February 02, 2021

Connecting on LinkedIn: Skipping The Pitch

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Written by Houston
Founder & CEO, BAMF Media

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The one question that I get asked a lot is, “how do I start connecting on LinkedIn?”

This is what strikes me.

We spend so much time learning how to target, building customer profiles, and populating our lead generation lists when we should be working on our first messages and lead nurturing.

But, what’s the best way to your LinkedIn audience a first message or connect with them?

Let me give you an extensive guide to get you started.

This article is part of a two-part series, the first of which you can find here: Creating an Ideal Customer Profile on LinkedIn.

Why You Should Skip The General Message

More often than not, it’s tempting to send a general message out to save time.

I mean, who wouldn’t think of doing that?

You’ve already spent hours lead prospecting, and all that’s left is to massively connect with people, and send them a message saying, “hi”.

But, here’s what.

Don’t throw all your hard work down the drain.

Sending general messages do not work anymore.

And, here are the reasons why:

  • You end up wrecking the value of the platform which just spoils it for everyone.
  • Prospects end up being put on the defensive because you are generally not offering anything of value.
  • It leads to LinkedIn inbox clogging, which disrupts your outreach campaign.
  • And lastly, and probably the most important, it makes you look lazy. Now for a growth hacker, that's inexcusable.

People don’t respond to general messages anymore because it doesn’t address them personally.

Think about it.

When’s the last time you replied positively to a general call to your attention?

Connecting on LinkedIn, Connecting on LinkedIn: Skipping The Pitch

Unless the value proposition is absolutely mind-blowing, you tend to ignore these messages.

Don’t get me wrong.

There are a lot of ways to personalize a general message to very, very specific niches, but most of the time they don’t work because people can smell a general message miles away.

If you want proper results, you’ve got to write the messages yourself.

Yes, I know that might sound like a lot work.

But, put yourself in the shoes of your prospects, don’t you want personalized messages, that not only cater to you, but provide value at the same time?

A-B-C

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I want to tell you about something that’s led the way we conduct our operations since Day 1.

It’s called the A-B-C rule.

No, this isn’t the Always Be Closing acronym that some overly hyped sales people will talk to you about.

My A-B-C’s stand for “Always Be Cool.”

It’s a lesson, I learned from my surf instructor Michael Willis, back when I was younger and overly eager to ride the waves.

Connecting on LinkedIn, Connecting on LinkedIn: Skipping The Pitch

You can check out his video here.

Long story short, you can’t rush into things. Whether it be surfing or lead generation. You might end up missing the mark or worse, missing out on perfect timing.

According to my mentor, “Always be cool... things get heavy, people get upset, you get pummeled by a wave, no worries, you just stay cool and point your board safe to shore, and you’ve got nothing to fear.”

Don’t be overly eager, and learn your A-B-Cs.

You don’t want to botch things or go into battle unprepared.

Now onto the technical stuff.

YOU-VALUE-VALUE-VALUE-ME

What’s BAMF’s ultimate framework for connecting with our audience?

We use the YOU-VALUE-VALUE-VALUE-ME approach.

YOU

When you first reach to make a connection with your target audience, you have to put them first. This means that you make the message about them.

You can lead with a compliment, if:

  • they said something interesting in a post
  • have an event that they’re celebrating
  • their contributions to the industry are great.

Alternatively, you can ask them a question, like:

  • what are their thoughts on a topic?
  • what their motivations are?
  • where do they see the industry headed?

You can tell them something personal, or even just recognize how bada** they are in their industry.

You see people, like to hear about themselves. They like compliments, and they want to know how they awesome they are perceived by other people.

Once you have your initial message laid out, then we can move on to the next most critical part of the framework.

VALUE-VALUE-VALUE

After your initial connection with them, it’s time to provide them with some value.

This will depend on the posts that you are putting out.

We highly recommend showing them some value at least three times.

This method is also mentioned by Gary Vaynerchuk with his jab, jab, jab right-hook method.

Just as boxers do, you want to set up your prospects with a couple of jabs of value, before you deliver the winning blow.

This allows you to weaken their defenses and make them easier to target and talk to.

If you’re posting content on the platform, make sure you post three times during the week. This gives you three “jabs” of value before we move on to the follow up message.

So, what kind of content should you be posting?

Niche content that caters to the needs of the industry you’re in, lead magnets, research papers, slideshows, and sometimes even just regular posts that will help you resonate with your prospects.

Also, based on our research, 3 times a week seems to work great with the LinkedIn algorithm. So, you get the best out both worlds, you get a nice lead nurturing campaign going while doing good with the algorithm.

ME

If you followed up with value-based content three times after your initial interaction with your prospect, then a week will have passed where you can now follow up with them with something that relates to you.

This will have properly set up the prospect to be more receptive to what you want to offer them.

What’s important is that you are perceived as a person who wants to provide great value in the industry, regardless if you’re selling something or not.

The moment that you sell on your first message, it makes it look like that you’re only after the wallets of your prospects.

Now based on personal experience, I don’t talk to people who are just after my wallet.

Here’s the other thing.

A week also ensures your sales team that the prospects that they want to reach out to have already seen the content. This is regardless, if they didn’t log in for a couple of days during the week.

Advanced Technique 1: Triangulating Conversations (The Watercolor Effect)

DMUs - decision-making units - are difficult to reach for a lot of good reasons. They’re usually predisposed and they don’t have time for every single pitch out there.

But, that’s actually a good thing.

Wait, what?

Since you can’t reach the CEO or a purchasing head. It gives you more reason to be more creative with your methods.

You might not be able to reach the head honcho, but their secretary, managers, and other junior staffers are available.

There are two major benefits to doing this:

  1. You get to triangulate the conversation, when two or more key members of an organization start talking about your offer, there’s a chance that they’ll take it up with their boss.
  2. From a LinkedIn algorithm perspective, the more they see and interact with the content that you put out, the more likely it is for LinkedIn to put in front of the eyes of other people in the organization, which could also be their boss.

LinkedIn’s business model is literally “eyeballs”, if your content works with a group of people, they will want other similarly minded people to look at the content as well to make sure that people spend as much time as possible on their platform.

This is what you should be doing:

  1. Identify the major DMUs of the company and the key personnel that work with them, i.e., the executive assistant, marketing managers, etc.
  2. Aim to connect with them personally using personalized messaging or common contacts.
  3. Regularly post content - optimally three times a week - to pique and keep their interest. It has to be hyper-targeted to their needs.
  4. Engage in constant lead nurturing, you want to follow up the seventh day.

And, here’s another great thing about spending all this time setting this up.

If you manage to land a deal with them, you establish yourself as someone who has what it takes to cut through the gatekeepers and get things done.

This is pretty neat if you run an organization that specializes in lead generation. You’re automatically giving proof that your techniques and strategies work.

Advanced Technique 2: Sales Inception

Remember the movie Inception?

This follows the same technique, planting ideas in the minds of your prospects without telling them directly.

I use this technique often with our clients, and we’ve had massive successes throughout.

The method is very simple, and you’ll rely on doing “nothing.”

  1. Start by connecting with highly specific groups of people. If you read the previous section, this includes the circles that are close to the DMUs that you are intending to reach.
  2. Start posting content that appeals to these circles.
  3. OPTIONAL: retarget these prospects using custom audiences on Facebook with ads.

And, you keep doing this, until you start establishing yourself as an organization that they want to work with.

Connecting on LinkedIn, Connecting on LinkedIn: Skipping The Pitch

As long as you keep posting relevant and creative content, and have a profile that’s optimized to act as a landing page on LinkedIn. You already have one foot through the door.

Check out our books on LinkedIn optimization here.

In time, this will provide you with a steady stream of inbound leads are ripe.

Now we’re not saying that you should rely on this as your only source of leads, but this is one way to make sure that you also have leads coming through, even though you don’t have any active lead generation campaigns.

There are actually four types of these inception techniques:

  1. Sales Inception -  which we just discussed
  2. PR Inception - positioning for maximum relevance and brand exposure.
  3. Investor Inception - branding and getting an organization in front of investors who will be willing to back it up.
  4. Recruiting Inception - used for organizations who need to hire en masse.

All these types of inception techniques are reliant on proper content branding to generate a good amount of inbound leads.

Connecting on LinkedIn Takeaways

I think it’s clear that you shouldn’t be selling on your first message.

But, beyond all the techniques that we’ve discussed in this guide, you need to understand one thing.

Don’t throw all your hard work in the trash.

I’ve worked with a lot of really good growth hackers, people who can generate qualified leads in their sleep.

But, sadly, some still rush to sell on the first message.

Remember that the people on the other end of the screen are just like you and me.

You have to get into their psychology, and the way that their minds work.

“Always be cool” 😎

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About the Author

The name’s Houston Golden. I’m the Founder & CEO of BAMF ― a company I’ve grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $4M in revenue over a span of 3 years.
How did I do it? Well, it’s quite simple, really. I’ve helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win). I tell you how on this blog.
Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.

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