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Lead Generation 101: How to Find New Clients on LinkedIn


Last night I was at a meeting with a group of fantastic women – all small business owners like me – working on our end-of-year goals. When it was my turn to announce which goal I’d be focusing on for the next two months, I said:

“I am going to actively share information, engage with others, and prospect for new clients on LinkedIn!”

Great, right? Well, mostly! When it came time to nail down exactly HOW to find new clients on LinkedIn, my mind went blank.

LinkedIn has changed quite a bit since its launch in 2003, and like all the other big social networks, its evolution has quickened in recent years. I know the basics of networking on LinkedIn, but I wanted to dig in deeper.

So I did some research on the subject and uncovered a fabulous blog post from Gerry Moran on the subject that details how to use Boolean terms in LinkedIn’s search functionality to target specific types of clients.

Here’s how:

  • If you’re looking for clients based on two or more descriptive terms or words, use the AND modifier: CMO AND Chicago
  • If you’re looking for clients with 1 of 2 differentiating characteristics or types of experience, use the OR modifier: COO OR CMO.
  • If you know what type of client you definitely don’t want included in the result, add the NOT modifier: COO OR CMO NOT Chicago Cubs (no offense to any Cubs fans!).
  • If there’s a phrase that your client might use in their job description, put it in quotes: “Social Media Strategist.”
  • If you have a lot of search terms and modifiers, break out the parentheses: (COO OR CMO) AND Chicago AND (“startups” AND IT).

Now that you have a list of prospects, here’s how to reach out:

Look for a common connection

Do not cold Inmail or invite the person to connect (I am sure you know that, but I had to throw it in there!). First look to see if you have a connection in common who can make an introduction. A warm introduction with a nice recommendation from someone he/she knows makes a great first impression.

Engage with them

If you don’t have a connection, make an effort to get on their radar. Look at what they’re sharing on LinkedIn and leave a comment. Check out their blog and leave a comment or tweet it. Favorite some of their tweets. Do this every few days for a few weeks to engage with them.

Write a thoughtful note

Once you have a nice conversation going on social media, reach out to connect on LinkedIn. Write a personal note that includes why you are reaching out, what you admire about their company, and how you think you can help them (be very specific and offer examples of how you have helped similar clients). If you think they can help you too, great – mention it!

How do you use LinkedIn to find new clients? Share your tips below!


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