“Hi! My name is Jane and I work for John Doe, a financial advisor in your area. We create customized financial plans to suit your lifestyle and think you could benefit from our services! Would you be willing to sit down for a 15 minute meeting with John?” *Delete*
How many of these types of LinkedIn messages do you get a day? How many of them do you actually respond to, or even keep around? If you’re like me, almost zero. While this messaging strategy may have been effective in the (increasingly distant) past, LinkedIn networking has evolved in the last couple years, as have its users. And according to Forbes (and many others), 2021 will be the year of pivoting to more empathetic, highly personalized marketing. This is not to say that sending LinkedIn messages en masse to prospects and QS’s won’t yield any results. But, if not done strategically, you’ll burn through time, opportunities, and risk closing the door on irritated prospects before it even opens, by failing to connect with them as people. So, how can you improve your LinkedIn prospecting game?
We recommend using a relationship-building approach instead of gunning for the immediate sell (or meeting). It takes a little extra time and research up front, but will benefit you in the long run. Here are several strategic conversation-starters to open doors with prospects – and keep them open – on LinkedIn.
1.) Use a Common Connection:
“Hi, Mary! I saw we’re both connected to [name]. I used to work with him/her at [company] – he’s/she’s amazing! How do you know them?”
2.) Refer to Their Recently Posted Content:
“Hey, Tom. I wanted to reach out because I read your post/share on [topic] and found it so compelling. Your take on [specific point] jumped out at me and I’d love to hear more about what you think. What is your take on [related topic/point]?”
3.) Tap into Your Shared Alma Mater:
“Hey, fellow Hawkeye! It’s always great to connect with another University of Iowa alumni. I attended back in [year] and had some great times! What was your favorite spot on campus?”
4.) Reference a Shared Affiliation:
“Amy, I noticed we’re both affiliated with [charity, religious organization, community organization/chapter, etc.]. So cool to find others involved with [shared affiliation]. What inspired you to join/get involved?”
5.) Explore Mutual Sports Fanaticism:
“Hey Jeff! I saw you and I are both BIG fans of [sports team]. I had no idea. Did you catch the game last Sunday? Did you see [highlight]? What an insane play, right?”
6.) Reference Your/a Friend’s Common Location:
“Hi Robert! I have a great friend in [location], how long have you lived there? I loved going to [landmark] when I was last there. What’s your favorite part of living there?”
7.) Indicate Shared Professional Interest:
“Michelle, I think [their work/specialization] is so cool! I’ve always had an interest in that – I even took some classes back in college. What has your career path been like? Would you be willing to connect so I can pick your brain?”
8.) Reference an Event You Both Attended:
“Hi Sonia! I saw you attended [event], I was there too! It was great meeting you there/We must have missed each other. Would love to compare experiences. I found it a little challenging to have deeper conversations with so many people in a virtual setting. What did you think?”
There are so many other creative ways to start LinkedIn conversations that make people (prospects) actually want to talk to you. These 8 conversation starters give you a place to start. You can always work in the sell later, but establishing connections centered around your shared human experiences will almost always get more responses than mass, impersonal sales pitches.
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