The best way to get appointments on LinkedIn

(and a template to get started)

Here is what I’ve learned along side my customers. Surprisingly the key is NOT asking for the appointment.  

Instead, use the first message to earn permission for a discussion.

Then, conduct the conversation (via email) in a way that creates an urge in the prospect to ask you for the appointment. Why? 

Because they cannot resist.​

Sound crazy? Too much like trickery? Or maybe I'm just shooting my mouth off? Stick with me. I’ll even give you a template to make it easy.

Connections suck as a first touch

Connections are not effective as a 'first touch' strategy. Plus, they're risky. 

If your connection requests are not accepted by prospects often enough LinkedIn will remove your ability to make connection requests.

Other than InMail, it is best to initiate contact off of LinkedIn first—then connect on LinkedIn to nurture the conversation forward.

This takes full advantage of what connections give you. (and avoids risk of being punished by LinkedIn)

Here's the short version. Being connected with prospects on LinkedIn is:

  • less effective for earning meetings or starting relationships
  • more effective at nurturing conversations toward closure.

This is the piece of the puzzle you might be missing with LinkedIn. Success often boils down to your ability to give prospects an irresistible reason to talk.

This is what we learn how to do in our next Spark Selling Workshop. Join us. It's fun.

Just 10 of us... so I can spend time coaching you.

Asking for appointments kills response rates

Beginning your prospecting effort by asking for an appointment ensures you'll be rejected by 90 – 97% of perfectly good prospects. So says Sharon Drew Morgen, inventor of the Buying Facilitation method. And she’s got 20 years of experience to back-up the statement.

Not to mention my (and my students' collective) experience. 

This is because most buyers don’t (yet) know what they need when you email them. Or they have a latent, festering pain that is not fully manifested. Or they do have a need (for a solution) but aren’t ready to buy yet for any number of reasons. For example, they may not have assembled the decision-making team—yet.

Setting an appointment with a seller will happen—but not with you.

Because you asked for it (too early).

What you should do first, instead

The goal of your first InMail / email message is permission + attraction.

Make this your ONLY objective. Nothing else. It’s a lot like an effective cold call.

This is a best practice most sales reps don’t know about.

Here's the best way to make this a habit. Take a sticky-note and hand this on your wall... look at it daily as a reminder.

Start writing in a way that gets buyers:

  1. affirming (they are a viable candidate) and eventually
  2. inquiring (“can you tell me more about that?”).

The goal of your InMail / email message is to earn the right to step up to the plate—not swing for the wall. Ok. Sorry for the baseball analogy. With me it's baseball or fishing!

Consider joining a small group of us... to get really good at it.

A better approach

I know it "just feels right" to start with a connection request. Imagine. There you are ... on the prospect's profile. There's that big CONNECT button. Just staring at you saying, "Cliiiick me... CLIIIICK ME!"

But don't. You'll only sabotage yourself.

You are smart—using LinkedIn to find and qualify buyers. But instead of jumping-the-gun with a connection, use InMail, email or the phone to make initial contact.

Confirm your prospect is a viable near-term or future buyer.

Then connect.

Using this technique, you’ll often get response plus details about the prospect.

You’ll discover when the prospect will be ready for an appointment. Or you might uncover who is on the decision-making team, or what stage of decision-making they’re in.

You’ll get all of this if you’re brief, blunt and basic. Be quick, get to the point and don’t confuse them.

How to create the urge with Killer B's

Getting more response and appointments will start happening for you. Follow my lead. But it will only happen when you help prospects feel curious about how you can help them solve a problem, relieve a pain, avoid a risk or fast-track a goal.

Start by using your first message to provoke a, “can you tell me more?” from a potential buyer.

Use the chance to surface an unknown fact the prospect needs to know before they can make an informed decision.

Get on the radar of your decision-maker by asking for permission to facilitate discussion.

Avoid trying to understand need. Here's how.

It’s a common sense, effective formula: Being brief, blunt and basic. Yet few of us practice it. And that’s a huge mistake. Because buyers scan their inboxes the same way. No exceptions. They want to know:

  • Who is emailing me? (Is this spam?)
  • What do they want?
  • How long will this take?

By addressing this reality directly you’ll get yourself noticed (opened) and responded to more often.

This is what we learn how to do in our next Email Writing Clinic also. Join us at this lower price-point as compared to the workshop.  

An effective template

Here is an effective "Brief, Blunt & Basic" message template for you to try. Let me know how it works for you?

Hi, Sam.

Are you adding new capability to your ______________ [insert area of business your product addresses] any time soon or in future? I work with organizations like _______ [prospect’s business] to make sure ________ [goal].

Would you like to quickly explore, via email, if a larger conversation makes sense? Please let me know what you decide, Sam?

Thanks for considering,

Would you like more templates like this? I'll give you a few more at our next Email Writing Workshop

Remember, be creative. You don’t need to stick with this template verbatim. Make the tone sound like you. Adjust it. Get in touch in comments or email me with the results this approach produces for you! 

Do you have questions about making this technique “come alive” for you ... or your sales team? Let me know!

To your success,

Jeff Molander

© Molander & Associates Inc.. All rights reserved. InMail® is a registered trademark of LinkedIn® Corporation. This site and the products and services offered on this site are not associated, affiliated, endorsed, or sponsored by Linkedin, nor have they been reviewed, tested or certified by LinkedIn.