This is the second part of our key messages series, analyzing cold messaging this time. Read the first part here: Crafting Key Messages that Sell – Cold Emailing in Style
Since 2002, LinkedIn has served as a hub for business communication and networking. Today, there are more than 756 million members across 200 countries and territories. These professionals use LinkedIn to post jobs or find them, share insights and connect with others in their field.
Social selling on LinkedIn
LinkedIn can also be a place for social selling. Your sales team can send pitch emails and marketing messages to key leads while nurturing discussions that convert into clients and customers.
However, don’t make the mistake of pitching too early or forgetting the need to be targeted. This will only turn potential leads off before you get a chance to sell them. Instead, brush up on these best practices to be most effective.
Make sure you reach decision-makers
The start-up boom of the last few decades has left many people with creative, and often confusing job titles. What does it mean for someone to be a Director of First Impressions? Do they have any executive power like someone in a standard director position would—or are they a receptionist? The problem is, if you don’t know who they are, you risk reaching out to the wrong people or even the wrong department.
LinkedIn is full of information about its users and provides clues as to what they do. If you aren’t sure about someone’s job title, look at their career history and their job summary. Check to see what associations they’re part of or what groups they are in.
A few minutes of research can tell you whether a CPA really is a Certified Public Accountant in finance or a Chief People Administrator in customer care.
Look for unexpected connections
You may have more connections to your potential leads than you think. Look through individual profiles for potential connections. Dig deeper than your second and third-level suggestions. Look at the professional organizations, previous companies, nonprofit causes, and hometowns of different leads. Any connection can help you personalize your message and build rapport, increasing your chances of a response.
Keep track of the connections you find in your research so you can turn back to them later. If you don’t hear back via LinkedIn, you may reach out via email or phone call and can refer to the same connection.
Use search features to get specific
Another way to finding leads with whom you have a connection is to use the advanced search functionality. Instead of just searching for COOs, you can sort by school attended, location, past company, industry and service categories. To immediately build rapport, use this to find leads who also attended your college or university. In your pitch, you might say “I am also an alumnus of University of Vermont, Go, Cats, Go!” 🙂
This creates a connection and even gives you something to talk about and refer back to in future conversations.
Focus on a specific product or service
As you craft your messages, focus on a specific call to action that your recipient can act on. Don’t forget to also consider how reasonable that specific call to action is for your lead. As Cal Newport, author of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, explains:
“Any request that requires someone to block off time on their calendar—for a call, for a coffee, to stop to chat with your team—can be, for someone who is running a packed professional schedule, a massive ask.”
Making your message clear and specific, while considering what’s reasonable to ask, is key to getting a response. Take this one step further and make it easy for them to take that action. For example, if you want to schedule a 15-minute call, include a scheduling link within the message instead of sending it after they respond.
Don’t forget to follow up
If a lead doesn’t respond the first time you message them, don’t give up. Sending a second or third follow-up message can bring you to the top of your lead’s inbox and back to the top of their mind.
The lead may have ignored the message because they were busy that day or have assumed it’s just another spam message. By following up you not only get in front of them again, but show that you’re serious about connecting.
Remember to keep it to just 1 to 2 follow up messages within the first 10-14 days and then give it at least a month before reaching out again. Follow ups should be clear but tactful, and overdoing will have the opposite effect that you’re desiring.
Establish cold messaging best practices
As you improve your cold messaging efforts on LinkedIn and in email, create a series of best practices within your organization. Whether it’s a communication guide of simply a series of commandments for everybody to follow, write them down and popularize them among your colleagues.
Cold messaging on LinkedIn can be challenging, yet it’s not impossible. Use these strategies to reach your leads and convert them into clients and customers.