LinkedIn is one of, if not the, most effective source for professional sales leads. Indeed, studies have shown that LinkedIn accounts for an astonishing 97% of leads generated from social media platforms. LinkedIn leads are also typically very well qualified, with a conversion rate three times higher than leads generated from other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
When approaching LinkedIn connections, it’s best to work with a template for your messages. A template will help to save time and help to ensure that you’re following an effective formula. A great LinkedIn messages template will help you connect with people and open a new professional relationship that could result in sales.
You can generate more highly qualified leads with a well-written template, making it an essential part of your marketing machine. However, saying that your templates should be ‘great’ isn’t really helpful. What’s needed is to know what makes a template great and, perhaps more importantly, what is not so great in a template.
One method is to use a template that somebody else has created. These templates will have been very successful in many cases, following best practices that help get the best results. However, while these templates may have been successful for other people, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be successful for you.
Where most pre-made LinkedIn messages templates lack is that they don’t explain WHY they work. This lack of information means people using the templates are doing so blindly with no real idea of whether or not the template will be effective for them. Not knowing why a template works also means a lack of flexibility in adapting a template for your own needs.
We look to address that in this blog, a brief guide on what makes good LinkedIn messages effective. Let’s focus on what makes a lousy email template first, so we can end on a more positive note, talking about what makes a good template.
Don’t Spam Marketing Material
Some companies will go for a hit and hope approach and spam marketing materials hoping that something will stick. This approach might appear to be successful for some organizations that have a vast database of LinkedIn connections to spam marketing material.
Some revenue generated through the sheer weight of numbers might look like a good result, but in reality, the results are more likely to be disastrous if compared with what you could have achieved. If you don’t have an extensive database of LinkedIn connections, there’s a very real chance that you will not make a single sale, and you will burn potential future prospects in the meantime.
Spamming is a tactic that will make your company appear desperate and unprofessional, potentially harming your brand image and doing a lot more harm than good. It’s best to avoid spam altogether and look to more professional and more sophisticated marketing methods instead.
Don’t Make a Sales Pitch
Of course, you want to sell your product, making it very tempting for you to send a message pitching your product and hoping for a positive outcome. But, unfortunately, it’s just not that easy, and making a sales pitch straight away is unlikely to have the desired effect.
Ask yourself if you would try to sell to a total stranger on the street? Why would they even be willing to speak to you at all? Approaching people you don’t know with a sales pitch is just going to come over as pushy, and the prospect is likely to push back more than anything else.
Pitching over LinkedIn messages instead of in-person won’t be any less pushy. Resist the temptation to go in for the pitch straight away – sales takes a lot more work than that. Your LinkedIn connections need to get to know you at least a little first before they willingly spare some of their time. Try and sell too soon, and you’re likely to lose the prospect altogether.
Don’t Ask For Information
Using LinkedIn messages to ask prospects for information is unprofessional, especially if the information is already available in the public domain. People are typically too busy to give random people information, and they are not your information service, so don’t treat them as such. Randomly asking people for their details can also seem intrusive, potentially causing prospects to raise barriers before you’ve even initiated your relationship with them.
Imagine going up to a random stranger in the street and asking them for their email address or phone number. They’re unlikely to want to hand them over without a good reason, and why should it be any different over LinkedIn messages?
If you do need information, then source that information yourself, or wait until an appropriate moment to ask.
Don’t Ask For Advice
Some people seem to think it’s a great idea to kick-off a relationship by asking a prospect for advice in LinkedIn messages. Quite the opposite is true, however.
Professionals are not typically in the habit of handing out free advice to LinkedIn connections they don’t know. They’re likely to be too busy focusing on their own tasks, meaning your message is likely just to be ignored, and once the first message is ignored, any subsequent messages are also likely to be ignored.
One reason why asking for advice is not a good idea is that it can come over as contrived. Prospects will often know that you’re not really looking for advice – you’re just trying to open up the channels of communication so you can try to sell them something. This will instantly cause prospects to distrust you, making it a lot less likely that you will even get close to making a sale.
Don’t forget that you need to be the authority on your product, and asking questions that make it look as though you don’t know the answers might undermine such authority.
Don’t Ask To Book a Meeting Straight Away
Another overused tactic is to try and book a meeting with your LinkedIn connections, but it’s easy to see how it’s a bad idea when you consider it in some depth.
The prospect doesn’t even know you; they don’t know who you are personally, and it’s highly unlikely that they know your company. If they do know your company, then they can contact you whenever it suits them best. You’re asking a hard-working professional to give their time to a stranger, which is unlikely to happen in most cases.
Even if your LinkedIn connections did agree to a meeting with you, how well do you think it’s likely to go considering you’ve not had the opportunity to build any rapport with them? The prospect has no reason to be excited about you or your product, making you work hard just to get them onside instead of educating them about your product. It’s much better to have built rapport and trust first, meaning much of the hard work is already done if you do have a meeting with them.
Of course, it’s great to speak with prospects to educate them on how your product works and why it’s good value for them, but it’s far better to start building a relationship with them first so they already have some interest when they meet you. If you try to arrange a meeting too soon, then they’re likely to push back and, even if they did say yes, there are still too many barriers to overcome.
Don’t Belittle Their Work
Avoid making your LinkedIn connections feel as though their efforts aren’t enough. It can be easy to sound like belittling them or their business, even if you mean to do the complete opposite.
Terms like ‘struggling’, ‘could use help’, and ‘I’m sure you’re working hard’ might be well-intended, but they have a negative vibe about them. It might be a great thing that your product will help reduce their workload, but be careful to frame it positively rather than focus on the negatives.
Make the prospect feel good when you first reach out to them. Make a positive comment about content on your prospect’s profile, or mention how you admire their achievements. Mention that you want to expand your network and that you already have a lot of mutual LinkedIn connections. Whatever the message, it should focus only on the positives, not the negatives. Don’t mention that things might be tough for them, instead focus on the benefits that you could bring.
DO Nurture Your Prospects
The points above all have something in common – a lack of nurturing. Prospects aren’t ready when you first contact them. Not even close in the vast majority of cases. They don’t know you, your product, and you have given them no reason to trust you.
In sales and marketing, it’s very important to work with your prospects and build a relationship with them. Answer questions for them to help them see that you are genuine and they know what you are talking about. The stronger your relationship is when you go for the close, the more likely the prospect will have the confidence in you and your product to say yes.
Companies that excel at lead nurturing will get on average 50% more leads and at a lower cost. Lead nurturing doesn’t necessarily involve a complex sales funnel; it can also mean following some good practices that help you work with your LinkedIn connections more effectively.
How Your First Engagement SHOULD Go
Your first engagement with a LinkedIn prospect is arguably the most important. First impressions last, and your first engagement can significantly affect the chances of making a sale. Perhaps more to the point – if you get the first engagement wrong, the prospect might ignore you completely, giving you zero chance of doing business with them.
One of the most effective ways to make the first engagement successful is to give your LinkedIn connections something useful, something that they can use. It could be something as simple as a blog or article that explains a topic, or maybe an eBook, information pack, or perhaps a video. It needs to be professionally created, but that does not mean to say you need to break the bank.
Giving your prospect something on your first engagement will instantly help you to build rapport with them. The act will help your prospects trust you more, and prospects are more likely to listen to what you say when they trust you and have confidence in what you say.
The Correct Way to Make Your Pitch
You can’t go on nurturing your prospects forever – you need to make money after all. If you warm them up but don’t go in for the close, then a competitor will likely get there ahead of you anyway, so make sure that you get the rewards for your hard work.
However, when you do go in with your pitch, it STILL isn’t time to go in for the sale yet. So instead, the best approach will be to offer to help the prospect in some way; solve a problem for them. Demonstrate how you can solve their problem and how it will make their lives easier.
Of course, your product will be the solution to their problem. If you’re in marketing, for example, show them how your templates will generate more income. If you’re in Fintech, show them how your product will automate their payment processes, and so on.
When you’ve built a rapport with our LinkedIn connections, and you’ve helped solve a problem for them and demonstrated that your product is the solution, it helps make it easier for your prospects to see the value in buying your product. The next step is to complete the sale and you have a brand new customer to work with.
LinkedIn messages are a great source of revenue through expanding your network and developing relationships. However, you will need to work with each prospect correctly if you are to benefit.
For the best results, you should approach your prospect positive manner that focuses on the benefits of them becoming a part of your network. Let them feel good about meeting you rather than having them dwell on the negatives.
Your approach should also try to be useful to the prospect to help grab their attention and get your relationship off on the right foot. Giving somebody something of value is always a great way to develop trust and encourage the prospect to drop their barriers.
With the prospect open, help them with a problem and show how your product is the solution. When your prospect can see how your product is the answer and have confidence in you and your product, you are much closer to making a conversion.
For more information on how to create a LinkedIn messages template that converts, sign up for our powerful eBook with 100+ LinkedIn cold message templates.