Are you actively engaging potential prospects on LinkedIn?
If not, it’s likely because you lack an effective social selling process that is streamlined and designed to help engage your target market while moving them through the sales process. Sound complex? Bear with me…you’ll catch up by the end of this article.
I broke down how my LinkedIn social selling funnel works a while back (go here if you haven’t seen it yet) and described in detail how I move conversations offline. What I didn’t describe was exactly what you should say, or at least what I say when communicating with new connections.
I have a series of lead generation messages that I use at different steps of the process to start a dialogue with prospects on LinkedIn. It starts with the initial connection request and finishes with a request to move the conversation offline – either to the phone, Skype or in-person if they’re local.
1. Send a Personal Message When Connecting
Do you include a personal message when sending invitations to connect on LinkedIn? Social selling is all about personalization and developing relationships based on trust and value. It’s for this reason that I ALWAYS stress the importance of having a personalized message when connecting with new people, specifically people you’ve never met before.
If you’re connecting with someone you haven’t met before and don’t include a personal note, don’t be surprised if they end up hitting the “I Don’t Know This Person” or the “Report Spam” option. Get just five of these and you’re in LinkedIn jail with a serious hit to your social selling campaign. Essentially LinkedIn will restrict your account and not allow you to send future connection requests without knowing the persons email address.
Here are two examples of messages I use when connecting with new people on LinkedIn:
You Are Both Members of The Same Group
Since we are both members of GROUP NAME, I thought it would be great to connect here on LinkedIn. As a VOCATION, I always love to meet people in the same industry that are of like mind.
You Share Mutual Connections
I noticed we’re both connected to (name mutual connection) and actively involved in the Okanagan business community. You’re doing some great work at BUSINESS NAME and I thought it would be great to connect here on LinkedIn.
PRO TIP: Wondering how to select a shared group as an option to connect when LinkedIn asks how you know that person? They took it away a few months back but this article shows two secret ways to access it.
2. Send a “Welcome” Message To New Connections
Keep an eye out for email notifications from LinkedIn that alert you when someone has accepted your invitation to connect. I generally disable most email notifications because they get annoying after a while but I find this way to be easiest when tracking your new connections as they come in.
The goal here is simply to start a dialogue with that person and position yourself as someone that provides value. This will also give you a chance to feel out their potential as a prospect for you.
Here’s an example of a message I like to send:
Thank you for connecting with me here on LinkedIn. As a VOCATION, I’m always pleased to see others doing good work in the INDUSTRYNAME industry.
Are there any particular types of people that you’re looking to network with on LinkedIn (or outside)? I would be happy to look at my network to see if there is anyone I can connect you with.
PRO TIP: Have a slightly different message script for those that reach out to you. Tweak it slightly to thank them for connecting with you and considering asking them how they found you if they are indeed inside your target market.
3. Follow Up After One Week
Hopefully you managed to spark some dialogue with your welcome message but if not, this is your chance to make an impression and it better be good. Personalization is more important in this message than any that came previous to it as they might be wondering, “What the heck does this person want from me?” by this point.
The goal with this message is to continue building value and also demonstrating that you understand their major pain points. It’s not quite time to move the conversation offline but you can consider providing some sort of high value freebie that gets them into your email list.
It’s imperative that this message:
- Contains something that benefits the person you are trying to reach
- Is personalized for the individual
- Shows that you understand one of their greatest pain points
- Does not pitch your products or services (we’re not quite there yet)
Here’s an example of a message I used in a social selling campaign for a client in the skin care industry. His target market was buyers for retail stores that focused on beauty products.
SUBJECT: NAME, I thought you’d find this of interest
Hope that all is well with you. I know you’re very involved in the beauty industry with your work at COMPANY NAME so this news flash may be of interest to you as it again highlights the growing concern of toxic chemicals in consumer products and shows the concrete measures being taken to address this abroad.
The EU has always been stricter when it comes to toxic chemicals in skin care products, recently banning a chemical linked to eczema.
Here’s a link to the article I think you’ll find interesting:
INSERT LINK HERE
As an experienced professional in the industry, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
As you can see, it’s highly personalized and must fit both your goals as a business and address the concerns of your prospects at the same time. In this case, the goal was to get a non-toxic skin care product on the shelves of retail stores by using education.
4. Follow Up One to Two Weeks Later
This is your last shot for a while if you don’t get a reply, or else you’ll be crossing into stalker territory. OK, that’s a bit extreme but you know what I mean.
The goal here is to build on the foundation we laid in the previous messages and move this conversation offline.
SUBJECT LINE: Following up
I know that you’re actively involved in the INDUSTRY NAME and I wanted to chat with you for a few minutes on how the largest companies in the US are now taking concrete steps to address this problem of PAIN POINT.
Would you be available for a quick phone call next week to discuss how this could benefit COMPANY NAME?
Let me know a day and a time that will work for you and we can jump on a quick call. I look forward to hearing back from you.
5. Plan B: When All Else Fails
The reality of social selling is that sometimes you may not get anywhere with your conversations because building relationships is a long-term strategy. If your goal is to reach as many people as possible in little time, purchase a billboard in Times Square.
You’ll want to stay on the radar with your most ideal prospects as much as possible so I would recommend the following if the previous messages fail at spawning meaningful dialogue.
- Stay top-of-mind with daily status updates that are relevant to your target market.
- Interact with posts and status updates from people in your network. An opportunity may present itself down the road based on something they say in their post.
- Send valuable content when you come across it. If a couple months roll by and you stumble upon a killer article that you know a potential prospect would find useful, send it their way.
Start Creating Your Own LinkedIn Lead Generation Messages
Creating your own LinkedIn lead generation messages will save you tons of time and force you to really think about how you’re going to build relationships with the right people in a strategic way.
Got any questions about creating LinkedIn lead generation messages? Leave a comment below or tweet at me.