The 7-Step LinkedIn Prospecting Process

“Cold outreach doesn't work.”

It's a numbers game that is as competitive as the lottery and recipients are about as likely to read your message as they would respond to a Nigerian prince scam.

You can play the game all you want but what are the chances you'll actually win? 

About as likely as I am to win a breakdancing contest with no rhythm and carrying 40 extra pounds.

There is a better way, sir or madam. 

What if instead of spamming or scamming, you can build up your presence on LinkedIn so you can turn the other social network into your largest source of referrals?

What if you no longer had to scrape from the bottom of the barrel on job boards like Upwork?

What if you didn't have to shell out big bucks to attend and network your way through the top conferences in your industry (if that's even possible anymore)?

Cold calling, rubbing elbows, email outreach… If you're a B2B service provider all this advice is accepted lead generation gospel.

Heck, I've tried these methods myself. I've worked for free (or next to nothing) to gain experience. I've chatted up every friend or acquaintance that would listen to me talk about my AdWords or SEO skills. I've networked my way through any industry event I could afford to attend.

And, some of it even worked!


If someone had shown me how I could connect with my dream clients directly, work my way into their inner circle, and establish myself as a top-of-mind ally… in as little as an hour day, without ever leaving my house… I wouldn't have done any of that stuff!

Unfortunately, at the time I was building my freelance business, I didn't know Isaac Anderson.

And I most certainly didn't know anything about LinkedIn prospecting.

In fact, I hated LinkedIn before I met Isaac.

I thought the “other” social network was just another popularity contest. A place for people to show off their “corporate status.”

When Isaac showed me how he was using LinkedIn to attract new clients, I was amazed!

His process is so simple, structured, efficient, and DIRECT.

His system also solves the biggest problem freelancers and service providers have – trying to find time to do business development while also running their business.

So when Isaac agreed to let me give you a glimpse inside his 7-Step LinkedIn Prospecting Process, I was delighted.

Follow along with the remainder of this post as we unveil the daily LinkedIn prospecting steps Issac recommends.

The 7 daily steps that will help you build a high converting LinkedIn Lead Gen pipeline

Before we get into the daily regimen Isaac recommends, there are some pre-outreach steps you need to complete.

These pre-outreach steps include things like:

  • Building your lead list. This is the targeted list of prospects you’ll contact during your daily outreach.
  • Optimizing your profile. You want to tailor your LinkedIn profile to appeal to your target audience so that when they check up on you they think, “Heck yeah! I want to work with that person!”
  • Drafting your messaging sequence. This is a sequence of pre-scripted messages you can copy and customize when conversing on LinkedIn. Creating a messaging sequence you can draw from is the key to this process consuming less than an hour of your day.

(All of these pre-outreach steps are covered in our Linked Outreach Bootcamp. If you’re brand new to Linked outreach, the Bootcamp is a great place to start).

All right, now it’s time to talk prospecting.

Step # 1 Research and review your prospects

Before you reach out to a new prospect, it’s imperative to review their profile. There are three reasons this quick review is important.

1) It allows you to verify you're only connecting with quality prospects. As you review profiles, pay special attention to your prospects’ title and place of employment. Make sure these qualifications are a match with the audience you want to target.

LinkedIn Prospecting profile review

2) This review also helps you get up to date information about your prospects… information you can use to personalize your connection message.

So instead of sending the standard and trivial “Looks like we both know Barney Gumble” connection spam, you can send a message that’s personal and relevant.

Don’t underestimate the power of a short, yet thoughtful connection message. Your connection message can set the tone for a friendly and lucrative business relationship.

3) When you view your prospect’s profile, they receive a notification. This notification helps you in two ways. First, it shows your prospect you did your homework. Second, it leverages the Caaaaa stanza method. You start to become a recognizable name and face in their network.

To cut down on the time it takes to do your profile reviews, open your prospecting list. Then open each profile on your list page (25) in a new tab.

LinkedIn Prospecting

Step 2: Make your connection request stand out

As with any other business process, you want to track and measure the success of your connection requests.


Because you can’t improve what you can’t measure. (Also, this is the Data Driven blog… Not the “throw crap at the wall and see what sticks” blog).

To track your connection requests, save your prospects to an invite pending list.

Saved to invite pending

After saving your prospect to your invite-pending list, do as much pre-connection engagement as you can.

Remember you’re working the Caaaaa stanza plan. You want to create multiple touchpoints with your prospect making them familiar with your name, headline, and headshot before they see your connection request.

Here’s how you can create those touchpoints:

  • Follow them on LinkedIn.
  • Engage with their most recent activity on LinkedIn.
  • Like their content, share it, and tag them.
  • If their Twitter handle is on their profile do the same there.

Linked In Prospecting Pre-Connect Activity

These pre-connect touchpoints are proven to improve connection acceptance rates. And higher acceptance rates mean more leads and ultimately more sales.

Next, it’s time to send your connection request. Click ‘Connect.’ And then grab your connection request message from your messaging document. Always customize your message before sending it to your prospect.

Connection Message

Step 3: Warm up your new leads

When you’re done planting new seeds for the day, it’s time to water the ones that are already in the ground.

Go to your LinkedIn inbox and find the people who have accepted your connection request, but didn’t respond to your message.

Find new prospects

The first thing you want to do is change the status of these leads. Update them on your list from invite pending to “No reply.”

Update prospect list

Update Prospect List

Once you've updated their connection status, you want to send these folks another message. This is where your prep work really pays off. Assuming you’ve already created your message map, copy and paste your “No reply” follow-up message into the conversation thread. Then, customize your message and send it.

Step 4: Keep the conversation going

With your daily lead gen grunt work out of the way, you can turn your attention to your most important prospects – the people who have responded to your messages.

You can find these conversations using the unread messages filter in your inbox.

View Unread messages

Before you reply back to these people, do two things.

  • Open their profile and update their status on your list.

Update prospect status

Update LinkedIn Prospect to replied

  • Review their profile to jog your memory about who they are and why you contacted them.

Then evaluate the context of their response. Where do they fall on your messaging sequence?

  • Do you need to answer their questions?
  • Do they have an objection you need to overcome?
  • Are they ready for your Call-To-Action (CTA)?

Figure out where they are in your sequence. And once again customize your pre-scripted response to the conversation.

Step 5: Convert your leads

When someone accepts your CTA and is ready to take the conversation off LinkedIn, add them to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This step is simple yet critical.

Lead Converted

Move prospect to CRM

Sloppy lead management can cost you big bucks. So don’t let qualified leads fall through the cracks.

Step #6: Stay TOP-OF-MIND with your most coveted prospects

The majority of your network won’t be ready to utilize your services right away. But many of these folks can and will become clients if you play the long game well. There are a few simple ways you can continue to stay top-of-mind with these prospects. Follow your lead alerts and take action on them.

  • Send happy B-day messages.
  • Send thoughtful holiday messages.
  • Congratulate your prospects when you see them in the LinkedIn news.
  • Like and share their posts.

Stay top of mind with your prospects

These micro-actions only take a second. But they continue to build goodwill. And to be blunt, most people give up too soon. The second a prospect declines their CTA, they go dark. This kind of behavior validates your prospect’s intuition that you were just using them to try and get a sale.

So instead, show sincere interest in the lives of the people you’re connecting with. Treat people like people, NOT business opportunities.

Play the long game, and you’ll be amazed at how many doors will open for you.

Step #7: Know Your Numbers

Once a month review all your lead list numbers. You can do this in a spreadsheet. Or if you’re a Data Driven Insider, you can use our Data Studio Dashboard to track your KPIs.

LinkedIn KPIs

If you follow the seven daily steps we just covered, you should see a consistent increase in your leads, conversions, and sales.

Are you up for the 5-Day LinkedIn QuAD Message Mapping Challenge?

Now that you’ve seen a glimpse of Isaac’s daily process, what do you think?

Are you interested in learning more?

If you are, join us for our 5-day LinkedIn challenge.

At the end of this month, Isaac and I are hosting Zoom calls for 5-straight days. During these 5 calls Isaac and I will help you:

  • Avoid embarrassing messaging mistakes most people make.
  • Turn your connection request into “conversation starters” your prospect can't help but respond to.
  • Create the Message Map that allows you to do your outreach and prospecting in just minutes every day.

At the end of this challenge, we'll even award a prize to the participant(s) who build the most effective message map.

So what do you say? Are you in? If you are, sign up for the challenge here: The 5-day LinkedIn QuAd Message Map Challenge.

And, your first assignment in the challenge is to leave a comment below letting me know you’re “All-In!”

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