We’ve all been there. We accept a connection request from someone on LinkedIn who seems harmless enough, only to receive a sales page’s worth of copy (likely an automated message) approximately five seconds after hitting “accept.”

It’s frustrating and may turn you off from the idea of ever sending cold pitches on LinkedIn.

Don’t let it!

There is DEFINITELY a time and a place to send cold pitches on LinkedIn … even in today’s irritating, pitch-happy environment!

If you don’t believe me, ask yourself this question:

Why do I get so angry when someone sends me a pitch?

Since we aren’t having this conversation face-to-face, I’ll offer a few potential responses:

  • you simply aren’t interested
  • their product or service is irrelevant to you
  • they are being presumptuous about your current needs

Each of those potential answers above has a root in the following issue: bad targeting.

Here’s the thing: we are far less likely to get angry when someone is pitching us something we do want, right?

As long as they don’t misspell our name, that is.

Should you send cold pitches on LinkedIn?

Yes, it comes down to targeting.

The Pitching Spectrum

To determine whether you should send cold pitches, pinpoint where you fall on this pitching spectrum, knowing you may not be all the way on one side or the other.

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Ask yourself the following question:

Can I know whether someone needs my products or services simply by looking at his or her profile?

What is your answer?

“No, I can’t.”

What does it look like to be on this side of this spectrum?

Let’s say you are a finance coach working with individuals struggling with debt.

Sending cold reach-outs to LinkedIn users asking whether they have mountains of debt isn’t likely to go over very well. It takes a great deal of vulnerability to admit to struggling with debt. Susie isn’t going to open the floodgates just because you sent her a connection request with your “best pitch.”

What to do?

Instead of sending a cold reach-out, send a connection request articulating what you do and simply ask to connect. That is all. Maybe thank the person for accepting after the fact.

💡TIP: Reach out to local individuals for a higher acceptance rate.

Send a batch of connection requests at least once per week to grow your network with relevant individuals while engaging on LinkedIn and creating relevant content. That will identify you as the person to talk to when it comes to debt.

Susie will come to you once she realizes you know what you’re talking about OR she will refer you to her friends and family.

💡TIP: When creating content, match the vulnerability of your audience. If they have to be vulnerable to reach out to you, make sure you are being vulnerable in your content.

“Yes, I can!”

What does it look like to be on this side of this spectrum?

Let’s say you sell packaging materials to shipping locations like FedEx or UPS, so you know exactly who you need to be talking to. In fact, you can narrow your target down to the specific department and position within the organization.

This means you can 100-percent take advantage of targeted connection requests or InMail messages on LinkedIn. Send a connection request or InMail message with an informative description of what you do, making sure you focus on the problem you are solving.

“Hi Susie! My company sells packaging materials to businesses like yours. If you aren’t happy with your current vendor, I would love to have a conversation with you regarding our products and services. Otherwise, it would be great to connect!”

💡TIP: You will have more success with cold reach-outs if you are pitching someone as the decision-maker within a company instead of as an individual.

Keep your message short and to the point, inviting the person to learn more. If he or she accepts but doesn’t respond right away, let it be. You can let your content do the talking from there on out or retarget in a few weeks.

Embrace the Art of Cold Pitching

Just as the cold call isn’t dead (I learned this at a LinkedIn Local event last week!), neither is cold pitching. The key is proper targeting.

To recap, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can I know whether someone needs my products or services simply by looking at his or her profile?
  2. Am I pitching to someone as the decision-maker of a company or as an individual who will need to pay me out of his or her own pocket?
  3. How vulnerable does my potential client have to be to accept services?

Once you’ve answered those questions, pinpoint where you belong on the spectrum and get to work!

Do you have questions about this technique? Send me a PM on LinkedIn!

About Chrissie Wywrot

Chrissie Wywrot is the President and CEO of e-Link Consulting, which works with businesses to increase LinkedIn visibility. To learn more about e-Link’s services, visit e-linkconsulting.com/services.