6 LinkedIn prospecting messages (& how to automate sequences)

In order to learn how to prospect on LinkedIn, there are three concepts you need to master - profile optimization, LinkedIn search, and outreach.

6 LinkedIn prospecting messages (& how to automate sequences)

Once you figure them out, I guarantee that you will look at LinkedIn, and your LinkedIn prospecting in particular, in a completely different way.

After all, these strategies played a HUGE role in helping us hit $6M ARR in less than 3 years, ensure a stable inflow of leads in our DMs, and generate 1M views on our content every month.

This article will cover:

Btw, this article is a part of our LinkedIn marketing strategy series.

How to prospect on LinkedIn: the basics

Prospecting with LinkedIn has become a very powerful outbound strategy.

You're in front of millions of profiles with precious info, you can send connection invites, send messages, scrape profiles and emails, etc.

So using LinkedIn for prospecting is a great asset. Let's see the basics so we can make the most out of it.

1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile

In the TV series Suits, the legendary Harvey Specter is famous for his quote...

LinkedIn prospecting from scratch

In the world of LinkedIn prospecting, your first impression is your LinkedIn profile.

Considering the fact that sales is about building relationships and trust, you want to have a nice, clean, and very real profile.

  • Real personal information and a profile pick... sort of like a modern business card that contains key information. Take a look at how Becc Holland does it...
  • A quick overview of who you are and what you're about. Check out Ilya's dope "About" section...
  • Real, legit work experience! Personally, I prefer to add some extra information rather than just the title and my company's name. Here's how I did it for my position at lemlist, but the logic is the same everywhere...
linkedin profile optimization for your prospection
linkedin profile optimization in prospecting strategy
linkedin profile optimization for LinkedIn prospecting

Of course, I urge you to use all features of LinkedIn, like the "Featured" section below the "About", "Education" details, and the rest. It's free, it increases your exposure on Search and overall looks better.

If you don't take the time to optimize your profile, you won't build trust with your prospects and your chances of success become limited.

2. Build credibility

On the other hand, suspicious images, incomplete profiles, lack of work experience, low number of connections, no profile pick at all, lack of engagement, and grammar mistakes are all indicators of a fake LinkedIn profile.

You'd be amazed at how many fake LinkedIn profiles exist.

 fake LinkedIn profile

Quite a trustworthy dude, is he not? πŸ₯Ά

General rule is...make sure your LinkedIn profile looks as sharp as you do when you go out on a Friday night πŸ•Ί

3. Identify your audience

One of the greatest assets of LinkedIn is the amount of information available for free.

So to define your ICP, you don't need to reinvent the wheel, all the info is here!

And we know that building ICPs is one of the most important step for a good LinkedIn prospecting.

Look at the profile of your current customers, read their descriptions and previous professional Experience. But also check their activity.

LinkedIn prospect activity
LinkedIn prospecting tips

Not only you'll understand their tone, if they use a lot of figures in their communication, if they use humor in their posts, etc.

But also you'll be able to better understand how they interact with people, with which kind of content they engage, with whom they start convos in comments, etc.

And all these infos are πŸ”₯ for your buyer persona.

One of the first things to do with LinkedIn is play with LinkedIn Search filters based on your target. You can leverage locations, industry, type of connections, companies, etc.

Here's what I get with the filters from above:

LinkedIn prospecting

If you wanna know more about LinkedIn Search shortcuts, such as those "" marks, here are a few useful ones:

  • OR (e.g. Growth OR Sales) - LinkedIn will list all the profiles that have either one of these two keywords... In this example, I searched "Head of Business Development" OR "VP of Sales"
  • AND (e.g. Growth AND Content) - A more narrow search as LinkedIn will now look for profiles that must include both terms
  • NOT (e.g. Growth NOT Sales) - Will list profiles that include the word growth and not sales
  • Type under quote marks (e.g. "VP of Growth") to get all LinkedIn profiles with that exact match

Once you're finished playing with filters, you should be able to see a decent list of prospects in your results for your LinkedIn prospecting strategy.

5. Use Sales Navigator

Whether you prefer to use free LinkedIn Search or go for Sales Navigator, it doesn't matter. The logic is exactly the same.

The only difference is that you have more targeting power, better data, and more filters if you buy LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

In this article, we'll mostly be using the free option. But, let me show you the difference in data you can get on your target audience with free search compared to the Navigator:

  • Head of Business Development + VP of Sales (free)
  • Australia-based audience (free)
  • Tech space (free)
  • Below 20 employees (Navigator needed)
  • 5+ years of experience in a role (Navigator needed)

As you can see, Sales Navigator allows you to go more narrow. We'll discuss how to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for prospecting a bit later in this article.

6. Post relevant content regularly

Posting can seem a bit unnatural at first. But we all start somewhere.

We all begin with 2 likes, 1 from your brother and 1 from your bestie πŸ‘

But if you keep going, if you regularly talk about your experience and your fields of expertise, you'll see more and more views and engagement on your posts. And by tracking LinkedIn metrics, you'll be able to tweak your content accordingly.

Have a look at the results on Lucille's LinkedIn profile. Back in 2020, she never posted any content.

There are just 4 months between these two pictures and she got 300 x the number of views 🀯

Which means that more and more people see her face, her name, and the name of her company. She raises awareness.

If you wanna take a look, we gathered all our LinkedIn content secrets we use for the lemlist team.

7. Engage other profiles

LinkedIn prospecting is not only about your own content.

You can also engage with other people's content.

Look for interesting people for your business, follow them and engage regularly on their content.

They'll be more and more familiar with your name and your face, plus, some genuine comments could convert into prosperous business conversations.

See how Nadja did it recently.

LinkedIn prospecting on post comments

What a rich exchange between them!

8. Start conversations

If your profile is complete, it will attract people.

People will come to you and mention why they wanted to connect with you.

Take this opportunity to open conversation and learn more about their needs or situation.

LiknedIn prospecting message

Cold prospecting on LinkedIn: best practices

Now let's talk more in depth about cold prospecting on LinkedIn.

You can think about different approach for your prospects, but let's see our LinkedIn prospecting best practices.

How to search for prospects on LinkedIn (basic search)

  1. Use LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups get a bad rep. I agree that some are quite spammy, or worse... completely dead.

And I can definitely express my disappointment in how much LinkedIn inverts in them.

But, as a group owner, once you find one that's active and relevant, it's a goldmine.

LinkedIn groups for prospecting

Prospects are grouped around the common interest and an amazing amount of useful information lives there.

Let's imagine a situation where I want to leverage Game of Content to sell lemlist.

By joining this community and actively participating in it, I realize that there are a lot of people in the "content distribution" and "backlink" businesses here. Excellent, this target is among our audience verticals.

I can connect with them, build a relationship, position myself as an expert around the subject and, once I'm ready, pitch them lemlist.

The good thing about being a member of the group is that you can DM fellow members easily.

How to get emails from LinkedIn group members

2. Use "People also viewed" feature

Whenever you visit a profile of a prospect, LinkedIn displays a list of other members based on a variety of factors.

These factors include profiles that viewers have also looked at besides the one you're currently on. They are similar in terms of job titles and connected industries.

LinkedIn prospecting advice

Not as scalable as you'd want, but it's low-hanging fruit.

3. Skills & endorsements

LinkedIn members like to endorse other LinkedIn members. Among those members are some of your prospects.

And who's to say that these things can't point you in the direction of a new prospect or two.

LinkedIn prospecting

Not scalable either, but why not try to take advantage of it... it's there and it's free.

4. Check LinkedIn events

There are hundreds of events on LinkedIn.

Find the ones that correspond to your business and that people from your audience attend.

Attend the event, and you'll have access to the list of all the attendees.

How to use event in your LinkedIn prospecting
LinkedIn prospect list for your prospection

This is essentially a list of people interested to the same topic as you.

Plus, there's a little bonus here πŸ”₯

Attending the same event is a great ice breaker for your emails, but we're getting ahead of ourselves, we'll come to this in the next part!

5. Look for people who did the same studies as you

Going to the same school brings people together, don't you think?

Don't forget to check your school's alumni network with LinkedIn filters.

Now you have a common background and can mention your school in your first approach.

Filter your LinkedIn prospecting

6. Search for people who liked your comment

Someone who liked your post is someone who already showed interest in your work.

Furthermore, this is someone who has already seen your face and heard your name.

So the connection is easier to make πŸ˜ƒ

Plus, Phantombuster has two specific phantoms for that:

Linkedin lead generation tool

So you can add them to your list of LinkedIn prospecting tools!

How to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for prospecting

So what we've just discussed thus far are the free possibilities you have on LinkedIn.

But there is also a paying version, and let's talk about how to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator effectively.

Sales navigator sales tips

How do I get the best of LinkedIn Sales Navigator? There are 3 main things.

  • Use lead builder at its best

LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows to do more advanced searches.

In addition to all the filters you have on the classic search, you can also know the number of employees in the company, the seniority level, groups they are in, etc.

You can draw very precise profiles.

How to use LinkedIn sales navigator for prospecting
LinkedIn sales navigator for prospecting

Once the search is done, if you feel like there are too many results, it might mean that the filters are not precise enough.

So you can continue to narrow down from here:

LinkedIn sales navigator filters
  • Save profiles that are relevant to your prospecting strategy

Once you have satisfying results, you can save you search.

LinkedIn sales navigator save search

This will allow you to get notified as soon as a new profile correspond to these filters, and you can reach out to them rapidly.

  • Save leads (people) and account (company) profiles

If you keep a close eye on some profiles, it'll be easier to engage regularly when they publish new content, you'll know them better... and they'll get to see you more often as well in their notifications.

The relationship will be easier to build after that.

You can also follow companies in order to stay updated on their activity and use your knowledge when writing your icebreakers, for example.

How to get emails from LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn prospecting strategy is not only done with LinkedIn prospecting messages.

You can also send emails to a list of prospects in order to multiply your available channels.

Let's see how you can proceed.

How to get emails from LinkedIn group members

Here's how it works ...

1. Choose a relevant group where you are a member

Find a relevant topic for your business.

It can be a group around your industry, or a group owned by a expert of your business area, or from a partner company.

2. Scrape all group members

Phantombuster is a great tool to scrap data.

With the Phantom LinkedIn Group Members you'll get access to all of them.

Phantom for LinkedIn prospecting 1

3. Find their emails

To find their emails, you can also use Phantombuster.

In this case, you can go with this phantom.

Phantom for LinkedIn prospecting 2

4. Send an email campaign

And voilΓ , you can create a multi-channel strategy for your LinkedIn prospecting with quite an easy automation.

Here's how it works:

1. Do a search on LinkedIn or use Sales Navigator

As we said earlier, you can use LinkedIn free version and play with filters and boolean requests.

Or you can use Sales Navigator for more advanced searches.

2. Copy the link of your search

Once the results meet your expectations and you have a good list of prospects, you can select all the profiles.

3. Use Phantombuster to get emails from your prospects.

Once again, this phantom is a great asset in your prospection strategy.

LinkedIn automation

Oh, and it's even better to use this workflow in combo with lemlist, let me show you how we do it...

6 LinkedIn prospecting messages examples

I rarely use the same LinkedIn prospecting message template for every prospect.

Whenever I'm writing one, the copy depends on the objective itself.

And keep in mind that the goal of a DM is to start the conversation and build a relationship. So the metric you're chasing is a reply, not a conversion.

Here are a few examples of LinkedIn prospecting messages:

1. A specific question to pick the prospects brain

Example: Send a voice message on something I've seen them talk about in a Facebook Group for example and ask a question related to it...

LinkedIn voice messages... I borrowed that from Morgan J Ingram as I loved his strategy around it.

2. A genuine compliment with no ask at the end

Example: "Just watched your interview on [Podcast]. Great stuff! Particularly enjoyed [relevant personalization]"

3. A referral or a group chat created by a mutual connection

Example: "[Common connection] suggested we should get in touch. She mentioned your fierce battles with email deliverability and spam filters.

I can help... truly, just lemme know. Any friend of [connection] is a friend of mine. :)"

4. A questions about a post published by your prospect

Example: "Just read your post about [Topic], very inspiring. Could you tell me more about X? I'd love to understand a bit more your strategy"

5. A referral to a conference

Example: "I've seen we've both attended to the [ConferenceName], what an amazing conference it was!

I particularly loved when [your favorite part], I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on this!"

6. A request for feedback to someone who engage on your post

Example: "Thanks for your like on my post about [Topic]. I'd love to hear your thoughts about [Content you published]"

If you want to find more examples, you can check our article with LinkedIn connection message template.

How to automate LinkedIn prospecting messages

In the ideal world, you will have time to build relationships with everyone and completely personalize any approach you make.

In the real world, however, there's simply not enough time. But there's still a way to reach out to your prospects in a unique way at scale in your LinkedIn prospecting strategy.

Combine LinkedIn and cold emails, and automate your LinkedIn prospecting. However, ALWAYS respect LinkedIn rules and limits. The goal is not to send as many messages as you can, but to receive as many replies as possible.

Combine LinkedIn and cold emails, and automate your LinkedIn prospecting. However, ALWAYS respect LinkedIn rules and limits. The goal is not to send as many messages as you can, but to receive as many replies as possible.

It all starts by doing proper search on LinkedIn and grouping the prospects into a relevant segment. For example, founders of early-stage startups looking to drive growth.

Once I identify them on LinkedIn, instead of connecting with all 200 of them, I can shoot them a relevant cold email.

The flow will look like this:

Make a precise search in order to have a short list of quality profiles.

LinkedIn prospecting list

Export all the prospects to lemlist

You can use Phantombuster.

Here's the link if you wanna use this integration.

LinkedIn prospecting methods

Or you can also use the lemlist extension to smoothen this process up.

It's as easy as pie, you just gotta click on the extension when you're in the search and you can directly import the leads to a specific campaign.

LinkedIn prospecting list

We've got a full tuto for you here πŸ‘‡

I'd definitely go through this list in lemlist and add custom intro lines directly in the lead section... to make things hyper-personalized.

Once you open leads, you will see the "Custom variables" in the top right, and after you click it, just add another variable called Tiramisu.

I use Tiramisu cold email strategy for my intro lines.

Afterward, I come up with an intro line for every prospect and input it in each lead in lemlist. Yes, every prospect. :)

You can also expedite this process by using the extension for each lead and adding your personalized icebreaker directly on their profile while the info is fresh. Β 

LinkedIn prospecting

Create a cool message sequence

I want to send three emails in total. In other words, two follow-ups besides the first email. Two-day delays between each one.

For the main email, I'm going to use one of my classic approaches.

I'll write a highly personalized email mentioning LinkedIn activity and add a video embedded in a landing page about the industry.

The video in the email will be the same for everyone because I will segment my audience this way. The segment can be organized around a specific pain point in the industry.

Example: email deliverability --> Video: tips on fighting spam filters

If I have 3 different pain points, I'll shoot 3 different videos and use link personalization to show the right video to prospects.

Here is an example of the first email you can send.

Linkedin prospecting template

You'll find more ideas in our lemlist cold email hub.

For the remaining two emails in the sequence, I'll use two variations of these sales follow-ups. Let's say for example:

Linkedin prospecting template

So it's 1 email + 2 follow-ups in my campaign. And I took some inspiration from my prospects' LinkedIn activities.

In the bag, job well done.

The success of this sequence will depend on how well you've done your research (e.g. identified pain points of each prospect) and if you managed to get their attention in their inbox (e.g. is your cold email worthy of a reply or for them to schedule a meeting).

Key takeaways

LinkedIn is amazing. Prospecting on LinkedIn is a breeze. Just leaving these two sentences here is enough for the summary of this article.

Robust search engine, tons of information, super intuitive, and almost everybody is there.

By now you should know:

  • the basics of LinkedIn prospecting
  • the best practices for cold prospecting on LinkedIn
  • how to get emails from LinkedIn
  • how to write your LinkedIn prospecting messages
  • how to automate your LinkedIn prospecting strategy

Hope this article brought some value to your world. Now it's time to focus on our next LinkedIn topic: LinkedIn connect messages

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