LinkedIn Lead Generation
A Complete LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategy to Separate You from the Crowd
Every entrepreneur wants to know how to generate leads. Typically, these same entrepreneurs know about Facebook ads and Google ads, but they may not know that using LinkedIn for prospecting can help them find their ideal clients and, when done well, help their ideal clients find them.
This week’s Stay paid guest is Jimmy Coleman, founder of LeadBaller—a highly successful LinkedIn lead-generation service. Jimmy shares his four-step LinkedIn lead generation strategy that, on its surface, sounds familiar:
- Optimize LinkedIn profile.
- Target ideal clients.
- Connect with prospects.
- Follow up and keep the conversation going.
But don’t be fooled.
It’s how Jimmy implements his strategy that breaks all the rules normally associated with the platform, and how he ignores much of the advice from other experts. Jimmy’s advice is not to look like everyone else … he wants you to swim in the opposite direction.
And he starts with how to generate leads by optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
When people visit your LinkedIn page, they’re going to see four items that will either encourage them to stay, read, connect, or move on:
- the banner
- the profile picture
- the header
- the “About” or summary section
Jimmy’s suggestion is to use these four opportunities to establish authority and authenticity.
Authority comes from page visitors seeing you do what you do. Rather than use your banner to highlight your logo like so many others, use it to showcase an image of you doing your thing.
If you’re a real estate agent, that might be a photo of you hosting an open house. If you’re a financial professional, feature an image of you counseling a client. Whatever your profession—roofer, landscaper, dentist, vet, keynote speaker—the LinkedIn banner is a prime space to use “social proof” to claim authority, and is an excellent first step to improve your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn profile picture
The same tactic can be used for your LinkedIn profile picture. Use an image of you working at what you do. If you can’t, then double down on the authenticity.
To be authentic means to be yourself. Use a photo that illustrates the real you living your real life, because what you do in your life is likely to be what your ideal clients do as well. Your profile photo can be a point of connection.
Include your dog, children, or spouse in your LinkedIn profile picture. A photo of you drinking coffee, going to the gym, celebrating a birthday, enjoying a vacation, working from home, being with friends—these suggestions represent a departure from the typical stiff portrait photo, and that’s what you want. You want to stand out, and you want to be relatable.
The same principle applies to your header and the about or summary section.
Your LinkedIn header can be much more than a job title. It can be an opportunity reveal your values, your unique selling proposition, or your personality. The challenge is to find a creative way to tell your ideal clients what you do so that (say it with me) you stand out. Jimmy offers the example of a professional photographer whose heading is, “I shoot people for a living.” (That’ll make someone stop and look.)
You can also use your LinkedIn header to differentiate yourself from other professionals who do the same thing you do.
As an example, all real estate agents generally do the same thing, but you can stand out by including how you do it, why you do it, or what’s different about what you do. How about, “I don’t just sell houses. I help make memories.”
Your header is another valuable opportunity to differentiate yourself from the crowd, so take the time to think about how to clearly convey what you do, but in a way that catches attention.
LinkedIn profile summary
The typical approach people take when writing a LinkedIn summary is to reproduce their resume. You already have a resume (or should), so why would you waste so much valuable space reproducing it? Instead, write your summary section with the same purpose you write the other elements—to stand out.
For Jimmy, great LinkedIn summaries are structured like a story:
- Start by writing about a significant life event. This is your hook.
- Provide details to put the event into context.
- Explain what you learned from the event.
- Connect the lesson learned to why you do what you do now.
- As a bonus, include what you’ve accomplished so far.
Telling stories is the quintessential way of connecting with others. Scientists across disciplines have argued storytelling is a large part of what makes us human.1 A well-told story will reveal more about you and why someone should do business with you than any bulleted list of jobs every could.
The remaining parts of Jimmy’s LinkedIn lead generation strategy include how to target your ideal clients, how to reach out to connect, and how to follow up. He explains them all in detail in his conversation with Luke and Josh. All aspects of his strategy have the same hallmark: each is designed to make you stand out in a crowded market and generate heightened interest among your ideal clients so that they reach out to you.
1 Jeffery Kluger, How Telling Stories Makes Us Human, Time, December 5, 2017, https://time.com/5043166/storytelling-evolution/.
- If you want something different for yourself, then you’ve got to change your daily habits. Acting on what you’ve been taught, advice you’ve been given, and knowledge you have is what makes the difference.
- Authority and authenticity are best established and communicated using social proof.
- Be very specific when targeting your audience. Be picky about who you ideally want to attract.
Use Jimmy’s advice to rewrite your LinkedIn “About Me” section. Start with your hook/real-life event. Move on to provide context for the event. Transition to how that event set you on your path and inspired your mission.