LinkedIn Search – tips to help you find great sales opportunities

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When you know how to use LinkedIn Search effectively you’ll discover new sales opportunities that were otherwise hidden.

Here is a quick guide to LinkedIn search for consultants, business owners and sales people.

Basic LinkedIn search

The starting point is the Search Bar in the Top Menu.

Key in the word or words you want to search for. (Tip: use “double quotes” where you want the words adjacent.)

Use the dropdown menu to select the type of information you want to search, if you know in advance.

There are currently seven sub-areas you can search: People, Jobs, Companies, Groups, Universities, Posts and In-box.

LinkedIn Search DropDown

When you get the results back you can:

  • Use the categories in the left column to refine the results shown – so I’ve chosen 2nd connections and Bristol as the location.
  • There are several other options if you are on a Free version of LinkedIn, and more if you are on a Premium version.
  • LinkedIn Search Results Screen

Note: If you do a lot of searches and profile views during a month you may hit the Commercial Limit introduced by LinkedIn. You’ll either need to wait until the start of the next month or upgrade to a premium version to continue to get more than 3 search results.

The Actions options available at this stage are:

  • to immediately send a Request to Connect – however this will be the standard, impersonal message.
  • or, with the black down arrow-head to the right, the options are to Send InMail – if you’ve got credits.
  • unfortunately the option to Get Introduced and to Save the profile into LinkedIn Contacts have been removed.

Search for Companies

If your prospects are mainly companies of a specific size, section and location then you will find a huge value in starting your search by searching for companies and selecting appropriate criteria.

Then, on a company by company basis you can search for key decision-makers, if you are on the Free version of LinkedIn.

How to keep track of interesting contact records

It’s all very well finding people but, if there’s a need to do more than send an immediate invite to connect and then move on to the next records then some way of recording each profile of interest is needed.

There really is no viable way to do this within LinkedIn at the Free subscription level. There are options in the sales Navigator version to Save and to Tag contacts and build lead lists. So, let’s look at alternatives.

  • you can keep a record of search result contacts in a Word Document or Excel Spreadsheet – using copy & paste.
  • you may have a CRM system already in place for that will enable you to add records and organise them.
  • my preferred approach is to use the Nimble CRM. This has a handy browser plug-in to make saving profiles much easier and quicker. And then to subsequently invite and track progression of relationships. (There are highlights of how to use Nimble CRM to build a prospect list here).

Advanced LinkedIn search

Advanced search is available for People, and also for Jobs. Click the Advanced link (to the right of the search box) to bring up the following search panel and see all fields and filters.

LinkedIn Advanced People Search

  • In this example, having entered the keyword ‘director’ I’ve ticked boxes for 2nd Connections, added Bristol as the location and selected Accounting as the sector.
  • There are some other options for Basic or Free Account LinkedIn users, like current or past company, school and a group.
  • Premium LinkedIn users get many more filter options, such as years of experience, function, seniority, interests and company size.

Boolean search within LinkedIn

Alternatively you can also use these Boolean search types to refine your results:

  • Quoted searches – For an exact phrase, enclose the phrase in quotation marks (e.g. “product manager”).
  • NOT searches – To exclude a particular term, type that term with an uppercase NOT immediately before it (e.g. NOT computer).
  • OR searches – To see results that include just 1 of 2 or more terms, separate those terms with an uppercase OR (e.g. sales OR marketing).
  • Parenthetical searches – To do a complex search, you can combine terms using parentheses. For example, to find people who have “VP” in their profiles, or have director AND division in their profiles, type: VP OR (director AND division).

For lead generation, sales and business development purposes it’s valuable for finding people and companies to approach and discussions to join and contribute to.

Understand Search in order to Be Found

When you know how to use LinkedIn Search you can take action to bLinkedWin Logo on LinkedIn Search pagee found by others!

Using Search helps to us to understand how to refine our own personal and company profiles. Including specific keywords and phrases in your profile will improve the number of times you appear in searches other people carry out.


Take 5 minutes to put some searches into each of the search areas within LinkedIn and see what results you get.

I think you’ll be amazed at the power of the LinkedIn Directory to reveal specific people to approach.

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