Every business owner knows that consumers are spending more time on social media than ever before. If you want to reach prospective clients, you must have a social media presence. Be where your prospects are.

Many fitness business owners assume this means they need to start posting more regularly on Instagram or Twitter or paying for ads on Facebook. While these options can yield a good return on investment, they are increasingly crowded with your competitors, making it harder and more expensive to gain consumer attention.

All the while, there’s an overlooked social media platform that is an absolute gold mine for connecting with high-target prospective clients: LinkedIn. Learn how to use LinkedIn to boost leads and increase potential sales.

Isn’t LinkedIn for Job Seekers?

There’s a misconception that LinkedIn is used only as a recruiting tool by employers and only as a networking tool by job seekers. That’s simply not true.

While it has defined its niche in the social media world by being career oriented, LinkedIn is far from just a job board. Content creators post articles on LinkedIn. Social networking groups are hosted on LinkedIn. Videos go viral on LinkedIn.

Your ideal audience is likely on LinkedIn, and a few key aspects of the platform’s functionality make it an extremely powerful tool for generating leads.

How to Get Leads for Free

The following steps outline exactly how to begin using LinkedIn to generate leads and sales for your business, all without paying a cent for ads.

Step #1: Choose Your Target

Unlike Facebook and other social media platforms, LinkedIn makes it simple to connect with people by education, by profession or even by the company they work for. How can you take advantage of this?

As one example, you could target accountants, knowing that during the busy tax season they have little time for healthy eating or exercise. There is a pain point that you could solve by offering the right services tailored specifically for the needs of accountants.

Or imagine you once worked as a teacher. You know the struggles teachers face. You know the “teacher language” they speak. You could offer fitness programming aimed specifically at teachers.

As another example, think about the opportunity you’d have at your fingertips if a large company opened an office in your area. You could target, say, Amazon employees, with an offer exclusively for them.

Hopefully you get the picture. LinkedIn enables you to use career-related demographics to target an audience as broad or as narrow as you like.

Step #2: Speak Their Language

For purposes of this article, let’s pretend you’re a former teacher who wants to recruit teachers as fitness clients. Your next step is to tweak your profile so that it speaks to them.

A neat feature of LinkedIn is the way it displays your profile when you reach out to someone or even when you simply view their profile. That person sees your image and your title. This is your chance to elevate your authority and build intrigue.

For example, if your title says “personal trainer” and nothing else, you’re not doing much to stand out from the crowd of other personal trainers. In contrast, if you tweak your title to read, “I help teachers get in amazing shape and stay in shape during the busy school year,” what do you think will happen when a teacher sees you?

At the very least, they’ll take notice.

Your title should explain who you work with and what value you offer to them. You may decide to call out a specific profession, as with the teacher example, or you could speak to the pain points that people of a certain profession or position might feel. For example, “Executives nicknamed me the ÔÇÿback doctor’ because I use corrective exercise to help fix their back pain.”

Once you have tweaked your title, update your bio to further explain why you help that particular target clientele and what makes your services unique.

Step #3. Start Searching

Now that you’ve got an intriguing, value-focused title, it’s time to start getting noticed. Follow these steps:

  1. Click in the top search bar, then choose “People” from the revealed options.
  2. Click the “All Filters” box on the top.
  3. Check the boxes beside 2nd degree connections.
  4. Choose a geographic region.
  5. Scroll down until you see a fill-in box called Title (it’s below the First Name and Last Name boxes).
  6. Click the “Filter” button.

For example, if you are targeting teachers, you could type “teacher” in the “Title” field and type, say, “Buffalo, New York” as the geographic region. This simple search returns thousands of teachers who are now your prospective clients.

Step #4. Be Friendly to Get Connected

Now it’s time to connect with the list of prospects you just generated. Click the “Connect” button beside a prospect on your list. A pop-up box will give you the option of writing a personalized message to go along with your connection request.

Writing a quick message will increase the chance that your target accepts your request to connect, so it’s worth the effort. Keep it simple and not salesy, something like this:




Just saw your profile here and thought we could connect since we have both worked in the education field. Networking is always a good thing. You never know where new connections might lead!

Have a great day,


[email protected]


Be friendly. Your goal is for people to accept your connection requests, so that you grow your LinkedIn network and can follow up with your new prospects.

Step #5. Be Helpful to Deepen the Relationship

Once your connection requests are accepted, it’s important to follow up with those new leads while you are fresh in their minds. This does NOT mean that you should jump into high-pressure sales mode. Instead, be helpful.

Here’s an example of a message I might send to a new teacher prospect:



Hey NAME – thanks for connecting here!

I’m not sure if you’d be interested, but I’m hosting a really awesome Facebook group for teachers who are looking to stay fit during the busy school year. Is this something you’d be interested in?

Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/#######.

I’ll watch for your request to join and will add you ASAP. This is such a great community of teachers supporting one another. I’d love to have you join us if it would be helpful to you.


This strategy works well because it moves people from your LinkedIn connections into your Facebook group, where it is easy to build rapport with them and sell to them in the future. This is just one example, though. What could you offer for free to your new prospects? How would this move you one step closer to making a sale?

Step #6. Build Your List

LinkedIn has a little-known feature that allows you to export all of your connections’ data, including their email addresses, into a spreadsheet that you can use to grow your email list. This can be a great source for future follow-up communication!

Here’s the process to follow:

  1. Click “My Network” in the top menu.
  2. Click “See All” underneath your Connections count (on the left side).
  3. Click “Manage synced and imported contacts” (in the top right corner).
  4. Click “Export contacts” (on the right side).

A new window will open where you can choose what data you want to export. Simply check the “Connections” box and then click “Request archive.” You will now have a full list of your LinkedIn connections, including their email addresses.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial that will show this process in action and will demonstrate some neat tricks for sorting the data to make it most useful.

Step #7. Screen Your New Contacts

Email marketing legislation continues to get more and more stringent. You never want to “spam” people with unwanted information, which is why I recommend sending a “screening” email. Here’s an example I might use for teachers:




Thanks for the recent LinkedIn connection.

As a former teacher, I love helping other teachers deal with the stress and demanding schedule that come with their job in education. That’s actually why I’m writing to you.

I’m reaching out to see if you’d like some free help improving your health and fitness during the busy school year. If this isn’t on your radar, no problem. Just click the unsubscribe link below and I won’t send you any more resources or strategies.

But . . .

If you are interested in

  • learning how to eat healthier while saving time and money,
  • developing a fitness routine that can take as little as 15 minutes per day,
  • having more energy so that you can perform your best as a teacher, and
  • connecting with other teachers who are transforming their health,

click here to join this private group for teachers only. Then watch for my next email. I’ve got something pretty cool to show you.


A screening email helps your prospects remember how you connected in the first place, and it gives them the opportunity to continue this email relationship or to end it.

If you genuinely offer value to your prospects, few are going to unsubscribe from your email list. Instead, you’ll have them awaiting your next message!

Grow Your Business With LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an often-overlooked platform for lead generation. By following the steps laid out above, not only can you build up a targeted audience of LinkedIn connections. You can also easily transition those connections into your Facebook groups and onto your email lists, where you can nurture those leads and turn them into paying clients.

Dave Smith

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