Today I want to touch a topic that is being actively discussed on LinkedIn in the form of posts, comments, etc. and is probably a bit of a controversial one.
Why people pitch in the 1st message?
Let me be straight-forward before I even start - I am not blaming or judging anybody or trying to put them in a bad light, this is more of my personal opinion... but not only mine.
Well, the answer is easy - It is easier to pitch immediately and see what happens. This becomes handy especially if one is doing outreach on scale, say 100+ prospects per day. And to tell you the truth, it might work every now and then, but the conversion will be 1 from 2,000 or so. On the other hand, the conversion rate of annoyed people will boost, for sure.
The other reason that I find out is the use of automation tools. You cannot really have a meaningful conversation with a person through an automation tool. The tools are not so smart yet. Maybe in the future, but not now, that's for sure. So, again, it's easier to setup the "drip" campaign in the tool to send out messages. Some tools are at least smart enough to detect and answer and stop the sequence, however, from what I have seen recently, some even don't detect that. A guy was pitching me in the 1st message recently, I replied, not a yes or no answer, and 2 days later I receive a "reminder" to answer that initial message. Come on, at least use a decent tool. By the way, they were offering to audit my servers... Guess what, I do not even have my own servers).
Without giving exact names, of course, but I have seen many reputable digital agencies construct an outbound strategy for a customer where all they do is pitch. Again, I do understand it's easier. But easier does not mean better, right?
Things seem to get even worse. Literally yesterday I received a connection request where I was being pitched. Yes, pitching in the connection request message. I guess technically cannot get worse than that. (OK, with this one I think I am blaming somewhat).
Even without a pitch, 9 out of 10 connection requests are sales oriented, but still people are willing to engage in a meaningful conversation. This does not mean if you don't pitch, everybody will respond. Even with a good structure you will most likely end up having anywhere from 25-65% response rate.
LinkedIn is a great source for businesses looking to generate B2B leads but with so many "bad" experiences with sales people, more and more people are becoming more cautious and not willing to engage in a conversation. Kind of thinking out loud - maybe other lead sources are also becoming valuable? Like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Quora, etc.? (comment the ones you believe work best for B2B).
How should be the "pitching" done then?
I have to disappoint you here. There is no single formula or template that works for every business. I work with many businesses right now and for each one of them we construct a customized messaging sequence. However, some points to remember in short:
- to start with, send a personalized connection request. Out of practice, in 99% cases this will not impact your acceptance rate, however it will decrease the number of people clicking "I don't know this person", which is not good if you get too many of those.
- send a thank you message
- have a conversation starter in place. This should be an easy question, not too broad and not too much off the topic at the same time. I mean if you are a SaaS company, don't start a conversation about dogs.
- most importantly - have a qualifying process/questions in place. This part is crucial. E.g. you have reached out to 100 prospects which you believed were your buyer persona, but the reality is some, more likely many of those will not be qualified leads. So, do you want to make an offer when you know your service is not a good fit for that particular person or that particular person is not a good fit for your business? My answer is NO.
- Only after you qualify the lead and you are sure he is your ideal customer, go ahead with your pitch.
Email sequence vs LinkedIn messaging sequence
While typing the sub-headline I just realized this is a long topic to combine in this article, so soon I might write another one specifically on email vs LinkedIn, but to make sure this article is complete, let me briefly tell you my opinion on this.
There is a clear difference between emails and social media. Unfortunately I see many get this part wrong (at least IMHO). Emails are OK to be long to an extent, but many agencies write LinkedIn sequences like they are writing an email. LinkedIn IS NOT an email tool, this is a social media where people chat. That's it. That simple.
So, keep it short and professional but construct it in a chat-like messaging. Depending on your business and the corporate tone of voice you have, you can sometimes be more friendly and casual.
To round up - I always tend to tell my customers that no one can ever guarantee that things will work from the very first month. Imagine approaching a complete stranger on the street and trying to sell him something. You can never guarantee that right? However, based on some historical data, the expertise you have in your field and how well you are able to "talk" to your potential customers will give you an idea on your potential conversion rates. And to be clear, this process takes time and effort... but it's worth it.
So, if you found yourself in a situation when you share the same thoughts and concerns and would like to discuss it further, feel free to check our services to see how it could work for you specifically.