We’ve all seen it, we all cringe at the thought of it, but at the end of the day, most people get curious enough to at least take a peak. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the infamous, LinkedIn Inmail. For some people, Inmail is this generation’s version of the traditional postcard mailer. For others, it’s spam mail. There are a select few who know how to use it wisely, proving it’s the best way to build authentic business relationships.
Why does it have such a bad rap? Let’s go back many moons when Twitter had the DM that you could hook up to a chatbot and send hundreds of spammy direct messages. Following that people complained of scammers sending Facebook messages. Of course, LinkedIn has become the home of nondescript, canned Inmails. All of these mass marketing tactics leave people on the struggle bus when they see an Inmail come through.
Even I have struggled with whether people want to hear from me in an Inmail, because of all the negativity that is perceived from it. I believe in having processes in place for your marketing and I am always looking for efficiencies one can put in place in online marketing. In my line of work I “try” new things on the market because they are supposed to be a “game-changer”.
For example, I tried Dux-Soup recently on a recommendation. If you don’t know, Dux-Soup is a platform that allows you to search, connect, and send mass In-mails to those on LinkedIn. The product does exactly what it says it will do, but I did not like it one bit. Why? Because at the end of the day, it is generic, and you must already have a script to send. Sometimes Dux-Soup will end up sending generic follow-ups to someone you already had an offline conversation with because Dux-Soup wouldn’t have that information, based on the name coming up in the general search. (As a side note, I’m not opposed to email templates, but they should be easily personalized.)
So, I canceled Dux-Soup a week after buying it and went back to sending authentic unscripted messages. COVID-19 made me rethink how to be authentic during this time, without coming off like a creepy salesperson. It was taking me up to half an hour just to walk through all the possible things I could say.
If you are like me, you will come to realize that having a conversation is an art form, even if that is online. Online conversations are not new. The first emails were sent in the ’70s, so let’s not get in our heads about it now that it’s on a professional social platform.
If you want to rekindle or create a new connection on LinkedIn, but don’t’ know how to start the conversation follow the following suggestions.
- Keep it simple. Simply ask, “How are you doing?”
- Make it about them, not about your great service or offer. Once you know how they are, find out how you can help them.
- Ask open-ended questions. When you ask open-ended questions, it tells the person you are interested in their answers. If you just ask yes-no questions, the person may answer, but it ends the conversation.
The truth is people are craving conversations right now. This quarantine is taking a toll on people’s mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. Starting a conversation with them on a personal level will give you much better results than “I have produced a, b, and c to sell you.” I have applied these principles for the past few weeks and see incredible results. Just being there for new and old LinkedIn connections has helped me reach some amazing referral partners that I wouldn’t have if I started the conversation about myself.