[Industry Examples] How to Generate Leads From LinkedIn – Cold Messaging That Actually Works

It’s no secret that LinkedIn is a fantastic way to network with industry professionals, find new talent, and generate leads. But you’re missing out if you don’t know how to leverage LinkedIn’s huge audience of approximately 774 million global users and counting. 

One of the most effective – and untapped – methods of using LinkedIn for lead generation is to use cold messaging tactics.

Cold messaging on LinkedIn is not a new concept. After all, InMail gets 3X better responses than cold emails. People already know the power of a winning cold message on LinkedIn. But for the most part, most businesses don’t know how to do it right. 

We wouldn’t recommend heading straight to LinkedIn right now and sending a LinkedIn cold message instantly. You need to have a strong strategy first, or you’ll lose potential new customers by making common newbie mistakes.

In this post, we’ll cover how you can write an effective cold message on Linkedin that’ll turn those prospects into qualified leads for your business. We’ll also share expert tips for preventing those mistakes businesses are making so you don’t harm your chance of success. 

Let’s get into it.

What is Cold Messaging?

Cold messaging, also known as direct or cold outreach, is a sales tactic that’s almost as old as sales (which we could argue is impossible to trace since “selling” services and products has always been a part of human history in one way or another.

The idea is simple: you find someone’s name and contact information via a method like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., and send that person a personalized message detailing how their business could benefit from your product or service.

But not all cold messaging is created equal. You need to understand how to align the message to match the way the platform works, as well as the user base of that social media platform. The way you construct a cold message over email is going to be different from one over LinkedIn; different contexts require different strategies. Not to mention, the way you even find people to cold message is vastly different across platforms. 

Translating the cold messaging tactic to different platforms is crucial if you want to get responses from interested prospective clients. Sending cold messages on LinkedIn is no different. You’ve got to align with how LinkedIn works and how people use the platform. 

That’s why you need to educate yourself as a business owner/marketer to reap the rewards of cold messaging on LinkedIn. 

We’ve made this complete guide to cold messaging on LinkedIn. Read on!

In Summary: What is a Linkedin cold message?

The best way to generate leads from LinkedIn is cold messaging. You might think that Cold outreach on this platform is only about reaching out to someone – anyone – directly on LinkedIn through connection requests or InMail.

Without any strategy, what happens is that marketers are left waiting for a response to questions or comments, and when it doesn’t come, that person feels like a “dead” lead. 

But what if we told you that the secret to success with cold messaging on LinkedIn is something you’ve done before? 

Ah, now you’re interested. The reason why Linkedin cold-messaging works is that it’s the same process as networking—you’re simply replacing your business card with an introductory message on LinkedIn. Let us explain what we mean.

Does Cold messaging Work?

Yes, but only if done correctly.

It’s a simple concept; you contact someone who doesn’t know you and attempt to receive a response.

In this day and age, with so many cold messages circulating all social media platforms (not to mention email), it seems like a bit of a gamble, right?

The reason why sending cold messages on LinkedIn works is that it’s unexpected. Email cold messaging is expected now after so many years of it. But on LinkedIn, the person you’re contacting will likely be surprised when they see your name in their inbox, and this “surprise effect” alone can lead to some great results.

Cold messaging is an effective way of generating leads, but LinkedIn is still complex enough that there are many pitfalls for the beginning marketer who isn’t equipped with the right knowledge.

So, how do you create a successful cold message that gets your desired results? The following 8 tips will help with that. 

8 Practical Tips For Creating A Winning Cold Message on LinkedIn

Follow these cold messaging best practices for the best chance of success with your LinkedIn cold message. 

1. Connect with them first

The first step is to send a connection request. This will let you know if they’re willing to connect with you, and if so, it will also give them the option to decline your request.

If they accept your request — and that’s not a given — then you can move on to step two.

2. Send an introduction message

If someone accepts your connection request, it’s time to introduce yourself. Take some time to craft a powerful introduction message. 

Don’t send generic messages like “Hey there! My name is John Doe. I saw your profile on LinkedIn…”

Instead, personalize your message by mentioning something specific about the person or company you’re targeting (i.e., “I noticed that you worked at Google for five years, I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how they organize their sales team?”) All you need to do is read through their posts and profile and gather some information to speak to.

3. Optimize and complete your profile

Make sure your profile is complete, optimized, and contains content that would interest your target audience and the people you’re reaching out to. 

So that prospects have an idea that they are talking to the relevant person before responding to your message — don’t just send a generic invitation with no context behind it.

The first thing is getting your profile optimized. It would be great if you had a clear picture of what you do, what your ideal customer looks like, and what they need. Craft the text of your profile to speak to that. Update your profile regularly with new information and accolades, and follow these tips for a great LinkedIn profile for generating leads:

  • Use a professional image

Your profile picture is the first thing prospects see when visiting your LinkedIn profile. 

Make sure it’s professional and makes a good impression – it’s how people get to know you. Make sure your picture makes up about 60% of the image (close-up photos are more memorable) with a clear background (either plain color or an uncomplicated environment). 

Wear what you would like to be seen wearing to work, and smile with your eyes.

  • Say a little more about yourself in your headline

Don’t just use your job title as your headline. Use it to show your personality and explain what makes you tick.

If you’re a sales rep who is super skilled with casual social selling, say it! Look at the profile page headlines of some of your colleagues for inspiration.

  • Showcase your services to make it easier for people to find you

You can now showcase the services you offer on your LinkedIn profile using the new Services section. This feature helps consultants, freelancers, and others working for smaller businesses to be recognized in search results.

 showcase the services

4. Take a skills assessment

Go to your LinkedIn profile and take a skills test. You’ll be able to complete a free online test that will allow you to demonstrate your skills and display a Verified Skills badge on your profile. 

Data shows that candidates with verified skills are around 30% more likely to be hired for the roles they apply for than those without a badge.

This is a helpful way to show prospective employers that you have the knowledge and experience they need and can help you stand out from other candidates.

5. Write a SIMPLE message (without too many questions)

We’ll go much deeper into how to write a cold LinkedIn message below. For now, some quick tips. When you’re cold messaging someone on LinkedIn, you only want to ask for one thing.

The key to getting a response from someone is to make it easy for them to respond by keeping it short and to the point.

Asking for something specific is the key to making people respond.

6. Don’t write a novel!

The best cold messages on LinkedIn will be fewer than 100 words. 50-75 words are ideal. This makes it easier for your prospect to scan through and respond if they want to learn more about your product or service.

Anything less than that doesn’t give the recipient enough information about why they should care about reading your message. 

Don’t make them work too hard!

The main point here is to keep it short and sweet and give them a reason why they should read your message or follow up with you (if applicable).

7. Don’t include attachments in your first message

The first message is the most important because it’s the one that opens up communications between you and another person—so you must make a good impression.

We recommend keeping your first message text-only. If you want more responses, don’t send the person your resume or documents.

A simple message with a short pitch, introduction, and call to action will be enough to start a conversation, but if you try to give them something extra before you’ve had a chance to send the cold email, they may end up deleting it, as they decide that it is spam.

8. Try to look for mutual connections

Now, it’s important to note that LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook or Twitter. You should refrain from casually browsing through this list and sending a connection request to every person you want!

If you’re reaching out to people you don’t know, it can be tempting to pick a name and send a connection request or message.

Don’t do this.

It’s worth taking the time to look for an existing connection before sending any cold outreach. If you have mutual connections, you can ask for an introduction and boost your chances of successfully starting a conversation with this new person.

The Original Cold Message

The future of digital business is personal. 

A whopping 89% of digital businesses are investing in personalization, and for a good reason: personalized messages drive conversions by up to 6 times.

One of the most important things you can do once you’ve got access to a list of your potential targets inside of Sales Navigator is to send them a connection request. 

The more personalized your connection request is, the higher your connection rate will be, and the higher the chance they’ll accept it.

higher your connection rate

There’s one simple way to ensure that every connection request you send is as personalized as possible. That’s a practical example of what you can use if you have an automation tool we used with some of their clients

However, suppose you have an employee or a virtual assistant doing this. In 

that case, you can send out more personalized messages and information. Have them send many customized messages from a piece of information pulled from the targeted clients’ public profiles.

Once they accept your connection message, it’s time to send your first outbound message. 

Now, this is where ideologies differ. 

Our team is made up of direct response marketers and what that means is we want to make an ask immediately. Our potentially unpopular opinion is that we don’t really believe in asking them what their name is or their hobbies and hope that eventually, they have responded to us enough that somewhere down the line.

Remember, LinkedIn is a business platform, and people expect to pitch and be pitched on that platform. They know that people are here to invite each other to do business together.

So, what to say exactly?

It’s going to vary significantly based on what your company is and who you serve. 

But to give you guys a quick example for one of my advertising agencies, “Prospects Social,” one of our target clientele is real estate brokers in North America.

Our first message might look something like this:

Hey, [First name],

I appreciate the connection. I know you’re busy, so I’ll keep this short. We’re generating hundreds of pre-qualified buyers in Atlanta every single month. And we’re looking for a real estate agent to partner with in your area.

That’s something you’d be interested in learning more about. Respond with your best email or best time this week, and I’ll be happy to schedule some time to speak with you.


{Your name}

See how that message is straight to the point without being pushy. It’s an invitation, not a desperate attempt to get them to respond. You sound like you want them, but not like you need them.

LinkedIn Cold Message Templates

LinkedIn is one of the best places to generate leads. It’s not only a great way to find potential customers but also a great way to build relationships with potential clients.

But how do you get someone to respond to your message? It’s all about the content in the message, timing, and personalization. The best cold LinkedIn messages have all those three things in common. 

The trick is to make your message stand out from all the other messages that person gets—and we’re going to show you exactly how you can craft a powerful message to generate more leads from LinkedIn than ever before! 

Here are some hyper-targeted cold messages examples; you can use this LinkedIn cold message template for more direct sales.

1. Direct Sales Pitch

Hi {First_Name},

I’ve noticed that you’re an {insert title} at {Company}. I’m contacting you because our {Service or Product} would be a great fit for your organization. And I have some ideas.

Our product/service provides the following benefits:

– {Insert benefit}

– {Insert benefit}

You can learn more about our company at www.companyname.com.

If this sounds like something that would be useful for your organization, let me know so we can set up a quick call!

Have a great day!

{Your name}

2. To the Hiring Manager

This LinkedIn message example is one to use when reaching out to a company hiring manager.

Hi {Hiring Manager’s Name},

I came across your LinkedIn profile today and was intrigued by {the position you’re applying for} job you’re hiring for at {Company Name}.

I have {your experience here} and {your experience here}, {your experience here}, and {your experience here}.

I would be an excellent fit for this role, as it would allow me to use my skills in a new way. I would love to share more about my background and why I’d be a great fit for the company with you.

If you’re the person responsible for hiring for this position, please let me know if we could talk on the phone or meet in person soon! 

I would like to learn more about what you’re looking for and how my background might apply.

Best wishes!

{Your name}

3. The Influencer

If your company is looking to work with influencers for marketing and collaboration purposes, this is a good LinkedIn template to refer to.

Hey [First Name],

I’m the author of the article [Article Title]. I saw you reacted/commented on it, and I want to thank you for it! It means a lot to me that you took the time to share your thoughts with me. Sharing knowledge is one of the most rewarding parts of writing for me, so I’m glad we could connect on that level.

If you’d like to connect more personally, feel free to reach out any time: [Contact Info]

I write a lot of similar articles, so here are a couple of my favorites: [Links]

I’d love to hear what you think about them. Have a great day!


{Your name}

4. Webinar Template

Hi {Your Name}, 

I hope you’re enjoying your week. I’ve got some exciting news! 

We’re hosting a webinar on {Date and Time}. We will discuss {Add details, benefits of the webinar}. {Mention if there are any guest speakers}. Include a Call-to-action {Sign up to book your slot}.

Hoping to see you there! Cheers, 

{Your Name}

5. Common Field or Job

Hi {First_Name},

I’m a fellow {Insert Role or Industry}, and I’ve had the chance to view some of your work. 

I love what you’re doing with {add recent project details you found on their page} {Talk about the role/reason for reaching out and how you can offer value}. Let’s connect! 


{Your Name}


Hi, {First_Name}

I’m an {Insert Role or Industry}, too. I looked at your work, and it’s pretty amazing. I understand that your work represents yourself, so paying attention to the details is essential. Your work shows that you have strong fundamentals.

As we work on similar projects, I would love to discuss your unique approaches or strategies. {Ask a relevant question} 

Let’s connect! 

{Your Name}

6. Mutual Connection

Hi {First_Name},

I’m so glad I found you! We share a mutual connection, {Name of Person}. How do you know them?

I also looked at your profile, and it appears we are employed in the same industry. I would love to exchange ideas with you. Let’s connect! 

Take Care/Regards, 

{Your Name}

Cold Messaging On LinkedIn: The Follow-Up

The final thing we want to do is make sure you have a follow-up plan.

We’ve been teaching this stuff for years at Scaling With Systems, and we’ve seen that people usually respond to your message with one or two follow-up touchpoints after receiving it. But again, it’s an art – you never want your follow-up to sound needy or like harassment.

Follow-up Template #1

Hi {First_Name},

I know you’re probably busy, but I wanted to see if we could chat about the previous message. Did I mention {Add compelling hook that would make them want to reply}.

Let me know if there is a convenient time to message you. Hoping to hear back from you, and have a great day!

{Your name}

Follow-up Template #2

Hey, {first name}

I just wanted to see if you saw this last message and have any thoughts you’d like to share.

{Your name}

Follow-up Template #3

Hey, {first name},

I just want to bring this to the top of your message inbox.


{Your name}

Using Sales Navigator for Hyper Targeting

If you’re in sales and aren’t using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to generate leads, you’re missing out.

Using Sales Navigator for Hyper Targeting

Remember, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with over 800 million users. It has become the go-to place for recruiters and hiring managers to find new talent – when done right.

Another way of generating leads from LinkedIn is to use the Sales Navigator search to make it seem like your cold messages are personalized. This will make your audience feel special, even though you’re just using boolean searches.

We will share with you some of my favorite ways to use LinkedIn to generate more leads using Sales Navigator. After this article, you can even check out our blog on the topic.

Sales Navigator is a premium version of LinkedIn that allows you access to additional features like Lead Generation, Lead Scoring, and Sales Analytics so you can better manage your marketing efforts. If you’re not already using Sales Navigator, we recommend signing up for a free trial.

Here are some lead generation tips using the LinkedIn Sales Navigator:

  • Use advanced search filters

LinkedIn has advanced search filters that allow you to find specific client profiles based on their job titles, companies, industry, and location. 

These search filters will help you narrow your list of prospects so that you only contact the people most likely to respond positively to your message.

  • Create a lead list

To save leads into a list, you can use Sales Navigator. You can search for leads by industry and company size or filter your search results by keywords. 

When the search results are ready, you should select some leads to save them into a list.

  • Connection requests and InMails

There are two main ways to send a cold message to someone on LinkedIn. 

First, you can send a connection request from your profile, which will give you the option of writing a note to that person explaining why you want to connect with them. 

The second option is via InMail, LinkedIn’s premium feature that allows you to send a message directly to one of your connections without waiting for them to accept your request.

Connection requests are only sometimes accepted, so Sales Navigator users can send premium messages to prospects instead.

A single InMail credit allows you to skip the connection request and go straight into your prospect’s inbox. With Sales Navigator, you get 50 InMail credits per month, so use them wisely.

  • Use alerts to follow up

LinkedIn Sales Navigator automatically sends notifications when new prospects publish a post, change jobs, or engage with one of the posts you share with them. 

This feature is really valuable for sending personalized follow-up messages.

There are so many more features that the Sales Navigator offers, and users need to know their way around them to get the most out of it. Check our YouTube video to help you with your LinkedIn sales navigator usage.

Wrapping Up: Analyze and Improve Your LinkedIn Cold Messages

It’s pretty easy to get in touch with the decision-makers in the companies you want to work with or potential clients for your services. Yes, it can be challenging to craft a winning cold message on LinkedIn, but we have provided several proven strategies to try. 

The most important thing is being genuine. Try to communicate your expertise and the value you bring to the prospect. 

If you can accomplish this, you will get much further than somebody who didn’t spend the time crafting their message.

Remember, refrain from spamming people with LinkedIn messages and focus on quality instead. If you’re serious about generating quality leads, we help businesses with streamlined, effective client acquisition. Book a free consultation call with one of our advisors today.

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