Leads are the lifeblood of most businesses. And it's no secret that LinkedIn can be a good place for B2B salespeople to find prospects and clients that we all need to grow business, reach our targets and achieve our goals.
You don’t have to get a paid version of LinkedIn to access powerful search capabilities, but most people don’t use the LinkedIn Free search capabilities to their optimum. This is simply about finding the right people to connect with in the shortest amount of time.
Free Search on LinkedIn is simple to use and easy to understand once you know what’s there and how you should use it.
LinkedIn Free - Search Framework
I like to break the search framework into four levels:
- LinkedIn Filters - Navigation Bar Filters
- LinkedIn Filters - All Filters
- LinkedIn Search Operators
- LinkedIn Boolean Operators
1. LinkedIn Filters - Navigation Bar Filters
Top Level Nav Filters let you explore People, Jobs, Content, Companies, Groups and Schools. You can also explore further under each of these categories. For example, the 'People' filter allows you to refine your search by Location, Connections and Current Companies.
2. LinkedIn Filters - All Filters
If you’ve refined your search using the Top Level Nav filters, you can go a level further and click on the 'All Filters' button. You’ll see the 'All Filters' search at the side of 'the big three'. You can in fact go straight to this 'All Filters' page to create a refined search.
I typically use the 'All Filters' page to refine my search by 1) Industry, 2) Past Companies (where a target prospect has worked) and 3) Connections of.
If you're a B2B salesperson, a great way to grow your network is by creating filters for 2nd connections and then seeking a warm introduction from your mutual connection, or even reaching out to these connections yourself letting them know you’ve got a shared connection. This will greatly increase your chances of making a fruitful connection.
3. LinkedIn Search Operators
Use the LinkedIn Search box for basic searches. If you are looking for a connection's name to quickly skim their profile, just type in their first and last name (if known) eg, 'Will Robinson' and see what comes up.
But there are other ways of searching in this box: There are five LinkedIn Search Operators (or filter types) that you can use when searching for prospects and possible connections. These are:
- First name - finds profiles based on first name
- Last name - finds profiles based on last name
- Title - finds profiles based on their current job title
- Company - finds profiles based on their current company (keyword search)
- School - finds profiles based on the school or university they attended
4. LinkedIn Boolean Operators
The search operators can be used with 3 key Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT.
"Boolean search is a type of search allowing users to combine keywords with operators (or modifiers) such as AND, NOT and OR to further produce more relevant results. For example, a Boolean search could be "hotel" AND "New York". This would limit the search results to only those documents containing the two keywords." - Webopedia.
Using the Search Operators and Boolean Operators together can produce some valuable refined searches. For example, to search for current project managers not working for BHP, who attended either Curtin or ECU try:
Boolean Search Example
title:"project manager" NOT company:BHP school:(ECU OR Curtin)
Four Boolean Rules for using LinkedIn Search Operators
There are four of simple rules for Boolean Search that you need to keep in mind:
- Spaces shouldn’t be included between multiple search operators
- Commas shouldn’t be included between multiple search operators
- Use parenthesis for Boolean Search terms AND, OR and NOT Phrases
- Use quote for multi-word search terms
If you follow this process and start using LinkedIn filters you’ll be connecting with more of the right people in less time, which means better networks and the prospect of more business in a shorter amount of time.
B2B salespeople - give it a go and let me know your thoughts on the different LinkedIn Free searches. And enjoy better prospecting with LinkedIn.