We all have contacts on LinkedIn that could be good prospects. Some of these 1st-degree connections, however, have gone cold or were never nurtured from the onset. Heck, there are people in my network I don’t even know! If you’d like to turn those connections into strong contacts and ultimately warm leads, try using some of the below techniques.

Strengthening your connections

It is important to remember that a connection’s profile on your screen is attached to an actual person somewhere. By pitching a cold contact, you limit your chances of success. Treat them like a human being and build your relationship over time.

  1. Like and/or comment on their updates

If a contact has kept their activity public, you will receive updates when they take action within LinkedIn. They can update their profile, like a post, publish an article, make a comment, follow companies or professionals, make recommendations and so on. Take this opportunity to engage with their recent activity if it makes sense. You might congratulate them on a work anniversary. Or send them a message about a company they now follow that you also admire.

  1. Ask them an expertise related question in a private message

A quick psychological hack to move your contact from cold contact to friend’s zone — ask for a favor. Psychology Today describes this counterintuitive action like this:

Asking for a favor is a sign of intimacy and trust. It shows that you feel comfortable being indebted to someone…Studies show that for happiness, providing support is just as important as getting support. By offering people a way to provide support, you generate good feelings in them.”

Warm them up by asking a question — not related to your sales pitch and not overly demanding of their time.

  1. Endorse or recommend them

Endorsing or writing a recommendation for a contact is a good way to say something positive about this person with very little effort. Endorsements being the easiest of the two, but both actions will hopefully open the door to dialogue in the form of a response from your contact.

When taking this step, make sure that your action accurately reflects them – meaning don’t endorse them for a skill they don’t have. Nothing shows a contact that you don’t know them more than an incorrect endorsement.

  1. Invite them to join your LinkedIn group

If you happen to manage a group on LinkedIn and think your contact would be interested in the subject matter, reach out to them. Sharing a group is a good way to add an additional layer to your relationship – forming a common bond.

  1. Tag them if it’s relevant

You have the ability to tag someone when typing a comment or sharing an article, video, etc. in LinkedIn. Try this method if you want to pull them in and engage with them on a topic. When creating a post, simply type @ and then begin typing their name. You can select them and publish your post. They will be notified of the tag in their notifications and by email and can then respond.

From connection to lead

  1. Turn your services into an informational blog post

Now that you have been conversing with your contact, you can begin to slowly introduce your product/service to them. Share content with them that provides insight or is in some way valuable as it relates to their work. The best way to fold your pitch into a valuable piece of content is by composing a message that shows how your product or service can help their job (speaking to their general position) or business type i.e. “3 ways doctors can use [product/service] to better understand their patients”.

Simply send them a message inviting them to read a post you recently shared on LinkedIn that you thought they might be interested in reading. This can lead to business or referrals and your contact now views you as a thought leader on the topic. As a bonus, if written strategically, you can repurpose the post with a different title and use that for other job titles and markets.

  1. Move offline and meet up

Taking your digital relationship to the next level, suggest meeting up for coffee as a way to dive deeper into your contacts personal and business lives. In such a fast-paced world where we are bombarded by digital communication, a 30-minute sit down for a cup of joe can do a lot to bring you closer to your contact. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable insight into their working lives and hopefully will shed light on potential opportunities where you can help them by being of service and eliminating their pain points.

What you should do now

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