Your LinkedIn outreach is terrible.
I don’t know exactly where people are getting “advice” for how to do outreach on social media...but what they’re being told is really bad.
Every day I receive dozens of LinkedIn connection requests that look the same, sound the same, and even smell the same (yep, they smell like you-know-what).
I’ve been in the online marketing industry a very long time--I had hair when I started--and was networking long before these platforms even existed.
“Hey, man. Saw you were in the same restaurant as I am, so I figured I’d sit my ass down at your group's table. How ‘bout it?”
This is the level of LinkedIn outreach message today.
Is that how you want to present yourself?
Is this the level of dialogue you wish to imply is available?
“Hey, man. We haven’t even met yet but why don’t we just get this crap over with and you buy my stuff / we get married / have a baby with me already?”
That’s what you sound like.
Clues To Effective LinkedIn Outreach
You may have noticed that I do like to provide solutions where I see problems. So here are some genuine recommendations you’ll find to be effective.
First, Niche Down.
Goodness! When someone sends me an out-of-the-blue connection request, and they aren’t even in my industry… can you guess what my automatic response will be?
And--get this--the reaction is even clearer, stronger and more deeply emotional (for that split-second of attention it gets) if you have dumped one of those inane copy-paste “I just thought we should” messages into the request.
It is better for you to have used NO message. If you’re coming from outside the person’s industry, it is better for you to not have said anything at all.
Let your profile do the talking instead.
That headline. It’s copywriting. A field I’ve been involved in for over a quarter-century and made a lot of money for both myself and my clients in. Your LinkedIn headline: that’s where you should be spending all of that careful crafting effort. It was true offline in traditional printed advertising and it remains true today in online platforms. Human nature has not changed.
Spamming outreach is not prospecting.
Churn-based activity is not effective work.
Can I be clearer?
Focus for Outreach Effectiveness
If you are sending “X” number of connection requests a day because somebody told you to--without any other attendant strategy--then you are wasting your time.
Pick a freakin’ niche first.
Let me tell you about my own experience. Some of you know that I work in the space industry. The moment I changed my profile and my headline to reflect that and only that, and started outreaching to space industry people, my results got much better.
They saw I was “one of them”. And after a few weeks the Network Effect really caught on: people wouldn’t even look at my profile before they hit “Accept”.
I am connected to generals, senior officials and other high level people because of this focus.
Beyond that, though, and where nearly all of you fall down is this: my intention is to develop some kind of relationship with every connection I make.
Are You a Superconnector?
It needn’t be a deep relationship. In fact, the Superconnector books (and I am a superconnector, my friends tell me) say that you probably shouldn’t focus on developing those. Just a favor, a kind word, an introduction here and there, once or twice a year: that’s enough for people to remember you.
But I do create deep relationships, and quickly. It’s how I got all my advisors for my firm in less than 12 months.
That is my intention. Not to simply have you as a hanger-on, a never-noticed network blip...but to actually know you a little.
Can you say the same?
In my experience, probably not. You’ve probably adopted that dumb old sales “maxim” about “some will, some won’t, so what, next!”. The lack of qualification screams from that line. It’s a business model for idiots.
Niche down. Pick a target. Get some discernment. Engage that Network Effect to start acting on your behalf.
When a new USAF general sees that they and I have 122 shared connections, what do you think their next move is? “Accept”. They don’t even read my profile. The mutual connections, the headline, and that’s it. Plus my intention behind the scenes.
Remember The Number One Rule of Marketing and Stand Out, will ya?
Second, adopt a more formal tone.
That’s the way business introductions used to be. Formal. Now I’m not saying “Do it this way because it was better in the olden time.” I’m saying so because it is in direct contrast to the sloppy, casual, “flop down next to you in your restaurant booth seat like I’m your neighbor” approach so disastrously common today.
Rule Number One in marketing is Stand Out.
If you must send a connection message, make it formal. Have a good reason why you’re connecting: not this “I just figured” or “If you’re open to” nonsense.
I’m open to any space industry colleague wanting to connect through LinkedIn outreach. I don’t even look any further than the headline. I know that's helping my network effect power.
I am NOT open to you, Skippy, with your “I help overtired executives recover their life and times with energetic healing” me-me-me nonsense that I’ve received one hundred and fifteen nearly identical requests about over the past 30 days.
Third, why not use the affiliate model?
We use it in the online marketing world all the time. Have a well-known industry professional in the niche you want to be in introduce you to their existing list of contacts.
Yes, it’s going to be work. But you’re already doing at least half of that work now--and your way, alone, is ineffective.
And there’s going to have to be something in it for the industry pro. Hopefully you have one as a friend already. You can get creative, can’t you?
I do this, and it has made an amazing difference.
The language is formal. My kingpin contact recommends me in a three-person message. Like a tennis match, I hit the ball back over the net with my own formalized response. Perhaps the third party, who is in the same industry and at the same level as us, remember, has said something in response during this time. Then I can send the connection request, again with some super formal language reminding them of why I’m connecting and on whose behest, in case a few days or a week has gone by since the original exchange. Sometimes the new contact sends me the connection request themselves.
Do you see how different and how much more effective this kind of process is than your sad, lonely, disconnected-to-anything outreach?
Free Course for Effective LinkedIn Outreach (and it's not even mine!)
I’m not going to spill all my secrets--those are for paying clients--but I will leave you with a final gift. It’s a big one. Remember me in your will. This is a free course from a friend of a contact who got ahold of me for a consultation. He mentioned this site and I took a look around. Then I watched this course. I hope you understand I’ve seen a lot of things and so when I say this free course is better than many paid ones I’ve seen, that’ll matter to you. Go check it out. It’s A to Z, how to prospect effectively on LinkedIn.
Hell, you don’t even need me. What you do need is a change of mind.
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