If you're using LinkedIn for sales correctly, you won't insert an ask into your initial invitation to connect. It's only after the prospect accepts your personalized connection request and you've diligently observed their behavior on the network that you can follow up with a meeting proposal.

But just like sales emails, there's a right way and a wrong way to write a LinkedIn message.

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Effective LinkedIn Messages

Whether you're sending an InMail or a good old-fashioned message, look to the following template as a guide.


Let's dig into the nine components.

1) Subject line

Strive to make your subject line as specific and buyer-centric possible. A question about the recipient's social activity -- be it a blog post, update, or comment -- generally makes for a click-worthy title.

2) Their first name

Greet your prospect by their first name so they know this message is intended specifically for them.

3) Your name and company

Don't make the reader click on your profile to figure out who's messaging them. Introduce yourself right up front, so they can concentrate on what you've written instead of thinking, "Who is this, anyway?"

4) Commonality

Data has shown that buyers and consumers react much differently to LinkedIn messages from salespeople with whom they share connections than salespeople with whom they don't. If you have something in common with the buyer, such as a group or acquaintance, state this shared connection early on. It'll boost your credibility in their eyes and encourage them to drop their guard.

5) Observation

Sales messages, emails, and voicemails should always be about your buyer, not you. Show buyers that you've done your research by mentioning and commenting on their social activity.

6) Resource offer

Further the conversation that the prospect started on social by providing a resource, such as a content asset, an introduction to an expert, or a recommendation. This demonstrates your ability to help and add value from the get go.

7) Question

Don't underestimate the power of a thoughtful question to get the conversation flowing. Some questions HubSpot Director of Sales Michael Pici recommends include:

  • "Is [topic] a priority for you right now?"
  • "Do you have any unanswered questions about [topic]?"
  • "How, if at all, would you like to improve your strategy?"

8) Interest

Again, make it about the buyer by demonstrating your genuine interest in learning about their situation. The word "curious" never hurts.

9) Request

Every sales interaction should have a defined next step. What do you hope to get out of this message? A call? An email exchange? A referral? Whatever it is, make sure to ask for it in clear terms. If you've piqued the prospect's interest effectively, you won't have any trouble getting them to follow through.

What shouldn't you include in your message? A product or service pitch. As LinkedIn's Koka Sexton points out, the goal of a message is to strike up a conversation -- not close a deal.

"'Salesy' InMails get lower response rates," he writes in a blog post. "Instead, think about how you can engage your prospect in discussion."

And learn about the LinkedIn commercial use limit here. 

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Originally published Sep 21, 2017 12:54:00 AM, updated April 18 2018


Social Selling on LinkedIn