Is it ok to send introductory e-mails as soon as you're connected with potential prospects on LinkedIn?
I am involved in IT outsourcing. What is the best practice to follow up with potential prospects on LinkedIn? How do I get similar prospects from Facebook? I think FB is considered for more informal communication, but what do you think? How can I reach out to my prospects via these platforms?
Great question Ravindra:
The key to creating a positive outcome (on any platform) is to project your intent (within you) BEFORE even considering to project it externally (including calls, social media, networking etc...)
To do that, first (and always) have an intent to be in service to others. That is diametrically opposite to the all-too-common sleazy, pushy, salesy stuff that turns people off in a fraction of a second. With little or no second chance.
In my 36+ years of successful business on four continents, here's my Quantum hypnotics-based rapport-building sequence that I coach my VIP clients to apply:
1. Always start with a thought provoking question - something relevant to determine their interest in what you are about to propose. If none, say thanks and move on (period. End of story. Not worth another moment of your time.)
2. When interested, ask them another deeper thought provoking question that determines specific energetics they are willing to resource and apply. So far, while you have said nothing about what you offer, they have naturally provided you plenty to work with. Neat.
3. Having completed 1. and 2. (live, it takes just seconds; online, it takes one or two iterations ... always swift and effective) you are now ready to make your offer. Again, in the form of a question including 'How soon' and 'when'.
Ravindra, how soon will you decide now when I can be of support to you?
PS I just posted an article (on my profile) called 'Isn't it your time to Get UNstuck NOW!', introducing my 95-5 Strategy™ for creating a positive outcome. Take a peek, apply it to improve your results and do share it.
Personally I have nothing against receiving introductory mails from linkedin though lately there are a lot of people sending those and I guess there are people who get annoyed by the practice.
But I have never done business based on introductory email. I have done business with people who made direct contact with personal offers (not a mass mail) who responded to my requests.
As long as it is an honest and personal intro that isn't trying to sell something or pitch. Just a introduction is great. it's the best way to use LinkedIn and meet new people. Just don't try to sell in the first few e-mails. Just say hello and that its great to connect and maybe ask them a few questions about what they do.
Absolutely, and it is good ettiquite. I use a template which basically runs my elevator speech while offering them a free consultation. I modify the first paragraph with a personal message regarding the contact I'm sending it to.
The best way to go about this, if you are truly interested, is trying to create a more personal connection with a potential prospect. As Sinisa said, many people are using a mass mail system of sending introduction messages, which makes alot of these form of communication stale.
The ability to talk a bit about yourself and your company in a succinct manner, that isn't pulled directly from your company website is something that can get the ball rolling, business wise.
In terms of Facebook, I like to think of this platform as a manner of redirecting people to my other services, or using it as introductory platform to my business, and a way for my clients to view others, and have informal communication with me. Facebook is your roadside banner, that will entice people to call your number (or click your link).
Hope this helps!
I agree with Sinisa on this one in terms of mass emails. If I have a hint that it's a template email with my name copied in, I immediately delete it and occasionally remove the contact based on their irrelevance. Everybody acts differently to realising they are seen as nothing but a lead, personally I dislike it.
If you're going to send them, what would make me read it in full and potentially implicitly become your lead, then you need to be certain to not only address me by name, but show me that you've read my profile, seen a potential angle and can offer me something worthy of my time.
In short, if you see it as a quick and easy contact method, it's deleted. If it's personalised, tailored and relevant, I'll at least spend the time to read it.
There's an old saying about striking when the iron is hot, and I believe that applies to LinkedIn connections. When someone connects, it gives you a perfect opportunity to begin a conversation. My recommendation is that you do just that -- begin a conversation rather than jump in with a strong sales pitch. Thank them for the connection, give a brief description of what it is you, and ask if their business is facing any challenges -- basically, the same thing you'd do in person.
I'm not as enthused with Facebook as a tool for leads. It's so socially focused that a using a similar strategy might be more likely to get you unfriended or ignored.
Once connected to someone on LinkedIn it is acceptable practice to communicate with the person. Ensure that your message is personally addressed to the person indicating why you are connecting with them and how you connected with them (thru an acquaintance, at a network event etc.
In your message indicate how your service can help the person with a particular problem them may have.
Invite them to connect with you and leave a phone no.
Follow up, if possible, with a personal phone call to the person referencing your LinkedIn note.
Ravindra... I think it is perfectly acceptable to send an introductory email that speaks to what you do, however as others noted below should ask them questions about their own business - and how the two of you can support one another. Then the key is to genuinely engage with them, not just wait for an opportunity to sell them. Here is the email I tailor/customize to a LinkedIn request.... and will say I get productive responses from it, including requests for meetings and them providing me information about them.
As always, run tests and see what resonates and engages. As far as Facebook... I am finding that it is getting far less effective and time consuming to engage with someone there. Though it will depend on someone's target market. Depending on the size of companies you work with, it may not be valuable. At least not as much as LinkedIn.
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I have sent introductory emails immediately after I have connected and I have also waited until I have seen that they have read something from my blog, articles I have posted, case studies I have attached etc.
I am not sure who the prospects are you reaching out to, but I have received the most positive feedback and responses from the CIO's in the IT field that I have waited to send an introductory email until after they have had an opportunity to review some of the material I have posted.
We train sales executives on social Selling using Linkedin and many other social media tools . regarding the linkedin, certainly great tool to identify your potential prospects, however, reaching them with introductory emails is not a very effective way and can get annoying .
We usually advise sales people to do your research first and see if you have the correct audience. Once that is established, then you can introduce yourself, however also share some great content or whitepaper that will get the attention of your prospect. You may have to do this on continuing basis, till you establish the connection.
Once the connection is established, build upon it by sharing more valuable content and add value to that relationship. Look for triggers to pitch your products. For more information on the Social Selling curriculum go to
and also read our blog on http://www.salesforlife.com /blog
Send a simple introductory email thanking them for the connection. Make it as personal as you can and leave it at that. Mass generic emails will be annoying and deleted.
Provide information of value and seek to serve rather than sell.
You build trust by sharing information of value.
Build sufficient trust and people will reach out to you when they're ready to learn more or buy.
Yes but you need to be careful about the content:
1. LinkedIn: Introductions are par for the course but don't push your product or your company. Find a way to connect via tings that you have in common. You need to start a conversation first--it's off putting otherwise.
Example: I recently connected with a recruiter from a company in which I am interested. I noticed that we had both lived in a similar location and that she as a recent transplant to our city. I opened by telling her that I was happy to connect with someone from home and gave a few quick tips about how to survive the summer heat--I approached her like a human and not like a sales robot--I also got a meeting. :)
2. Facebook can work for lead generation, too, but you need to think of your Facebook content more from the vantage point of curation. Your FB content should only be about 20% you pushing your company and the rest should be parallel content that establishes you as a resource for your fans--you need to build trust by showing not just that you can sell but by what you know and how you apply that knowledge.
This is what I tell my clients: would you try to sell someone a magazine that is 100% ads? No. You need to have funny, insightful, and relevant content in addition to the sales stuff so that you allow your fans to engage with your brand.
I hope that helps!
The others have good comments, I'll just add a legal issue if you are emailing people in Canada. Know the anti-spam laws of countries they're in. Canada just passed a law effective July 1st that includes Linkedin Emails unsolicited as spam. To quote an article,
"CASL applies to a commercial electronic message (CEM) sent by any medium.
“They don’t look at the sender, they look at the message, and it is technology neutral,” Ms. Babe of Miller Thomson says. “If you use social media to merely post an item, fine. If you use your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter account to send an e-mail to another person, which is commercial in nature, then it is a CEM under CASL (Canadian Anti Spam Legislation” from the Globe and Mail -
Just Google CASL for the specific laws.
Once you are Linked or connected I would follow up right away through inMail. I may ask permission to add them to a mailing list.
Complete detailed answers to all of your questions require either hiring a consultant and/or undertaking various formal training courses. As a general rule when following up with potential prospects you should provide useful and/or interesting information. The goal is to develop a relationship without hard selling. A good strategy is to present interesting stories that transition in such a way that the prospective prospect identifys a desire, need or problem for which your product or service is the solution. Linkedin and Facebook in general can be very good platforms to reach out to prospects but are challenging to utilize successfully. If you would like further information on this subject matter including receiving newsletters in the near future go to: bizmoneysmith.com and provide your email address. The site is under development and will be significantly modified in the near future. You can opt-out of receiving communications at any time.
I'll address LinkedIn only. When you ask if it's OK to contact, what I hear is a bit of trepidation about presenting your services. Keep in mind that EVERYONE of us on LinkedIn has something to sell to others.
That said: Yes, it is definitely OK. Start by posting a brief outline of your services/products, then follow up periodically with updates, enhancements, improvements, price-changes. Keep in front of all of us. Before you post I suggest you determine as much as possible what size company you want to do business with. Then announce what you have with the intent of capturing the attention of that specific niche. As people "like" you, or join your group, message them immediately with your marketing collateral. Good Luck!
I feel its appropriate and agree with everyone about being personal but equally important is to do your homework to ensure that the people you're approaching could in fact benefit from what you're offering. Many times over I've seen advertisers just trying to sell to everybody which is very annoying when in doesn't apply to what you do or your industry, so choose your targets wisely.
Someone has touched on the Canadian anti-spam legislation and although it shouldn't be ignored, I don't feel there should be a concern when it comes to Linked In. For starters Linked In is a business site designed for the purposes of networking, job seeking and learning. All who signed up know or at least should know this and thereby shouldn't be surprised when approached. Secondly, Linked In acts like a filter. When sending an invite, you're limited to only 200 characters or so and no URLs are permitted. In addition, your prospect has a choice of whether or not to accept you and when they do then they have "consented" for you to contact them. Otherwise, Linked In won't allow you to invite them again unless you know their email address.
There are also few exemptions to the law.
1) You're allowed to email someone if their email is visible to the public and there is no stipulation anywhere that states "don't me email me". What I do is, I'll usually take a snippet of the website or profile that displays the contact information, date it and keep it for my records so they can't argue it was never there if removed.
2) You're allowed to call your prospect to introduce yourself and ask politely if you can forward more information via email. If they agree then you can email them and I would record the conversation so that they can't dispute giving you their email and consent in the future.
3) You're also allowed to email the prospect if you were referred to them by a third party. Just clearly state at the beginning of your email how you came by their contact information.
4) This is a no brainer, but if you done business together in the past or met at social event and exchanged business cards then emailing them is also allowed.
Finally, I don't think it can hurt to have a small disclaimer at the bottom of your email that lets your prospects know that they can opt out from receiving future emails from you simply by letting you know. If they don't opt out then I don't see why this couldn't be considered as their consent to receive future correspondence from you.
Kind regards to all,
It boils down to who initiated the connection and why. If you have a genuine interest in working with your prospect and they have a need for your services, then an intro email would be welcomed. But if it's the same ol' spam everyone else does, don't do it.