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Mastering Cold Contact on LinkedIn: Tips & Follow-Up Strategies

Discover strategic methods to cold contact on LinkedIn. Learn the art of timing your follow-ups, crafting engaging reminders, and avoiding common mistakes to effectively connect with professionals.

Jan 31, 2024

Group of people mastering cold contact on LinkedIn with tips and follow-up strategies

Ever tried reaching out to someone on LinkedIn you've never met? It's like knocking on a door, hoping to make a connection that could open new professional avenues. Cold contacting on LinkedIn can be daunting, but it's a powerful tool in your networking arsenal.

You know that sinking feeling when you hit 'send' on a message to a total stranger? What if they don't reply? Or worse, what if you come off as pushy? Relax, we've all been there. That's why mastering the art of cold contacting on LinkedIn is crucial. It's not just about making connections; it's about making the right impression.

So, how do you craft that perfect message that doesn't end up in the dreaded 'ignored' pile? Stick around, because you're about to become a cold contacting pro.

Why Cold Contacting on LinkedIn is Important

Why Cold Contacting on LinkedIn is Important

Expanding your professional network can seem as daunting as striking up a conversation with a stranger at a networking event. Imagine LinkedIn as that event, but online and massive. Cold contacting on LinkedIn is like extending your hand for a firm handshake. You're reaching out to potential allies, mentors, clients, or employers who can play a pivotal role in the advancement of your career or business.

Think about LinkedIn as a gigantic virtual Rolodex brimming with professionals eager to connect and collaborate. Each connection you make is a two-way street; it's an invitation to tap into not just that individual's expertise, but also their own network. Opportunities for partnerships, sales leads, or job prospects tend to multiply with the size of your network. In simple terms, the larger your network, the bigger your playground.

Let's dissect some common blunders that folks make with cold contacting. You don't want to be that person who fires off messages that read like generic sales pitches. Personalization is key. Throwing a Dear Sir/Madam into your message is analogous to serving your guests a one-size-fits-all meal and expecting everyone to relish it. Always tailor your message and show genuine interest in the person you're contacting.

When it comes to techniques, there's no universal script for success, but there are strategies that can tilt the odds in your favor. A good starting point is to find common ground. Maybe you've worked in the same industry, attended the same university, or have mutual connections. This shared experience can be the golden ticket to a meaningful conversation.

If you're looking to incorporate cold contacting into your daily routine, start by setting realistic goals. Aiming to reach out to five new contacts a week is far more manageable than fifty. That way, you can dedicate time to research and craft thoughtful, personalized messages, which is far better than a scattergun approach.

Diversify your outreach too. You might want to alternate between commenting on posts from industry leaders and sending direct messages. Active engagement shows you're not just looking for a quick win but are keen to be a valuable part of the community.

Remember, every message is a reflection of you. Make it count by being thoughtful, respectful, and genuinely interested in the person you're reaching out to.

Researching the Target

Before you reach out with a cold message on LinkedIn, it's essential to do a bit of detective work. Think of it like trying to find the best fishing spot – you've got to know what fish you're after to choose the right bait.

Identify the Right Person: Sometimes we get it wrong right off the bat by reaching out to someone who doesn't make decisions or influence them. You don't want to waste your time or theirs. Picture yourself as a miner looking for gold – you wouldn't start just anywhere, you'd go where the gold is. Make sure the person you're contacting has the role relevant to your goal.

Review Their Profile Thoroughly: Now that you have your target, learn as much as you can about them. This is like reading the back of a book before buying it; it gives you the gist of who they are professionally. Look for their:

  • Current position and responsibilities

  • Past experiences

  • Shared connections

  • Endorsements and recommendations

  • Published content and posts

Understand Their Needs and Interests: Don't be the person who goes to a vegetarian with a meat lover's pizza offer. It's a common mistake to offer something irrelevant to your target's interests or needs. If they've written articles or posts, read them. This isn't just skimming the surface; it's diving deep to understand who they are and what they care about.

Tailor Your Message: Armed with this background knowledge, it's like you've crafted a key that fits right into their lock. You're not just sending a message; you're starting a conversation tailored to their interests. It should feel as natural as talking to an old friend, highlighting how your connection could be mutually beneficial.

Keep an Eye Out for Red Flags: Watch out for cues that indicate they might not be receptive to cold contact. This includes a very private profile or explicit statements about not wanting to be contacted. It's like respecting a Do Not Disturb sign on a door.

Crafting the Perfect Message

When you're stepping out onto the digital stage of LinkedIn to make new connections, think of cold contacting as your opening act. You don't start with a complicated guitar solo; instead, you tune in with the right chord. Crafting the perfect message on LinkedIn is much like tuning that guitar – it requires precision, understanding, and a bit of finesse.

First off, strip down your message to the basics. This isn't the time for lofty language or technical jargon. Speak directly to your audience as if you're having coffee with them. Ask yourself, what would I say if they were sitting across from me?

  • Start with a personal greeting. Hi [Name], beats Dear Sir/Madam any day.

  • Mention how you came across their profile. Maybe it was from a mutual connection or a post they shared.

  • Compliment their work or contribution. I admired your recent piece on… shows appreciation and personal interest.

One common mistake folks make is going straight for the sale or request. It's like asking someone to marry you on the first date – too much, too soon! Build rapport first. Explain how a connection could be mutually beneficial.

Different scenarios require different techniques. If you're job hunting, highlight a skill set that aligns with their company's goals. For sales leads, point out a specific problem that your product solves. Whatever your case may be, make sure your message is tailored for the situation.

Incorporating these practices is a bit like cooking; follow the recipe until you're confident enough to add your own flavor. Use a professional yet personable tone, and always:

  • Check for typos – they're like a food stain on a chef's apron.

  • Be succinct – keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

  • Follow up if needed – but don't be a broken record.

By respecting these guidelines, you'll ensure that your LinkedIn outreach hits the right notes and hopefully receives a standing ovation in the form of a positive response.

Personalizing Your Approach

When reaching out to someone on LinkedIn, think about it as if you’re navigating a social event. Just like mingling at a party, you'll want to leave a lasting impression. Personalization is the handshake that starts the conversation.

One common misconception in LinkedIn outreach is the 'one-size-fits-all' approach. Bombarding every connection with the same templated message is like serving the same dish at every party regardless of the occasion – it just won't sit right. Instead, tailor your message to the individual. Consider what you know about them – their company, role, achievements, and even shared interests.

  • Research the prospect’s profile

  • Find a personalized conversation starter

  • Ackly mistakes

When you're customizing your message, avoid the faux pas of spelling errors or incorrect details. These blunders can quickly turn a warm lead into a cold shoulder. A quick double-check can save you from this embarrassment.

Let’s talk techniques. If you’re job hunting, point to a specific project or skill aligned with the prospect’s work. On the sales side, reference a recent company announcement that connects to your product. These techniques show that you’re clued in and committed.

  • Reference shared connections or experiences

  • Highlight company news or industry updates

  • Ask open-ended questions that invite a response

Incorporating these practices is best done by segueing from your personal connection to the professional value you bring. Ask yourself, what's in it for them? Make it clear how your expertise, product, or service aligns with their needs or interests.

Finally, consider the timing of your message. Approaching a prospect during a busy season or immediately after they’ve shared a significant update can be amazingly effective. It’s about striking while the iron's hot but with a glove fitted to them, not just to the occasion.

Following Up

Following Up

So you've sent that initial message on LinkedIn—nice work! But what's next? Following up is key, but it's also where many people drop the ball. Think of it like planting a garden; you've sown the seeds with your first contact, but without a little more care and attention, you won’t see any growth.

Here's the deal: people are busy, especially on LinkedIn. Your message could get buried under all the other inbox items or simply slip your recipient's mind. That’s why a well-thought-out follow-up can make all the difference.

Finesse Your Timing

Timing is everything. Wait too long, and you're forgotten. Pounce too soon, and you're a nuisance. The sweet spot? Typically around one week after your initial message. It's the perfect balance between giving them a chance to respond and keeping your name visible.

Craft a Gentle Reminder

Remember when you'd nudge your friend, hinting you hadn't forgotten about the money they owed you? It's kind of like that, but with more grace. Highlight a point from your previous message, or add a new piece of information that could spark their interest. It might look something like this:

  • Mention a recent industry trend that relates to them.

  • Congratulate them on a new position or company milestone.

  • Offer a valuable resource—a blog post or tool—connected to their work.

Avoid Common Pitfalls

One major mistake is sounding robotic or pushy. Just following up is the I'm just checking in of LinkedIn—it doesn’t add value. Instead, personalize each follow-up, just like your initial message.

Another boo-boo? Not keeping track of your contacts. If you're reaching out en masse, use a CRM or a simple spreadsheet. This helps to customize your follow-up and prevents the cringe-worthy error of asking for a connection twice.

Mix Up Your Approach

Don't just stick to the written word either. LinkedIn offers various ways to engage. You could:

  • Comment on a post they’ve shared.

  • Endorse them for a skill relevant to your message.

  • Share an update or article and tag them (tactfully).

Each touchpoint is a subtle reminder you exist, without cluttering their inbox.


Mastering the art of cold contacting on LinkedIn is an invaluable skill in today's network-driven world. Remember, your approach should be as personalized and engaging as possible. Timing your follow-up effectively can be the tipping point for a successful connection. Keep your interactions genuine, avoid the hard sell, and maintain a professional yet approachable tone. By staying organized and persistent without being intrusive, you'll increase your chances of getting that all-important response. Now it's time to put these strategies into action and watch your LinkedIn network flourish.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to follow up on LinkedIn after sending an initial message?

Ideally, you should follow up around one week after the initial message to give the recipient time to respond while still keeping your name in their mind.

How should I craft a follow-up message on LinkedIn?

When following up, gently remind the recipient of your previous message or provide new, interesting information. Always aim to be personable and avoid sounding robotic or pushy.

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when following up on LinkedIn?

Avoid sounding robotic, being too pushy, or getting lost in tracking your contacts. Keep your follow-ups personalized and respectful of the recipient's time.

Is it acceptable to use other methods on LinkedIn for follow-ups besides messaging?

Yes, you can use various strategies like commenting on their posts, endorsing skills, or sharing updates and tagging the person. Each method can act as a subtle nudge without overwhelming their inbox.

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