How to Master the Art of LinkedIn InMail Prospecting
Inmail is one of the most valuable prospecting tools Linkedin has to offer. Traditionally, getting on someone’s radar meant physically putting yourself in front of them or leveraging a third-party introduction. Inmail enables sales reps to side-step asking for a connections’ contact information (or updated contact information) and directly reach out to them through their LinkedIn inbox.
But with great power comes great responsibility. Follow a few of these best practices to protect yourself from chasing off potential prospects:
1) Earn Your Prospects’ Interest
You may not have had to work for their contact information, but you still have to earn their interest. The best way to accomplish this is to prove your value without asking for anything from them.
How do you do this? Well, you don’t do this by dumping information about yourself into a message and then asking for a meeting. The best way to a prospect’s heart is through genuine interest and a small dose of helpful advice. With insight into professional standing and history, try sharing a helpful whitepaper, article or eBook to earn their trust and maybe even pique their interest in you as a resource.
If you can find something that ties back or relates to your product or service, then you’ve really nailed it. The point is to express your genuine interest helping them succeed in their position.
2) Kill the “Me Monster”
The best advice I’ve ever received regarding composing an initial dialog with a prospect is to read through your message and rethink all the sentences that begin with “I.”
Keep the focus on what you know about them, their work and their situation. This will not only set you apart from other sales reps, but will validate your genuine interest in understanding their business needs.
3) Do Your Homework
Use access to your prospect’s profile, groups and interests to find some common ground to connect on. Congratulate on a promotion, comment on a post or give a professional compliment. Avoid compliments that are too generic, such as “I love your work,” which could come off as fake. Instead, tell them specifically what you loved or why you agree with it.
In your communication, don’t be afraid to ask questions. By asking questions, you prove you’re invested in their success while simultaneously evaluating where they are in the buying process:
- Do they have a need?
- Do they know they have a need?
- Are they looking for a solution?
- Have they already found one?
- Are they happy with an existing one?
Pay attention to their answer because this is key information you can use to create a more targeted and effective follow-up.
4) Create Urgency, Don’t Ask for It
In modern selling, asking for a meeting in the initial dialog with a prospect is equivalent to the kiss of death. Like saying “I love you” too soon in a relationship, asking to meet too early in the sales process can come off as eager, aggressive and can turn off even your hottest prospects.
Very few people want to hear the one-size-fits-all pitch for a solution. Buyers want to see your value to them specifically before they invest their time in learning about your business. A great compromise is to follow your questions about their situation with a statement about your area of expertise or about the outcomes you’ve provided for others. Get straight to the benefits of having you as a resource and don’t lose their attention by droning on about the details of why and how.
This approach also facilitates an organic follow-up conversation because it prompts the prospect to ask the question “how do you plan to help me?”
I noticed you just got a new position in _____ for _______. Congratulations! I work for a _____ and we help leaders like you with _____ and _____. I’d love to chat with you about our solution and how I will _____ , ______ and _____. Would you be available for a quick phone call so I can tell you more about our products?
Why it’s bad:
- Every sentence is focused on you, but also fails to communicate your actual value to the prospect.
- You have bored the prospect with the features and abilities of your product that they may not truly see the value in yet.
- You closed by asking to take up more of their valuable time without establishing why it will be valuable to them.
- It tries to do too much, cramming several unrelated conversation topics into one intro message.
Congrats on your new promotion! Looking forward to seeing what improvements you’re able to make in your new role at (insert company here). I went through a similar transition at (insert your company here), so if you’re interested in chatting about strategies, I’d love to connect.
Once you’ve made the initial connection and started a dialogue, you can start shifting the conversation toward your company’s products and services. Remember to keep the conversation centered around how your company can help the buyer, highlighting specific outcomes the buyer can gain through your company.
Those strategies you mentioned could have a huge impact on process improvements at (insert company here). I noticed you didn’t mention much about how you’re planning on implementing those strategies. Have you considered bringing in an outside consultant? It’s a great way to ramp up implementation time so that your company can start benefiting from those strategies much faster, without any extra demand on your staff. If you’re interested, I can send the contact info of one of our consultants your way.
Why it’s good:
- It establishes you as an expert, someone who can offer advice.
- It’s focused on their situation, learning their needs and evaluating the compatibility of your businesses.
- You’re further investigating their specific situation.
- You’re not giving too much information upfront. Instead, you’re establishing value and sparking questions to facilitate a follow-up conversation.
- You’re decreasing the risk of being avoided and communicating selectiveness with your prospect. This can help alleviate any anxiety they may have about getting cornered in an aggressive sales pitch.
Don’t risk coming off as a pushy, generic sales rep. Instead, use InMail to nurture your prospects, creating mutually beneficial relationships. I hope these LinkedIn best practices are useful to you in ramping up your prospecting game. Good luck!