“What would I need to do to double my win rate?” I was asked that question by the owner of a commercial integrator. His company sells large systems with sales cycles that could last months. He has six salespeople and he is looking for big increases in his sales numbers.

My answer was an easy one: Your win rates rise when you have multiple connections at an account.

Don’t take my word for it. Research published by LinkedIn shows that win rates grow substantially with multiple connections at a single account.

Think about your own past experiences. How many deals have you lost where you had strong connections with four or more people at the account? My guess is not many.

The more you know, the more you sell. Why? Because most security buying decisions these days involve four or more people — people like security directors, IT directors, finance and operations. If you’re only connected to one or two people, you’re vulnerable.

When you are connected with all the players, you are better equipped to overcome challenges, keep the project moving forward and close the deal.

So how do you make these connections? First, look at your past deals — win or lose. What positions have been involved? Know the job titles commonly involved in the buying process.

Then, go to LinkedIn and do some research. Look at the profile of your initial contact. Click on the name of their company under the Experience section of their profile. Doing that will take you to the company page on LinkedIn. On the company page, you will find a link to click to take you to a listing of all employees on LinkedIn. Scroll through the list to find who you are looking for or use LinkedIn’s advanced filtering options to root out who you need to connect with.

Now it’s time to expand your contacts. Do this carefully and professionally so you don’t alienate your initial contact.

Remember, your prospects don’t make security purchases every day. You are the professional. They rely on you for guidance. That’s why you should say something like this: “Brian, I work with lots of other companies making security decisions like this. Almost every time, the process involves (name the positions). I’ve found it best to get these people involved as soon as possible.”

If you are really on top of your game, you could let your initial contact know by name who within their company might need to be involved. Your initial contact could review your list with you and offer suggestions to reach the right people.

Once you’ve identified the other players, use LinkedIn InMail to get in touch with them. Here’s an easy template: “Hi Jane, I’m working with Brian in IT to replace your antiquated security systems with a new integrated solution. In working on projects like this I’ve found it useful to get you involved as early as possible. Would you be available next Thursday for a quick conversation? I’m also sending you an invitation to connect on LinkedIn and I look forward to speaking with you.”

You are the magic in your business. Be the leader in initiating new contacts. Always remember and don’t ever forget: Do not let your success with an account rest in the hands of just one person. Research shows four or more are involved in the buying process. Find out early who you need to reach out to and do it.

The more people you know within an account, the more you’ll sell. It’s my surefire way to double your win rates.