LinkedIn is no longer a social network. It may promote itself that way, but it’s really a social contact database. As you connect with people on LinkedIn, you’re getting their contact information. What you do with that data can make or break your next deal. In a recent Webmaster Radio interview with Mike O'Neil, I shared my LinkedIn tips for smart sales outreach.

1. The prepared bird gets the worm

Do your research. It’s not enough to know that your contact went to University of Miami. Everyone has access to that data. What separates the good from the great is doing the research to know that last night the University of Miami Hurricanes took on Boston College and finally beat them after a long season.

The idea is to go above and beyond, and use that LinkedIn information not as an end, but as a starting point to do thorough research. That will make the first outreach outstanding. You don’t get a second chance at the initial outreach.

2. Get the most out of contact data

Doing your research requires digging into the data. Perhaps you only have the contact’s email address or website from LinkedIn. With just a little bit of research, you can find even more information on the contact. Whether you do this manually or with a helpful tool, a website can lead to a phone number, and more. Fill that information in to create a complete social profile.  

You and I can have the same data, but if I choose to do a little bit of research based on that initial data and get more out of it, then I have the edge.

3. Align your passions

The first step to take as a sales rep is to identify your own passions, and align your passions with your contacts. When you do this, no matter what, you’re going to have a fantastic call.

4. Connect with Facebook

The intersection of LinkedIn and Facebook is critical. You can’t solely rely on LinkedIn data, and you can’t only look at Facebook. It’s an intersection where multiple social platforms need to be considered.

Facebook will provide insight into the more personal side and interests of the prospect. You never know what a person is going through in life, but Facebook can give you a glimpse. You can even know the person’s mood that day, and from there, jump in and brighten their day.

5. Be aware of your own network

As often as you're trying to find those perfect connections, other people are trying to find you as a connection. When you receive a LinkedIn request, only accept personalized invitations. That shows the outreach is valid and the other party is making an effort. They should have a profile picture and someone or something in common with you, whether it's the industry, past jobs, etc. If the person doesn't meet this criteria, hit the ignore button.

This post originally appeared on the RingLead Blog.

Hone your social media expertise by visiting our website or downloading the free e-book below.

CRM Ebook