Is It Time to Re-think Your InMail Approach?

Are you sabotaging yourself when using LinkedIn InMail to prospect new business? Or is your team spinning wheels, generating less than the minimum 40 percent response rate? It might be time to re-think your InMail communications approach.

Are you sabotaging yourself when using LinkedIn InMail to prospect new business? Or is your team spinning wheels, generating less than the minimum 40 percent response rate? It might be time to re-think your InMail communications approach.

Here are three deadly trends I see emerging with sellers and what to do instead.

Are you/your sellers:

  1. Believing InMail is more “powerful” (able to produce appointments) than cold calling or standard email?
  2. Investing in LinkedIn training, but overlooking communications methodology?
  3. Using InMail to request meetings with status quo buyers, but failing to earn them?

Many sellers are getting frustrated out-of-the-gate. Because InMail places so much pressure on getting response. Performance. Sellers often get turned-off to prospecting in general! Or they become more turned-off by it.

It’s best to develop a successful communications approach using standard email — then bring that success to the realm of InMail.

A Better Way to Use InMail When Prospecting
Any written message’s strength is founded in the writer’s ability to provoke a response that invites a conversation. The better you are at provoking replies — that lead to conversations — the more InMail provides advantage.

That’s a communications thing; not a LinkedIn thing.

I’ll be brutally honest. Many sellers are failing to develop new business leads with InMail. Not because LinkedIn Navigator or Premium is a bad investment. It can be a good one. The trouble starts with false beliefs.

Beware if you think InMail is

  • powerful
  • better than standard email
  • able to replace cold calling efforts

Remember, LinkedIn does not make any substantiated claims about better response. InMail is also not trackable. Unlike standard email, you cannot track any open or click activity! (This is huge)

Attract Buyers With Your Message
We’re only human. We are all looking for a short cut to what we want. Something that will do all the work for us or — in some way — produce better results with less effort. Right? But for most of us InMail is not earning better response from potential buyers.

And I know why.

Email can make prospecting more scale-able, faster and feel more effortless. But only if you master a communications methodology that can be applied systematically, at scale.

Email can speed-up your prospecting. It is creating more appointments, faster, for those who understand one odd but powerful concept. And this idea takes practice and diligence.

The idea is attraction.

Attracting potential buyers to ask you for the meeting allows leads to self-identify and qualify themselves.

This is vital to practice when courting prospects who won’t budge off of the status quo. Being able to get invited to an educational conversation (eg., Challenger Selling) with a new client demands this approach.

This way a discussion with you is seen by the buyer as less of a risk. Talking with you becomes attractive.

Thus, getting invited to discuss a challenge, fear or goal your prospect has is the beginning of an email-powered process. It’s a sign they’re attracted to you based on the message you just sent them.

And that’s a cool feeling.

Make InMail Messages Part of a Process
The best way to use InMail to your advantage is to shift how you’re looking at it, what you expect from it and how it “fits in” to your prospecting process.

Do you have a defined prospecting process?

In most cases, InMail should be supplemental. It should not be your first choice for making initial contact with buyers. Instead, use InMail as part of a systematic prospecting methodology.

You should also be using the phone, standard email and (sometimes) direct mail. InMail snaps-into your multi-faceted process.

Invest in Your Communications Technique First
Before you invest in “LinkedIn training” make sure to invest in perfecting your own/your team’s personalized communications technique. Make sure it:

  • is practical, repeatable and based in traditional copywriting skills;
  • helps you take “first steps” to turn the methodology into a process you enjoy;
  • provokes response and appointments, in less time.

One of the most common reasons social selling or LinkedIn training fails is lack of focus on how to get response. Effective messaging is vital to your success.

Invest in the right training. Be sure you get more than lessons on managing LinkedIn’s privacy settings and controls!

Best of all, if you stick with the above criteria you’ll be able to measure the performance of your training investment.

This is how the best of the best use InMail … as part of a system that doesn’t rely on email alone.

Good luck. Let me know what you think in comments.

Author: Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc., where he built the sales team. Today, he is the authority on effective prospecting communications techniques as founder of Communications Edge Inc. (formerly Molander & Associates Inc.) He's been in sales for over 2 decades. He is author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.Jeff is a sales communications coach and creator of the Spark Selling technique—a means to spark more conversations with customers "from cold," speeding them toward qualification.

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