If you are like many people, you haven’t nailed the process of generating business from LinkedIn. And you likely abhor those LinkedIn lead generation messages that are nothing but sales pitches!
Let’s face it, the sales pitchers ruin it for everyone, putting most people on guard against anything sales-related in a LinkedIn message.
An effective social selling process generates leads without ever making your messages sound like sales pitches.
In fact, the entire goal of social selling (aka lead generation on LinkedIn) is to move your conversations offline, where you can build rapport, understand your prospects’ problems/challenges better and then offer your solutions to them.
The selling happens offline!
Additional reading: Master the B2B social selling funnel on LinkedIn.
To start a dialogue with prospects on LinkedIn, I use a series of lead generation messages. I start with the initial connection request and finish with a request to move the conversation offline – either to a phone call, a video chat or an in-person meeting if the prospect is local.
But I must warn you, the day of template-based messages with only the name of your prospect personalized are gone! They don’t work anymore. You need to spend some time personalizing the content of your messages, not just your leads’ names.
Create LinkedIn Lead Generation Messages That Get a Response
1. Send a personalized connection request message
It is essential to include personal messages when sending connection requests to people you do not know on LinkedIn.
Think about your reaction when you get a random connection request from a stranger. You probably ask yourself: “Who is this person and why are they trying to connect with me?”
Effective lead generation requires a certain level of personalization of your communication so you can develop 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 Ignore and potentially the I don’t know this person option.
It takes only five people clicking the I don’t know this person link in response to your invitation to land you in LinkedIn jail. As a result, LinkedIn will restrict your account, requiring you to know the email address of the person you want to send a connection request to. This will be the end of your LinkedIn lead gen and social selling efforts!
Your goal with your connection request is to write it in a such a way – i.e., personalize – that your lead will be inclined to accept it.
LinkedIn connection request example
Hi [FIRST NAME],
[INSERT SOMETHING THAT INTERESTS YOU ABOUT THE PERSON].
[MENTION SOMETHING SPECIFIC YOU NOTICED IN THEIR PROFILE OR THE CONTENT THEY HAVE SHARED].
I’d appreciate the opportunity to connect with you on LinkedIn.
2. Send a thank-you (welcome) message to new connections
Once a lead has accepted your connection request, your next step is to build rapport with them by sending a welcome, or thank-you, message. Do NOT use this message to start selling to them.
The goal of your welcome message is to establish rapport and start a conversation, requesting nothing in return.
In this first message, in addition to thanking your prospect for connecting, I suggest you find something to compliment them on. It’s also effective to ask them a very simple question, perhaps about their profession/business/company or something they have recently shared on LinkedIn.
Example welcome message (keep it short, simple and hyper-personalized)
Hi [FIRST NAME],
Thank you for connecting with me.
[INSERT COMPLIMENT ABOUT THEIR PROFILE/ PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND/ ACCOMPLISHMENT/ CONTENT THEY SHARED, ETC.]
[ASK A QUESTION ABOUT AN INITIATIVE IN THEIR COMPANY OR SOMETHING THEY SHARED RECENTLY ON LINKEDIN]
Most people who send a thank-you/welcome message after connecting with someone send the sales pitch, and it doesn’t work.
Fewer than 1% of LinkedIn users are getting results from the platform. And it’s not because it doesn’t work. It’s because they make one of three mistakes. Find out what those three mistakes are here.
3. Add value
Most people never get past the welcome message, so they fail to ever begin building relationships with their LinkedIn connections.
It’s a good idea to send another message about a week after your thank-you message.
In this message, the goal is to offer value to your new connection/lead by providing them with a resource they would find useful or interesting. The content you share could be your own (content creation) or content created by someone else (content curation).
When deciding what content to share in your personalized outreach, you must consider these questions when it comes to your prospect:
- What are they interested in?
- What is currently important to them?
- What current problems do they face?
Example message (your only goal is to add value)
Hi [FIRST NAME],
[A PERSONAL STATEMENT OR QUESTION BASED ON THEIR PROFILE OR RECENT POSTS].
[MENTION THE RESOURCE YOU WANT TO SHARE ALONG WITH A COUPLE OF RELEVANT STATS OR INTERESTING POINTS DESCRIBING IT].
[A PERTINENT STATEMENT MADE FROM THE INFORMATION YOU PULLED FROM THE RESOURCE AND WHY IT MIGHT BE HELPFUL OR OF VALUE TO THEM].
If you want to check out [RESOURCE], I’d be happy to send it your way. Just let me know if it’s of interest to you.
Have a great day.
4. Move the conversation offline
In B2B, in most cases, the only way to convert a prospect to a customer is to move the conversation offline.
The next message you send will be developed with this purpose in mind.
The soonest you should send this message is one week after the last message you sent although you could wait a little longer.
Your goal with this message is to set up a phone call, a video call or an in-person meeting, depending on how you do business.
Note: if you and your prospect had any dialogue before this, the content of your message and your timing sending it would change to reflect your previous exchanges. See if it’s appropriate to include information you gleaned from their responses to make your message more relevant and personalized to them.
Example message (your goal is to (a) schedule an introductory call to learn more about them, (b) share some helpful insights for their business and, if there seems to be a fit, (c) schedule a longer call to have a more in-depth conversation)
Hi [FIRST NAME],
[ASK IF THEY WOULD HAVE 15/20 MINUTES TO GET ON A CALL THIS WEEK. TELL THEM WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM].
[GIVE THEM A SPECIFIC REASON WHY THEY WOULD BENEFIT FROM TAKING THIS TIME OUT OF THEIR BUSY SCHEDULE].
Let me know if there’s a time that fits your schedule this week. I’d love to share some insights on [XYZ] that I think you’ll find really interesting and valuable.
5. Nurture your leads
Often, a prospect will not be ready to listen to your message or consider buying your solution when you offer it to them.
That may change three or six months down the road. That’s why it’s important to stay top of mind when it comes to your leads. Continue to nurture the relationship by providing your prospect with valuable insights and content from time to time.
Sharing content publicly is also important. You can do it in the form of consistent status updates, which your leads will see in their newsfeeds. While there is no guarantee they will consume your content, there is a higher likelihood that you will stay relevant to them by posting valuable content.
Additionally, you can send them personal messages from time to time when you come across something highly relevant to them and their industry.
Also stay on the lookout for opportunities to authentically engage with their posts on LinkedIn and perhaps other social media channels they use.
Monitor trigger events that offer opportunities to engage your connections comfortably and naturally, which will allow you to continue to nurture your relationships.
Create a Structure to Your LinkedIn Lead Generation Messages
Creating a structure to your LinkedIn lead generation messages will dramatically increase your results, save you time and force you to think about how you’re going to build relationships with the right people in a strategic way.
If you’d like to be in the 1% of LinkedIn users generating business from the platform consistently, read LinkedIn Unlocked. You’ll learn a system that will turn LinkedIn into a reliable lead generation machine for you. Get a digital copy here or get it in print or audiobook on Amazon here.