To be effective on LinkedIn, carefully consider how you correspond with your extended network.  Every word must be carefully chosen.  You are selling yourself in order to sell your product. This article outlines how to write effective prospecting messages on LinkedIn.  To assist you, I provide a LinkedIn Message Writing Guide.  It includes best practices, message examples, and several templates.

 

LinkedIn is Critical to Your Sales Strategy

LinkedIn recently eclipsed 225 million users worldwide.  When it comes to selling your product, that is a statistic to consider.

 

Certainly, the social media network is now part of standard business practices. It is displacing email and phone calls as a first point of contact. Why? Because LinkedIn provides the personal context a phone number or email address cannot.

 

LinkedIn reveals what is important to your Buyer. You find this in the articles they share and the profiles they write. So when it comes to selling more and making your number, LinkedIn is critical.  Make it a part of your selling strategy. Your account management and business development efforts must include LinkedIn. Personal connections have a far greater chance of closing deals.

 

Earn the Right to Send a LinkedIn Message

While a LinkedIn profile is public, the inbox is not.  Someone’s LinkedIn message inbox is immensely personal. Unless they know you well, you have little to no reputational value.  When you send a message, you enter personal space.  Therefore you must earn the right for the person to respond.

 

Seems obvious, but I’m surprised how often this is taken for granted. In fact, do a survey of your own LinkedIn inbox.  You will find messages that fall into any of these categories:

 

  • Canned, generic LinkedIn introduction or message
  • Canned, the lengthy sales pitch (Literally hundreds of words)
  • Canned, the short form letter
  • Customized, with spelling errors (or other mistakes)
  • Customized, no clear call to action. (I have no idea what the person wanted from me)
  • Customized, relevant, short n sweet with a clear call to action (I respond to these!)

 

 

Send a Message with a Purpose

As a Sales Rep, you are seeking one of the following desired results:

 

  • Referral/introduction to a new connection (grow personal network)
  • Idea exchange (improve knowledge or share your insights)
  • Secure a phone or in-person conversation (start the sales process)
  • Acquire subscribers (start lead generation process for you or your company)

 

When it comes to prospecting, referrals are critical. You want to grow your LinkedIn network, but with Value Connections.  These Value Connections are people who facilitate your selling strategy.  Here are several ways you can acquire more Value Connections in a personal way.

 

  • Ask one of your contacts for an introduction to someone in their network.
  • Write someone you don’t know, but you have a common connection.
  • Connect with someone who shared an interesting link that you read.
  • Connect with someone after they read something you shared.

 

linkedIn connecting

 

How to Send a Message in LinkedIn

You want to prospect in LinkedIn.  To get the desired result, you need to write short, personalized messages. To accomplish this, consider a few best practices:

 

  • Choose your audience.  What’s the title of the person you are contacting?  Are they an executive or an individual contributor? Are they marketing or technical? (Read more about Buyer Personas)
  • Select specific language that is relevant to your audience.
  • Have a good reason to connect. The more credibility you have, the more likely they are to respond.
  • Create your call to action.  Be clear in what you want from this person.
    Write your subject line.  Like the title of an article or blog post, it grabs the attention.
  • Write the body.  You only need 3 or 4 sentences.  Each should be short and meaningful.
  • Spell check, spell check, and spell check again.
  • Be ready to keep the conversation going.

 

Download the LinkedIn Message Writing Guide with templates and best practices to get started.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Bernoske

Go-to Market Innovator
Learn more about Dan Bernoske >

Prior to SBI, Dan held business development, sales, and product management leadership positions at several start-up companies, developing Apple iOS platforms and E-Commerce-based social networks. Most notably, Dan was co-founder of Video Lantern, an online video advertising sales and operations firm. He is Six Sigma certified from GE.

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