LinkedIn Outreach Done Right (Updated for 2021)

Starting off on the right foot can take you a long way in the world of sales and LinkedIn outreach. Think of creative LinkedIn outreach as the key that unlocks the door to your next sales opportunity. If the grooves in the key don’t align with the pins of the door lock, you aren’t going to be able to enter.

Now think of the grooves in your ‘sales key’ as creativity, relatability, personalization and intrigue. Getting these ‘grooves’ to align with the reaction you seek to evoke from your recipients is like putting one foot in the door.

Salespeople put in a lot of effort trying to come up with the perfect opening message for their LinkedIn outreach and every time I come across a great one, I feel obliged to share it with my team. So here’s an appreciation post for the best LinkedIn outreach openers that have landed in my inbox.

But before you look at those examples, here are the best practices you need to keep in mind (as well as a couple of templates) you can use for your LinkedIn outreach.

Best Practices for LinkedIn Outreach

#1 Find common ground between you and your potential prospect

LinkedIn hosts a vast pool of information about your potential prospects such as their current job title, work history, educational background, volunteer experience, certifications and more. When reaching out to your prospects, it is important to read through their profiles and find ways to resonate with them in your outreach messaging. 

Find something that interests the both of you and focus your outreach efforts using that information. If your prospects are active on LinkedIn then make the effort to look through what they are talking about and make notes on the same. 

Talk about how one of their posts influenced your thoughts or how you feel the same about the same topic. With LinkedIn outreach, it is vital that you make them as personalized as possible for each individual. Refrain from using the same messaging when prospecting in large numbers. This will only lead to you getting more rejections as opposed to acceptances.

Here is how a sample template would look like when writing a personalized outreach:

Hey {first name},

I noticed that you were responsible for handling {role(s)/responsibilities of prospect} at {company name} as its {job title}.

I work with people in similar positions at {company 1 that’s a customer in the same space} and {company 2 that’s a customer in the same space} to solve for {value that product/service provides}.

Curious to know if this is something that interests you. Let me know if you’d like to connect to discuss this further sometime!

P.S: I was also pleasantly surprised to find that we both went to {school’s name}. {Insert inside joke/common thing they’d recognize like “Go Boilermakers!” here

#2 Ask for an introduction from a mutual connection

One of the best ways to connect with someone is through an introduction from a mutual connection. While it might be easy to talk to strangers, it could be easier if you get someone to vouch for you. 

So if you have a few mutual connections with your prospects, it might not be a bad idea to hit them up and ask them for an introduction. This would be a great way to start a conversation with your prospects.

#3 Keep it short and sweet

When crafting your LinkedIn outreach, you should always remind yourself of the goal. The goal with any LinkedIn outreach is to get your prospect to respond. 

Treating your LinkedIn outreach as instant messaging as opposed to cold emailing would be a better way to approach it. 

While it is always easy to write paragraphs after paragraphs, LinkedIn outreach is best kept short and sweet. Mind you, this can be challenging because you not only need to be on point but also convey it with warmth. 

Make sure to double, triple check to ensure you do not come off as an abrasive person. The tone that you use is key when keeping your outreach short.

#4 Connect First, Sell Second

Another important point to keep in mind is to keep selling for later. It’s a good idea to use LinkedIn outreach to build relationships instead of merely looking at it as a way to push your product or service. 

Avoid the focus on selling when designing your LinkedIn outreach. A template you can use to accomplish this is:

Hey {first name},

I’m not going to lie—you fit right into our product’s ICP, but I don’t want to be a person that spams you with a sales pitch from the get go.

The real reason I sent this connection request was because I read your last post around {insert post subject here} and thought it was fantastic.

I’d be really happy if we could keep in touch on LinkedIn. I work for {insert your company name here} though ({link out to your company website URL if you need}), and it looks like you might have a use for our product.

If something works out in the future, I’ll embrace it. If not, that’s completely fine, I’m just happy you’re in my network.

Have a great day!

#5 Create a conversation to induce a reply

This might not be limited to just LinkedIn outreach, but with any kind of outreach you would do. 

The first reaction when you receive a message from someone you don’t know is to ignore it. This does not work in your favor especially since your endgame is to build a relationship with your potential prospect.  End your message with a question.

For example: “ Is this something you would be willing to explore?” Or “ We could get coffee sometime this week and chat for a bit. How does Wednesday 5:00 pm sound?” Or “ I wanted to tell you “what” it is about you that made me want to connect with you. Would that be okay before I proceed?”

This could be about their likes or dislikes, their experiences, or a potential problem that you face for which they might know the answer. People on LinkedIn enjoy sharing their experiences and learnings. This would give you the opportunity to induce a reply from them.

#6 Follow up

If you have reached this point in your outreach, then the most difficult part of crafting your messaging is done. Now all you need to do is nudge your potential prospects to respond back to you. 
Keeping track of all your messages in an excel spreadsheet or a CRM can be useful when you need to do follow ups because you might not be reaching out to one prospect at a time but rather doing this in bulk.

Now let us take a look at some of the best LinkedIn outreach openers from my inbox!

The 6 Best LinkedIn Outreach Openers From My Inbox in 2020

1. Generate intrigue by making it about them

LinkedIn Outreach Opener

Putting a person in the spotlight is something that might help you get them to reply fairly quickly. Asking someone to question you about your choice to target them is an extremely clever move. It makes it appear as though the question is begging to be answered and there’s a good chance that the decision maker will at the least want to hear you out. Cleverly devised questions are a great way of generating intrigue which can result in getting the response you desire.

2. A clever play on current trends

6 LinkedIn Outreach Openers

A clever play on current trends, in this instance COVID-19, can make your message more relatable and easier to consume. This should help you get a response from them or at least enable you to create a lasting impression. Follow this up by cutting straight to the chase and letting them know exactly what you’re offering. This will help you set yourself up for a positive response.

3. The nifty use of images/GIFs to drive your point

6 Best LinkedIn Outreach Openers

Adding GIFs, pictures, or memes to your opener will make your message more relatable and consumable for your recipient. Visual cues are a great way to capture a reader’s attention. Pair it with the right kind of humor (depending on the circumstance) and it’ll do a world of good to their first impression of you.

4. Bringing in the competitor angle

Letting a decision maker know that you’re already speaking to their competitors adds to the fear of missing out. Doing this can nudge a decision maker to want to learn more about your offering and why your competitors would be interested in the same. 

5. Harnessing the power of video

Top LinkedIn Outreach Openers

Create a compelling video about your product and pair it with a message that generates intrigue. There’s a good chance that your recipient is going to watch the vid eo more often than not if you can build up the suspense needed to get them to watch it. Videos are a great way to create a lasting impression, especially if you do it right.

6. A complement about something they recently did/achieved

Best LinkedIn Outreach Openers

Scour your recipients LinkedIn profile for a recent achievement, event or other value additions that they can relate to and compliment them about the same. You can sneak in something about what you want from the conversation too. This will help you get a response from them, even if it’s as simple as a thank you reply. 

Hyper-personalized LinkedIn Outreach Openers

A buying intent-powered sales intelligence tool like Slintel will help you create inch-perfect LinkedIn outreach openers by equipping you with all you ever need to know about your target decision makers. From the technology stacks they use, to thematic intent data that will help you address all their pain points and everything in between, you can devise hyper-personalized messaging that turns nos into yeses.

You can also check out this super insightful LinkedIn prospecting guide to help scale your LinkedIn outreach process and boost your win rates.

I hope this article helped give you some idea about how you can create impactful messaging for your LinkedIn outreach openers. Here’s to starting the new year and new conversations with a bang!

Deepak Anchala

Deepak Anchala

Deepak is the Founder and CEO of Slintel. A graduate from IIT and IIM, he started his career in investment banking and later made his way into the technology world. He has spent most of his career in sales and marketing roles; first at Fortune 500 companies and later at Silicon Valley startups.