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Is LinkedIn Prospecting Still “Cold Calling”?

“How do you get sales reps to have better results with LinkedIn Vs. Cold Calling?”

Based on your question, I’m going to assume your sales team is not generating the results you had hoped for with respect to using LinkedIn to help them hit their sales numbers.

Here’s why that may be happening – and how to fix it.

Inside sales for me started out as being a straight commission rep and our leads were dumped each morning on a foldout card table (we called them “white sheets”) that had a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers.

We had no way of verifying ahead of time if the info was accurate or if the name on the lead was still employed at the company we were about to call.

To make matters even more “fun”, these leads were “recycled” – meaning they were called dozens of times before from other sales reps that failed to close them – pretty sure we were part of the reason why the “no-call list” Act was invented – but I digress.

The REAL POWER of LinkedIn for Sales People

LinkedIn is an invaluable tool, however, advocates and LinkedIn themselves have OVER-SOLD some of its benefits IMHO.

For example, the SalesBuzz definition of a cold call is:

“reaching out to a prospect that is not currently raising their hand”.

If your sales team is using LinkedIn to contact a prospect that had not previously raised their hand, it’s still a “cold call” even if it’s via LinkedIn’s InMail, etc.


Personally, I’ve found a better value out of LinkedIn by:

Title / Employment Verification – Being able to double-check that the prospect still works at the company I am about to call AND I can view their TITLE to make sure they are at least pre-qualified as someone I can START the conversation with, is a game-changer.

LinkedIn Groups – Joining groups where my prospects get info from is another great way LinkedIn can help you build up your SME (SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT) street cred and ATTRACT prospects to you (You do this by answering questions your prospects posted about in the group – give a great answer that helps them solve a problem and you start to become a trusted advisor – but caution, this is a long game)

Growing Your Network – Connecting with key prospects to grow my network (and not bombarding them with a sales pitch the second they accept my invite) is another valuable way to grow awareness.

If you’ve bought into the “social selling” sales pitch but the promised land of riches and easy street are nowhere to be found yet, chances are your expectations are way off.

Using social selling tools like LinkedIn is a must in today’s sales world however you STILL HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO SELL – and this is where most “sales reps” (SDR’s, BDR’s, AE’s) struggle. Almost always, it’s not the leads, the economy or the tools – it’s the sales reps knowledge and skill set that makes the difference in hitting or missing their numbers.

And if you don’t believe me, next time your car has an issue, give the right tools to an unskilled mechanic and see how well your engine runs. How is your sales engine any different?

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.

sales training


Find Out More About Our Program
  • How to Warm Up and Close Cold Leads
  • Eliminate “No, Thanks,” “Not Interested,” & “We’re All Set” Responses
  • Neutralize Gatekeepers & Get Voicemails Returned
  • Ask Engaging Questions Instead of Probing
  • Improve your Qualifying Skills
  • Give Stellar Presentations & Handle Objections
  • Close Follow-up Calls and Get Targeted Referrals
  • How to Set & Achieve Your Toughest Sales Goals
  • Improve Your Time Management Skills
Duration: 1 hour per week for 8 weeks Where: Online @ your desk, conference room or home Presenters: Michael Pedone