Even if you are not connected to these members (i.e., 2nd and 3rd connections), you can still message them directly and invite them to connect with you.

    Using These Methods

    Of course, these are just prospecting techniques to find people that are more qualified for your business, versus just randomly connecting with people on LinkedIn. You still must do a few things to further build a relationship. Just sending these people blind pitches at this point will probably result in little success. Here are six simple steps to develop those leads on LinkedIn.

    • Look at their profile and validate that they are indeed someone that you might want to work with.
    • Check to see how active they are on LinkedIn – do they have any connections and do they have any activity in the past 90 days.
    • Look for anything about them (work, interests, background, schools, etc.) that you have in common with them.
    • If they have posted, read, like, and comment on some of their recent posts or even tag them in one of your posts to get their attention.
    • Send them a personal invite (versus an empty connection request) that highlights what you have in common or builds a closer connection.
    • If they connect, initiate a meaningful dialogue with them and share free resources that help them, versus trying to sell them something out right.

    I make it a point to not come across as salesy on LinkedIn. I try to provide value and information with the goal of building a rapport and leveraging the Law of Reciprocity. However you choose to approach these individuals, you now have more specifically-targeted leads that probably are more interested in what you have to sell.

    John Knotts
    John Knotts
    John Knotts is the owner of Crosscutter Enterprises. He is a personal and professional business coach and consultant (coachsultant) and Fraction Chief Operating Office (COO). John has over 30 years of experience strategically starting, growing, scaling, and improving businesses. He has worked with 1,000’s of businesses in for-profit, nonprofit, and government; both manufacturing and service-oriented; and across many different industries. John started in the United States Air Force and served a solid 21 years until retirement. He started his own coaching and consulting business in 2008, upon his retirement, but then went to work with Booz | Allen | Hamilton for three years. From Booz Allen, he worked as an internal coach and consultant for United Services Automobile Association (a Fortune 100 company) for seven years. John now works full-time coaching and consulting, and as a Fractional COO, for 1,000s of small, medium, and large businesses. John is many-times published author and professional speaker and trainer. John owns several other businesses and he his wife own one of the largest equestrian businesses in south central Texas. More can be found out about John at his website at


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