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The Anatomy of an Effective LinkedIn Prospecting Message

Follow these seven Cs for a successful messaging campaign.

A few years ago, we rolled out a progr­­­am that enabled advisors to outsource their social media to us. It’s grown to a point where we’re sending thousands of LinkedIn messages on behalf of advisors every month. Consequently, we’ve learned a lot. 

There is no perfect script. If you thought this article would give you a text you can copy and paste, think again. While some templates may work from time to time, an effective LinkedIn messaging strategy is much more involved.  A great message is personalized and tailored for your ideal prospect. 

Instead, we're offering you a framework to help you craft a perfect script. It’s a formula we use when crafting messages, and we often refer to it as the “7 Cs.”

Just to be clear, we’re specifically referring to cold outbound LinkedIn messages to prospects. While a personal introduction would be ideal, this is for a situation where you don’t have that option. Thus, you are connecting to them on LinkedIn and messaging them or sending InMails.

Here are our “7 Cs” and corresponding questions to contemplate when drafting your message:

  1. Open with a Commonality: Take the time to read their profile and find common ground. This might be a mutual connection, alma mater, former employer, charity, etc. By the way, it’s never a bad idea to include commonalities in your actual search to speed up the process. For example, instead of simply searching for business owners, you might search for business owners who also served in the military. Thus, you would open up your dialogue with that commonality.


  • Does my message reference a commonality? (mutual connection, school, hobby, charity, etc.)
  1. Give the prospect some Context: You’re messaging someone you don’t know, so tell them why you are reaching out to them specifically.  For example, you may reference that you specialize in working with their profession.


  • Does my message explain to my prospect why I’m messaging them?
  1. Keep it Conversational:  We can all smell a copy-paste job from a mile away. Your message must come across as authentic. So, ditch the financial jargon and don’t worry about sounding unpolished. In fact, we see higher response rates on messages that are really informal.   

Here’s a question to ask yourself:

  • Does my message sound natural when I read it aloud?
  1. Try to be Concise: Less really is more. Messages with paragraphs of perfectly crafted text appear inauthentic, can look overwhelming and appear salesy to your prospect. Our knee-jerk reaction is to hit the “delete” button. LinkedIn’s messaging feature is more like a chat. Think more text message and less formal email.  


  • Does my message seem more like an email or a casual chat?
  1. Have one clear Call to Action (CTA): Your CTA must be clear and there should only be one. Asking your prospect to do multiple things makes you look disorganized and only confuses them. That said, you do want to include an “ask” of some sort. You might ask your prospect a simple question to start the conversation. You might ask permission to send them a valuable resource or even request a brief phone call. Regardless, just pick one. 


  • Does my message have only one clear CTA?
  1. Make a Compelling Offer: This goes hand in hand with your CTA. It should really go without saying, but your offer should be tempting. If you’re asking someone to have a phone call with you, you better sell them on why it won’t be a waste of their time. If you offer them a helpful resource, let them know the benefits they’ll receive and the feedback you’ve received from others. 


  • Is my message enticing?
  1. Don’t forget to Check In: It’s rare that you’ll receive a response from your first message. Most of the time, you’ll need to follow up with your prospect multiple times before you get a response. Just remember to keep it brief and try not to be a nuisance. Look for additional ways to add value and engage them. Ideally, you will have determined your message sequence prior to sending your first message.


  • What will I say in my second and third messages, and when will I send them?

Before sending your next cold outbound message on LinkedIn, walk through the 7 Cs. You’ll have a messaging campaign built for success, and we guarantee response rates will soar.

@StephenBoswell is president of The Oechsli Institute and author of Best Practices of Elite Advisors@KevinANichols is the chief operating officer for The Oechsli Institute and author of The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors.

TAGS: Marketing
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