How To Use LinkedIn Boolean Search For Sales Prospecting

How To Use LinkedIn Boolean Search For Sales Prospecting
Amplify your sales prospecting efforts by learning how to utilize LinkedIn Boolean search operators with real-life examples.

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Are you actively searching for new connections on LinkedIn?

Then LinkedIn search is your best friend. Although very powerful it’s very hard to pinpoint the exact people you’re trying to connect with.

Instead of scrolling through hundreds of people to find who you’re looking for, LinkedIn Boolean search gives you superpowers.

Using it wisely can save you hundreds of hours. 

In this article, we’ll explain what LinkedIn Boolean search is and how you can use it to improve sales prospecting and time and effort in the process.

Let’s get started.

What Is LinkedIn Boolean Search?

LinkedIn Boolean search is a powerful feature that allows you to use specific keywords and operators to narrow down your search results.

It can help you find specific people, companies, or jobs on LinkedIn based on the criteria and combinations of criteria you input saving you time in finding new leads and job opportunities.

Boolean search utilizes common logical operators such as “AND”, “OR”, and “NOT” to combine keywords and phrases for complex search queries.

These operators can be used in all search fields including titles, company names, profiles, groups, etc.

Most commonly, you will be utilizing boolean operators in LinkedIn search. For example, if you want to find prospects who work at “Google” and have a “Sales” keyword in their profile.

As a result, you would get the results of people with those two words in their first line.

So let’s check what LinkedIn Boolean search operators exist that we can use for our purposes.

LinkedIn Boolean Search Operators Cheat Sheet

Boolean operators help you narrow down your keyword searches to find results closer to what you are looking for.

There are five special operators you can use in LinkedIn search. They include:

  • Quotation marks – Allows you to search for exact keywords or phrases that appear in the order written in the quotations. (“sales manager”)
  • AND – Allows you to combine two or more different search terms displaying only profiles that contain both phrases. (“sales manager” AND “technology”)
  • OR – Allows you to search for profiles that contain one or more phrases. (“sales manager” OR “CEO” OR “marketing manager”)
  • NOT – Excludes profiles that contain the given query from the results. (“business analyst“ NOT IT)
  • Parentheses – Allows you to create complex search queries with complex use of all the other boolean operators. ((“project manager” OR PM) AND budgeting)

Before we get into explaining each of those, you should have in mind the prioritization order of these operators: 

  1. Quotes (“”) 
  2. Parentheses [()]
  3. NOT
  4. AND 
  5. OR  

This will give you a better idea of how you should write your queries to get the results you’re looking for.

Now that you understand each operator, let’s take a look at when’s the best time to use each one.

1. Quotation Marks

Quotations are great if you’re searching for phrases spanning multiple words like job titles or name and last name combinations.

For example, if you’re searching for “Product Owner”. Being a two-word job title, quotations would be the best way to search for these profiles.

Note: You should keep in mind that LinkedIn recognizes standard straight quotation marks only (”). 

Curly quotation marks (“), also known as smart quotes or typographer’s quotes, aren’t supported by LinkedIn. 

In addition, to optimize your overall search results, make sure not to use words such as “by,” “in,” “with” and others.

2. NOT Searches

If you want any term to be excluded from your search results, just type “NOT” before a search term, or you can also type a minus sign (–) instead of NOT to achieve the same goal. 

But for more accurate results, we suggest using the term “NOT.”   

For example, type: Owner NOT “Product Owner”. 

This way, you will receive a list of people who don’t have “Product Owner” in their headline but just “Owner” as you can see in the image results.

3. OR Searches

If you need results that include one or more items in a list, you can type “OR” between two words of your search.

This way, you’ll receive broader search results from either one or the other term you searched for.   

For example, type: Founder OR CEO

Here, you will get a list of people with the “CEO” or “Founder” terms in their headlines, as shown in the image above.

4. AND Searches

In case you want to receive results that include two or more search terms, you should use “AND” between the two terms you’re looking for. 

This is a great way to narrow your search to people who hold two or more titles in their LinkedIn profile.

For example, type: Founder AND CEO 

See how the results are different in comparison to using OR in your search.

In this case, you have a list of people who are at the same time Founders and CEOs of a company. 

Note: In case your search has two or more terms, it’s not necessary to use the term “AND”, you’ll, either way, get results that include both of those terms.

5. Parenthetical Searches

Parentheses allow you to much more complexity when searching for people on LinkedIn which is great for getting specific.

They require a bit more work and foresight but will give you the best results.

Using parentheses in the search bar will be considered as a single team.

For example: “CTO AND (Founder OR Owner)”.

In this case, you will get results from people who are CTO+Founder or CTO+Owner.   

How to Use LinkedIn Boolean Search for Sales Prospecting

Using LinkedIn Boolean search is a great way to make a huge difference in your sales prospecting process.

Instead of going through basic lists of prospects you can narrow it down and start connecting.

To filter down your search use this process:

  1. Create a list of Boolean formulas before starting the search process. Write them in a doc or notes app for repeated use.
  2. Click on the LinkedIn search bar, copy the formula, and click enter.
  3. Choose the “People” and the “2nd” or “3rd+” option to search through your 2nd or 3rd-degree connections.
  4. Adjust other LinkedIn filters like the location, industry, and company filters to narrow down the search.
  5. Identify who you want to connect with, and open their LinkedIn profile in a new tab. 

Once you find the people that fit your criteria there are two routes you can go through.

Connect with them and send them a LinkedIn message or an InMail immediately, however, this might seem too salesy and you might not want to connect with them right away.

The better approach would be to use the LeadDelta Sidebar to import them into your LeadDelta.

leaddelta sidebar import

Now you can be assured that you won’t lose them and that you can connect with them at a later date while pushing them through your custom sales pipeline made with LeadDelta Tags.

leaddelta tags

LinkedIn Boolean Search Examples to Get You Started

While there are millions of combinations of operators you can use to find new prospects, let’s take a look at our favorite LinkedIn Boolean search examples that got us sales results.

You can copy these templates and change their parameters to fit your search:

  1. (industry) AND title:(job title) – Find a person working in a specific industry with a specific job title. Examples: marketing AND title:marketing manager.
  2. Seniority AND (title OR title) AND (Keyword OR keywordSynonym) – Find a person by their title, and seniority and include keywords specifying them further. Example: Head AND (Sales OR Marketing) AND (SaaS OR “Software as a Service”)
  3. Company:(specific company) AND title:(specific job title) – Find people working for a specific company with a specific job title. Example: company:Apple AND title:”Marketing Director”
  4. (title OR title OR title) AND language AND (language OR language) – Finding a candidate with knowledge in specific programming languages. Example: (developer OR engineer OR Programmer) AND Java AND (Python OR JavaScript).
  5. school:(school) AND industry:(industry) – Find people who went to a specific school and are working in a specific industry. Example: school: Harvard AND industry:technology.

These are just a few ideas you can take to find either new prospects, talent, or opportunities on LinkedIn.

Once you have a list you can use advanced filters to filter down your list.

Note that if you’re using the LeadDelta Sidebar, it will follow you on LinkedIn giving you access to even more filtering options alongside the ability to import contacts into LeadDelta with a single click.

leaddelta sidebar filters

Conclusion

Being specific is the new name of the sales game. You can’t afford to contact thousands of people to get to your goal.

Instead of wasting hours connecting with people and starting conversations that lead to nowhere, focus on the first step, search.

Utilize LinkedIn Boolean search operators to find the exact people you’re looking for and start connecting with the right people.

Take the first step towards unlocking your network's full potential. Try LeadDelta for free.