LinkedIn outreach is an activity nobody likes doing. It's a prospecting tactic that is essential for social selling, yet we are all so uncomfortable with it. When we receive messages on LinkedIn, that wave of dread comes over us – we're about to be sold to. It's mostly this that makes us shy away for sending messages to our connections on LinkedIn – we don't want them to feel the same when they go to open messages from us. We manage LinkedIn accounts for our clients but when it comes to the actual outreach – it has to come from them rather than us to make sure it's directed at relevant individuals and in a way that is completely natural.
Don't be cold
You've seen the crappy cold sales messages that come through, ‘Hey Christina, I'm just reaching out to you because I've <insert pitch here>. You've probably had the automated messages that just don't hit the mark. ‘Hi Christina, How's business? Are you having a busy day?…' which arrives on a Sunday morning. But you have a choice when it comes to sending your own prospecting messages – they don't have to be cold and crappy! I'm hoping that isn't a huge revelation if I'm honest – but if it was, we definitely need to talk!
These cold messages are massively unnatural – they're not organic. So, how can you make sure your LinkedIn outreach comes across as being warm, natural and organic conversation starters?
Here are some tips:
- Be interesting – Your general LinkedIn presence should be consistent and contain items of interest for your ideal client. That's your profile as well as your general content. Posting interesting content consistently will attract engagement. Those who engage with you deserve to hear from you. Reach out to them and start a conversation.
- Be interested – Engage in the content shared by those who have already gained the attention of your prospects. Be part of the conversation, part of the community. Be a regular face that offers value to conversations. You'll soon see members of that community reaching out to you through connection requests – they've started the conversation, now it's up to you to keep it going.
- Less is more – War and peace messages are BANNED! Gone are the days when LinkedIn messages echoed email communications. Think SMS/Whatsapp/Messenger in style and length. That's the tone and language of the functionality so use it that way!
- Ban closed questions – If you don't invite a reply that gives you the opportunity to continue conversations, then you're not going to get very far with your prospecting communications. Ask something that allows the prospect to talk about themselves a little – who doesn't like doing that?! Suggesting coffee so your prospect can tell you more is probably going to get you more yeses. (Plus if you use this as a filtering tactic you'll probably have less pointless coffee meetings!)
- Change it up – Remember I said earlier that LinkedIn Messenger was more like WhatsApp/Messenger, etc… use the functionalities you have, like voice notes and uploading video clips, to your advantage. If you say you're ‘excited to hear more', or ‘can't wait to talk to' the person you're messaging let them hear it in your voice or see it in your eyes!
- Don't send it to randoms – Of course, you need to send a volume of messages to get enough responses that in turn get you enough meetings. But please, for the love of god, don't take a spray and pray approach! Your outreach activity needs to be targeted, send your messages to those most in need of your product or service. Be selective – the more targeted you can be the better.
- Get personal – make it about them, not about you or what you've got to sell.
- Don't go in for the kill – Do not, under any circumstances, start your message selling your wares. (OK – I know, that's an obvious one!)
- Give – What do you have to offer that is of value? True, “nothing in it for you”, value. Is it a shoulder to cry on? Is it a resource? Is it a link to something form a third party that could be of use? Give something.
- Don't forget to ask – There always needs to be an ask, in the early days it might be for a response but when the time is right, ask for the opportunity to pitch. Don't word it that way – but remember if you don't ask, you don't get!
I see far too many business owners complaining that they don't get leads from LinkedIn. Half of them don't follow up; the other half follow up too aggressively. Hopefully, as you navigate LinkedIn, you can use the information here to ensure you are doing the prospecting and following up – but in the right way. The right way will produce leads and sales I guarantee it.