Larry Kaul, Founder and CEO, Kaul Sales Partners

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Much has been written about growth hacking, and I’m not going to pretend to be a heavyweight on the subject. But I did find something useful to borrow from the growth hacking mindset that filled my calendar with new prospect calls.

Here’s the background: If you’re in sales like me, both your business and your client’s depends on constantly shifting tactics to get the right prospects into the pipeline.

LinkedIn was one of the many channels I was considering for a new approach. You and I both know the typical approach, where people blast their contacts with cold offers from a template. Do you respond to these? I don’t. (You can blast your way to a few new contacts, but no revenue’s going to happen on its own from this.)

Here is an Example of How NOT to Run a LinkedIn campaign.

Hey, Larry:

I’m reaching out to people in my network with the hope of adding some value to the community.

I’m testing a new tool that grades a website’s marketability and thought you would like to try it since you’re a leader in your business.

If you are interested I just need your website’s URL and i’ll send you the report here via PDF.

Thanks so much,

So I started querying people in my circle to figure out what they were trying on LinkedIn that was different. A friend of mine in California was having some success reaching out to people one at a time with personal notes and an offer of value: Could he help them find a job? An employee? And maybe offer some feedback on his new business?

This was good because it focused more what the recipient wanted and less on the sender’s agenda. But I didn’t have the bandwidth for one-off messages to hundreds of people or to spend a bunch of time brokering employment conversations. What was the twist that would work for my situation?

Jiggering the Approach for Fruitful Conversations

We employed slightly different approaches for first-, second- and third-degree contacts. The general approach to the first-degree message: Networking, but with a tangible action step that would help people learn something important for free — and a request for a pass-along to somebody that might use it if the recipient couldn’t.

Here’s an example of the messaging for first-degree contacts:

Hi (First Name):

Our team recently created an “action session” phone call for business owners interested in finding and closing new clients. We’re basically taking people through the step-by-step methodology for our own sales/marketing process.

Could you (or somebody you know) benefit from this kind of thing?

If so, please feel free to introduce me. Or reach out if this is something you’ve been working on and are interested in. Happy to listen and offer any ideas I have. We do not charge for this work.

Thanks in advance for the help!

42 people responded within the first 2 months and said they wanted to take us up on our offer to talk. My calendar filled up with calls and new opportunities. We also signed a paying client that we’re onboarding as I write this. Not bad.

How does this approach change from first-, second- and third-degree? The first-degree outreach gives you a wider messaging space. (Note: The biggest issue was the administrative burden. It’s easy to do these one at a time. At scale is very difficult. We had to set up a viable process, and it wasn’t easy.)

For second- and third-degree contacts, we needed a way to do it without paying LinkedIn for a bunch of InMails. (Growth hacking is supposed to be low-cost, right?) So we had to write messaging to not only make the recipient want to connect, but take us up on a talk. We are still going strong into the third  month and see a steady stream of meetings and at least 1,000 consistent profile views using the LinkedIn 90-day tracker.

We’re still tinkering with ways to grow the concept, including a way that our clients can use the same approach for their prospects. Happy to share other nuts-and-bolts insights about this approach if you feel like reaching out. Let’s face it: today’s market forces us to reinvent ourselves quite often, and refining our approach with collaborative feedback is a must. Thanks for reading!