Finding Partners on LinkedIn

In our previous post, Building Relationships on LinkedIn, we continued our series with a discussion on how to build better relationships and connect with those in your space.  In this post, we continue with a look at how to find partners for your business on LinkedIn.

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Finding Partners

If you’re ready to find a partner — for a joint venture, for creating an event, or to form a new venture — you may find the experience is a lot like dating: Kiss a lot of frogs, and hope to get lucky. That’s partly because meeting with a new potential partner is like a blind date. You know a little about each other, and may have some friends in common, but you don’t have a relationship yet.

Well, there are more than more than 100 million frogs to kiss on LinkedIn, but one advantage of using the site is that you can get to know a lot more about your blind date before committing to dance with them.

You can start your search for a partner by using LinkedIn’s advanced search feature. Along with normal things like location and company, you can search by all kinds of other relevant attributes such as:

  • Function
  • Seniority Level
  • Company Size
  • Interested In

This last attribute is very useful in finding members who are interested in making deals, and the seniority level attribute lets you search for decision makers.

Unfortunately, to use this and the other search attributes in the above list, you must upgrade from the free membership to at least the $24.95 a month Business level. But if you’re serious about making a deal with a partner, it’s not much money, and you can cancel at any time. Plus you get more InMails (ability to message random people to whom you are not connected) and search results limited to 300 instead of 100 items.

Even if you don’t upgrade, you can use the advanced search to zero in on potential partners, or better still, use Google to search LinkedIn.

Power Tool: Google

An alternative to paying for better LinkedIn search is to use Google, which places no limits on the number of search results. Simply format your Google query like either of the following: +<name of your industry> +CEO +<your location> +<name of your industry > +“business deals” +<your location>

For example, the following query recently turned up 23,700 results — 23X the number you could get with the free LinkedIn account: +CEO +”medical device” +Minneapolis

The “site:” modifier restricts the Google search to pages on the target site, in this case, LinkedIn. The plus sign means the keyword is required. In this case, both “CEO” and the phrase “medical device” are required. There are lots of other modifiers you can use with advanced Google searching as well. Remember, however, Google search is limited to LinkedIn members’ public profiles, while the internal search looks at all member information.

Researching Potential Partners

Now that you have your candidate list, prioritize it based on the Google results and start visiting their profiles. Be sure to note the LinkedIn Groups the candidates belong to; you may want to join those groups so you can contact them. Also note whether you have second- or third-level connections who may be able to introduce you.

Once you’ve got a short list, be sure to Google each candidate and visit any relevant Websites you discover.

Making the Connection

There are many advantages to joining LinkedIn Groups. The most relevant one here is that you can privately or publicly message other group members. You can also use your group membership as a reason to send a connection request. So join the groups your short-listed candidates belong to, and start forging a relationship with them.

You also may want your current connections to connect you. We talk more about this manner of getting connected in the upcoming post Three Degrees of LinkedIn.

We recommend only trying to connect to second level contacts this way (friends of your friends). The positive effect of an introduction can be lessened with third level contacts (friends of your friends’ friends).

Once you’re connected, let the relationship begin! Here’s hoping you get lucky!

Finding Partners on LinkedIn is the 84th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 249 . At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

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What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

Next up: Using LinkedIn to Search for Talent