Time to read: 3 minutes. The goal of LinkedIn InMail prospecting is not to get a meeting. It’s to provoke a potential buyer to ask, “can you tell me more about that?” This gets you in the game. Then you can step up to the plate and swing.
Getting better response is within reach—IF you prove you’re unlike most crap in their inbox.
But here’s the trick: The goal of InMail prospecting is to earn the right to proceed. Nothing else.
Here is a proven way to spark prospects curiosity AND get them asking for more details. At the end, I’ll provide a template to make it easy.
Over-relying on InMail.
Asking for the meeting in the “first touch.”
Point blank: Most sellers ask too much, too fast … too big an ask. Instead, ask for a conversation … a discussion that may-or-may-not lead to a meeting.
Are you rushing the meeting? Think about it. Instead, qualify that meeting using email.
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator can be worth your investment. But only if you have an effective, repeatable way to get buyers:
Qualifying themselves. Use email to set betting meetings — not just more.
Before you consider your approach to InMail please know this: My students who do best with InMail use it last in their communications sequence (as a last resort). They reach out via phone and using standard email first — before using InMail.
Also, there are 3 kinds of email message strategies when prospecting: Tailored, targeted and templated. We’ll get to that in a moment.
Access. LinkedIn is forcing users to pay-up if they want to access the database. It’s that simple. Yes, Navigator gives you other bells-and-whistles. But the core value is access to the database.
You’re buying a faster, easier way to search (access) specific kinds of prospects. LinkedIn will also make suggestions for you—help you find potential buyers.
However, making InMail messages work takes an effective, repeatable message sequence process to get prospects talking with you. InMail is not a better way to get in front of your targets. It’s not. You’ve got to be provocative within the message.
Remember, all Navigator gives you is access. Nothing else.
Everyone on Earth scans their inbox the same way. Without exception.
BUT this can be used to your advantage. There is a technique that plays on this negative attitude prospects have.
Lately, my students are turning this ugly reality into a refreshing approach to LinkedIn InMail prospecting. The communications method they’re learning is a breath of fresh air to their prospects. It’s that cool.
Below is an example of a REAL LinkedIn InMail I received … a message that is not brief, blunt or basic and asks for too much too fast.
Following this message I’ll diagnose and treat what, exactly, is killing this InMail’s chances of getting a reply.
SUBJECT: Can we talk?
My name is Steve Jones (actual name/company redacted). We haven’t spoken before; however, we share a group. I viewed your profile and I believe I can help you save time and money on your existing IT solutions!
My company, Jones Technology Services, specializes in (1) Cloud Computing, (2) Infrastructure, (3) Telecom Equipment & Services and (4) Security Projects. I have been doing this for 25 years and I have a proven track record of saving clients up to 60% on their existing solutions!! I do this through existing contractual agreements with key IT vendors. This means you will get preferred pricing AND possibly a better solution!
However, if you are not the right person who is in charge of your company’s existing IT solutions, a warm referral would be very much appreciated. Do you know who I can contact that is in charge of making decisions regarding IT? Would you be able to provide me with their name and a phone number so I could get in touch? I really want to thank you in advance for your helping me out here.
I would love to offer a free analysis on your company’s current solutions and provide some details on how JTS can save the company money.
I would really like to schedule a few minutes of time with the right person to speak about it.
From within my inbox I quickly conclude: I don’t know Steve … but he wants to talk.
Introducing yourself is like screaming, “unsolicited sales pitch ahead!” in 95% of cases. Already, this email is labeled by readers as spammy.
Once I view his message, Steve reminds me of what I already know: He doesn’t know me. Already, Steve has wasted my time.
Let’s assume I continue reading. Steve claims relevancy through a LinkedIn Group I belong to. Steve has no idea why I belong to that Group. How could he? Yet he believes this to be a strong point of relevancy. In fact, Steve just showed me he’ll do anything to start a conversation with a stranger.
Then Steve tells me what he really wants: To sell me something.
Nothing wrong with that!
But he doesn’t say it directly. He says he wants to “help me save time and money” on IT systems—a service I am clearly not in the market for. Steve is trying to make selling me IT services (that I don’t need) look like a good idea—and getting caught having NOT actually done what he said he did (qualified me as a buyer).
The goal of InMail is to earn the right to proceed. Nothing else.
A really long time. I mean look at the size of this email!
I’m not saying Steve (or anyone writing emails like this) is stupid or wrong. I’m simply saying this is NOT effective. Here’s why.
Steve is going for the kill … all in 1 email. He wants me to:
Too much, too fast. Plus, Steve’s email is:
Instead, my best students are working to provoke a, “can you tell me more about that?” from a potential buyer.
This gets you in the game. Not to talk about buying. To talk about a pain, goal, fear or challenge… that may or may not lead to a buying decision.
SUBJECT: need help with this?
Is cloud computing or outsourced IT solution on the horizon for your business? If so, I propose a short email exchange — to decide if a serious conversation is warranted. If not, thanks for your time in considering. Please let me know what you decide, Jeff?
WARNING: This kind of approach is not researched — not personalized. But it would still be more effective than Steve’s original message.
Before you consider your approach to InMail please know this: My students who do best with InMail use it last in their communications sequence (as a last resort). They reach out via phone and using standard email first — before using InMail. This works better for a number of reasons.
The above example has limitations and advantages. Here’s the rub. There are 3 kinds of email messages when prospecting:
Selecting the correct template style is vital to your success. Each style has advantages and disadvantages in certain selling situations.
Would you like to take part in a InMail Writing Clinic? You’ll learn more — step by step — about improving your LinkedIn InMail prospecting (or any email messaging) results.
Join me as I improve a few InMails, LIVE!
Remember, the goal of LinkedIn InMail prospecting is not to get a meeting. It’s to provoke a potential buyer to ask, “can you tell me more about that?” This gets you in the game. Next, you step up to the plate.
Photo credit: marsmet tallahassee
Jeff Molander is the authority on starting sales conversations online. He teaches a proven, effective and repeatable communications process to spark buyers curiosity about what you're selling. He's a sought-after sales prospecting trainer to individual reps, teams of sellers and small businesses owners across the globe. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe.Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.