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How to conduct cold outreach on #LinkedIn?

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I work with a lot of sales teams, especially inside sales teams, and very often people early in their sales careers.

One of the most common questions I get is how do I approach someone on LinkedIn who I know would be a great fit for our service? So here is what I tell everyone. And by all means if you have data to support something different please share in the comments below, I’d love to learn from others as I am sure others would love to hear your approach as well.

  1. It’s not a best practice to request a meeting in an invite request.
  2. It’s not a best practice to request a meeting in a first InMail.
  3. If someone is a total stranger, your best bet is to request an intro from someone who is connected with them on LinkedIn.

Now here’s what we all know. We have tons of LinkedIn connections, in many cases we don’t know them all. However, we have connected with people in the hopes of networking and sharing when appropriate. That is the frame of reference we are talking about when you try this approach.

In short, this is how you leverage the “you never know” mentality and ask for help without you or the person you are asking having to feel slimy or cheesy. It respects the person I am contacting, it’s direct, it’s honest, and allows them total control of the process.

While my data set is small, 100 attempts, 55% of the people I’ve contacted have taken a meeting. 95% of all people actually responded even if they don’t want to have a meeting.

Whether I am an inside sales rep, outside sales rep, SDR, or seasoned sales veteran, this is the message I would be asking my senior leadership team or someone I do know who is connected to my desired contact and sent on my behalf via LinkedIn.

Rep to Richard —-

Hey Richard, hope all is well, I see you are connected to _____ on LinkedIn. I was wondering if you’d be open to sending the following message to them on my behalf. It’s ok if you don’t know them because this message addresses that in a way that I think is respectful of you and them.


Sales Rep Sara


Subject Line: Request for intro

Hey _____________,

We connected on LinkedIn for sharing information and mutual networking. This could be one of those moments, but I will let you decide. I currently work with _________ at ______ and they are helping organizations solve the following problems.


They have asked me to see if you’d be interested in a conversation. If so let me know and I will gladly facilitate. If not, that’s ok, I can politely tell them you are not interested.

There is no commission or payout for me on this, it’s just me putting some good karma out in the world.

Let me know how you’d like to proceed.


PS – If I can ever do this type of messaging for you and your team to a contact let me know, I am happy to do so on your behalf.


There you have it. Simple, honest, sincere, respectful, and most importantly not slimy.

One final tip. If you are going to send a request to someone like me or an exec in your office please write the email so its merely a copy/paste. Folks are always happy to help but making it easier for them to help you, is always a nice touch.

Curious how others handle the “cold-outreach” via #LinkedIn?
#SalesTips, #SalesTraining, #ColdCalling #InsideSales

Feel free to share your comments below on your successes with this or other techniques.

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