Where do you find top performers? And once you find them, how do you engage them so they’ll consider your job opportunity?

Use LinkedIn. It’s the online home of top-performing salespeople.

Studies show that seven out of 10 sales pros use LinkedIn to meet customers and build relationships. And top-performing salespeople really use LinkedIn, with 90 percent of them identifying LinkedIn as one of their top social platforms.

I’m going to show you how to find qualified sales reps on LinkedIn to hire your next top-performing salesperson.


Step 1: Properly Format Personal & Company Profiles

Your personal and company LinkedIn profiles must show the same level of professionalism you seek in a salesperson.

Make sure personal and company profiles are complete and formatted correctly. LinkedIn offers many free online tutorials and evaluation tools to help you with this process.

Quality candidates will review the profiles of hiring managers and the company prior to considering a new opportunity. Make sure your profiles reflect who you are looking to hire.


Step 2: Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups are a prime place to start interacting with potential recruits.

Your goal in using groups is twofold: first, to position yourself as a competent industry professional that others would be interested in networking with and second, to identify those within the group that meet the profile of your ideal candidate.

Start by answering questions posed by others within the group. This helps position you as an expert, and draws attention of group members to you. Note who interacts with your comments, who is actively posting within the group and who is viewing your profile.


Step 3: Use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search Functions

This search tool allows you to enter specific details about the person you are looking for, things such as job title, location, company and more.

The way you access this tool varies depending upon the version of LinkedIn you are using. For the basic version, simply log into your LinkedIn account and go to the search bar at the top of the page. Type “sales representative” into the search window, click on “in people,” and you’ll be taken to this feature.

Make sure to add as much search information as possible to produce a highly customized list of potential recruits. At this point you can scroll through the list and begin identifying those that catch your attention. Click on their name, explore their profile, and begin the process of determining if they are a right fit for you.


Step 4: Research Your Competitor’s Top Salespeople

Find these people on LinkedIn by searching the name of the company and determining who is associated with them. The company profile will prompt you to see all on LinkedIn who work at the company. Use the advanced people search functions to find the people you seek within the company.


Step 5: Make a Connection

As you use LinkedIn, you’ll find potential recruits that meet your criteria.

Send them an invitation to connect. Don’t immediately ask them to interview for your open position. It’s an easier decision for a top performer to join your network than it is to interview. Plus, building your network with quality connections pays dividends for years.

Customize your connection invitation. The default invitation message provided by LinkedIn is impersonal and boring.

Now that you know where and how to find top-performing salespeople, you’ll need to connect with them and engage them to create interest in your opportunity.

I like to look for common connections on LinkedIn that could introduce me to my target candidate. An introduction from a mutual business associate is a great way to break the ice.

Make a connection and start a conversation. There are many ways to start conversations with someone on LinkedIn, some of which I’ll be writing about in a later edition of this column.