Since publishing my two free ebooks Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code and LinkedIn Sales Secrets Revealed, I get asked tons of questions about how to use LinkedIn best. One of the most contentious issues relates to the use of InMail.
Numerous people have written to tell me it's a total waste of time -- that they never get responses from it. Yet, our 2013 survey results showed that top sellers used it nearly 4 times more than all other respondents.
And, InsideSales.com reports a 700% increase in response rates when they use InMail -- over sending the exact same message via email. According to them, it's especially effective with senior executives.
Here are three tips to help you get the best response from LinkedIn Inmail:
1. Message quality is crucial. "Pitch" InMails that hype your products, services or company never work. Period. So if you're not getting responses, the first thing to do is to re-evaluate what you're writing.
Make it relevant. Tie in your research on them or their company; show you've done your homework. Keep it short and easily scannable (For fresh ideas, check out my free Email Sales Kit.)
2. Drive-by InMailing is insufficient. If you made one call to a prospect and they didn't answer, would you give up on the phone? Of course not, but that's exactly what many sellers are doing with InMail. Plan a campaign. Think of 2-3 follow-ups before you even send the first one.
3. Your profile influences their response. If you've written a good InMail, the recipient is going to check you out. Make sure you look like someone who's worth meeting.
For more insight, check out what these salespeople had to say about their InMail success:
Balazs Nagy says, "Once the prospects receive our InMails and read it, 50% of them respond back to us. We typically can arrange a meeting with 10%." That's pretty good odds compared to normal emailing.
Terrence Bro adds, "InMail allows me to contact a perspective prospect in a softer approach. They also can view my profile to see what my credentials are and view my company information to determine if there is a potential fit and interest. Without LinkedIn, identifying and contacting new customer prospects would be a huge challenge with a lot of wasted effort chasing down unqualified leads."
Let me just sum it up by saying, LinkedIn InMail is not the silver bullet. You can't expect to get magical results just because it's not competing with the 100s of other messages the person is getting each day.
InMail, when it's effective, is part of a well-thought out prospecting strategy -- which includes a rock-solid message. And, that's what you need to do to make it work for you.