Time to read: 4 Minutes. LinkedIn Sales Navigator IS worth the money. But only if you have an effective way to get buyers talking with you. Here is a proven (and repeatable) way to spark prospects curiosity in what you're selling... AND get them asking for more details. I'll provide an email / InMail template to make it easy.

What is LinkedIn Sales Navigator REALLY?


You’re buying access to a faster, easier way to view more prospects. Sales Navigator will also:

  • allow unrestricted searching of LinkedIn's database—using an array of targeting filters;
  • make automated lead suggestions for you (my clients tell me the automated suggestions are terrible, inaccurate);
  • allow you to contact and engage prospects you don’t know (via InMail messages).

InMail is monitored and rated by LinkedIn. You must maintain a strong InMail reputation score in order to send messages. If enough prospects mark you as spam, you're out of the game.

Having an effective communications technique to rely on (over-and-over) is the answer.

Is Navigator Worth it?

LinkedIn Sales Navigator IS worth it BUT only if you have an effective communications technique to get customers asking YOU for appointments.

Why not ask them for a meeting? Seems obvious. But it's a non-starter. Same with the templates found by Googling, shared on and by LinkedIn. They're garbage.

Unlike conventional email, LinkedIn InMail is guaranteed to deliver ... BUT ... it is not guaranteed to:

  • earn a response
  • spark curiosity in a non-sales oriented topic
  • earn a meeting by connecting curiosity to what you sell

Here's the skinny: Buyers are defensive. They see offering help, adding value, building rapport, introducing yourself, sharing anything at all... as a persuasive sales trick. 

Persuasive strategies are killing sales outreach and brands. The game has changed to provoking curiosity. Avoiding persuading—instead, helping people to convince themselves is the future.

Here's what I've learned from my customers: Never try to persuade anyone of anything. Lately, people prefer (are open) to convince themselves. So... the key to engaging them is facilitating an urge—to begin that process.

It starts with getting them curious. Pulling, creating intrigue.

Customers instinctually value more what they ask for—less what is freely offered. That's why offering help, your freebie, ebook... whatever it is you're giving away... your desire to "build a relationship first" ... it's all seen as bullshit.

The problem is persuasion. Persuasion is a push. Curiosity pulls, attracts.

Instead, let the other side convince themselves to go forward. Customers prefer to convince themselves to act. Especially on LinkedIn where everyone is pushing, pushing, pushing.

Sparking curiosity engages. Curiosity pulls, persuasion pushes.

Why most LinkedIn Premium users waste it

Most of us fail because we mimic templates found on Google. Plus, we ask for meetings too soon... before customers realize they need one. Instead, ask for conversations that might lead to meetings. Smaller asks get better response rates... earning more conversations.

Stale templates (everyone is using) aren't working. Short, pithy provocations hitting on your target's challenges do.

When I first meet coaching students (sellers) 90% of them are accidentally (and unknowingly!) shooting themselves in the foot. It's a blind spot. Most Navigator users are:

  1. Accidentally communicating “sales pitch ahead” to the prospect.
  2. Writing messages taking more than 15 seconds to read.
  3. Inadvertently signaling “I didn’t research you” and "I'm lower status" to buyers.
  4. Encouraging deletion because subject lines are too specific. (reveal too much)
  5. Focusing on earning a meeting rather than a conversation.
  6. Listing benefits. (that's a blatant sales pitch)
  7. Including links and attachments. (never do this; it always hurts response rate)
  8. Asking for too much, too soon (e.g. requesting a meeting or call in email #1 is a mistake)

How many of these no-no's are you doing? All of this adds-up to lack of being provocative. Be careful. Don't sabotage yourself.

By the way—if you're becoming curious about how to provoke curiosity consider taking this free Curiosity Crash Course.  

Help clients become curious

Instead, help potential buyers become curious about speaking with you—but NOT about your solution to their problem ... or short-cut to their goal. And be sure to avoid asking for meetings.

To spark conversation ... that will foster curiosity ... consider:

  1. Proving you've done homework on the prospect (signal "this isn't spam!").
  2. Reducing the message to three to four sentences.
  3. Reducing the number of "I's" and "my's"  and "our's" in your message to laser-focus on the reader.
  4. Eliminating all adjectives and adverbs that tend to sound persuasive.

An odd (but effective) cold outreach technique

Here's what I've learned through experience (mine and our customers). To get response when using an InMail or a cold email message:

  1. Spark curiosity with your subject line and message copy. Less is more. Avoid offering solutions.
  2. Provoke response by helping buyers start openly talking about themselves.
  3. Avoid presenting your opportunity to prospects who don’t want it!

Your buyer doesn’t want opportunity. They may be open to talking about a problem or goal. But they don’t want your opportunity. Every day they’re presented with opportunities by sellers like you. Don’t be one of them.

Instead, provoke the pants off ’em.

Avoid thinking, "How can I frame my message—to speak to prospects' needs?" This is a trap.

You can't persuade someone—by trying to persuade them. When a cold outreach message speaks to customers' needs the recipient knows why. They presume your motive: To sell. To begin a PERSUASIVE conversation.

Average sellers attempt to persuade. They beg for meetings. Confident sellers ask uncomfortable questions to themselves—and clients.

Instead, ask yourself: "How can I frame my message to provoke curiosity—so they ask for more contact?" 

This frees you up to PROVOKE—help customers want to ask for more clarity.

Here's how: Avoid talking about you, your solution and the problem you solve. Be "just clear enough" and keep it a little vague. Tease.

Invent ways to make it irresistible for them to respond —by asking for more clarity.

Sales trainer, Jeffery Powers asks non-selfish, Facilitative Questions causing leads to deeply consider their situation—the insanity or ugliness or risk of the status quo. That’s his provocation.

What happens next: Most often “the lead talks out loud to themselves in an email reply that I get the advantage of reading," says Jeffery.

Come and start practicing this technique. Take a free Curiosity Crash Course—or come to our next Outreach Clinic. I’m coaching (and being coached!) by a small group of curiosity-focused sellers.

What you "put into" Sales Navigator is ALL that matters. If you don't follow this process your LinkedIn Sales Navigator investment will be wasted.

Why curiosity works

Remember back to a time when you were on a date—where the other person started posturing. You detected it instantly. Your date showed you—he/she was attracted to you. But you weren’t sure. Yet. Then, suddenly... BAM. You were.

This person was not a match.

They started caring about earning your attraction—too much. They were trying too hard.

Engaging a customer for the first time is the same. Signaling “I want you to respect me” is the kiss of death in sales. Same with "There's a problem you're not seeing, I'm here to help."

Side note: Transactional Analysis explains this. It's a body of behavioral science which explains how "I'm here to help" can be a negative trigger.

In dating, the moment you start caring (at all) or too much, you sound persuasive. This risks being seen as desperate or needy.

It’s the same with LinkedIn outreach, making connection requests, sending InMails and leaving voicemails.

The best connection request is no request. The best meeting request is no request. Give it time. Create an urge for the prospect to want it... for their own selfish reason.

Sales is courtship. Nothing screams “I’m trying to persuade” you louder than trying to establish credibility or posturing to impress.

Consider learning how to foster curiosity. Here's a live coaching workshop to get started. Or if you're on a budget take this free Curiosity Crash Course.

Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions.

In 1999, I co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc. where I helped secure 2 rounds of funding and built the sales team. I've been selling for over 2 decades.

After this stint, I returned to what was then Molander & Associates Inc. In recent years we re-branded to Communications Edge Inc., a member-driven laboratory of sorts. We study, invent and test better ways to communicate -- specializing in serving sales and marketing professionals.

I'm a coach and creator of the Spark Selling™ communication methodology—a curiosity-driven way to start and advance conversations. When I'm not working you'll find me hiking, fishing, gardening and investing time in my family.

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  • This is extremely informative and practical information. Thanks so much Jeff!

  • SalesDaily says:

    Interesting article Jeff. We’ve kept an eye on Linkedin Sales Navigator as we’re currently using sales prospecting tools such as Found.ly as an alternative.

    We’ve trialled the Linkedin tool however it’s still proved a little prohibitive to our current solution.

    Our sales reps use Found.ly to do exactly what you’re unable to do with Navigator. The tool finds and builds targeted lead lists from search engines and social networks (including Linkedin). You’re able to find their email addresses and contact details also.

  • I’m not sure if this will work for my voluntary benefit and how to proceed. This would be a new area for me.

  • Kei Reyes says:

    Jeff, what is your opinion on tools like AeroLeads and SalesLoft who works with Sales Navigator and find email ids of the prospects along with other details ? Have you used such tools to automated or speed up your sales ?

    • Hi, Kei.
      I don’t use either of them. That said, anything with the word “automated” makes me very nervous. BUT, SalesLoft’s Cadence sounds awesome… in that it does not allow for spammy email sending. Which, ultimately, doesn’t work. There’s a small, successful segment of sellers out there who understand this — and use tools like Cadence or Contactually (what I use). On the prospect ID-side… most of the tools out there that promise to look-up contact info are terrible. No quality. That said, there is an answer: Task a helper to use tools like Rapportive + LinkedIn https://www.makesocialmediasell.com/landing/find-email/ Yes, it’s a manual process. But the quality of contact is much higher. I also like Data.com a lot!

  • Fiona McKay says:

    HI Jeff

    This is a good article and I am quite keen to try out the template for Inmail. I do have a question about your book – do you perhaps have an ebook version? I live in South Africa and it will take a lot of time to get the paperback version here.

    • Hi, Fiona.
      Good to hear you’re motivated! I’m glad to help. Yes, I will send you a copy of the ebook right now. Good? Cheers!

  • I would not use it after my experience with them. Do not attempt to try they will charge you for a whole year after trial expires. And they would not do refund!!!!!! they charged me £650 no customer services at all. AVOID!!!!!

  • Ben Waterhouse says:

    Hi Geoff, really interesting article. How do you think the power of a tool like Sales Navigator will be affected as more and more organisations start to use it? Surely the prospect will become wiser and more cynical about approaches of this type? If this is the case how would you recommend that one looks to get round this?

    Also, as a UK resident I’m not sure when your book will be available, any chance of an e-copy of it?

    Thanks Geoff, all the best!


    • Hi, Ben. Nice to meet you. “First touches” via Sales Navigator work for some quite well … less for others. The main challenge is standing out in a sea of sellers who tend to use InMail in spammy, un-targeted ways. Also, what I teach is a method — less about templates. I hope this makes sense. Because what works for some, does not work for others. And what works in a given industry for 2-3 months tends to wear thin after a while. Then again, some techniques my customers develop on their own (using the principles I teach) work consistently. The only way around a technique becoming (eventually) less effective is to constantly try new things. For example, one of my clients does very well w/ the subject line “Not Spam: I read your profile.” Also, you can grab a copy of the book here https://www.makesocialmediasell.com/downloads/off-the-hook-marketing-e-book/

  • Hello Jeff,
    Firstly, Great post. This is truly helpful. I wished to ask you something. If I purchase this plan for myself, will I able to send unlimited amount of messages to members of a group that I am in or will I still be bound to a limit of 15 messages per month. I wish to reach out to all the members of a group through personal messages. I am willing to upgrade to any plan necessary. Please do give me some tips.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Thank You.

    • Hi, Nandhaan. You are limited to the 15 messages per month. Unsent messages don’t carry over to the next month. This limit includes messages sent directly from a group, to your 1st degree connections. If you need to send more messages LinkedIn offers alternatives. Premium accounts or Recruiter gives options like InMail messages. But those are limited also!

  • Hi Jeff thanks for the advice here! I have a question on your email sample,what if the company is new and no customers yet? What should I write on the second paragraph?

    • Hi, Marijo. You can substitute a “lesser known” case study from a company using the technique you’re referring to. Make sense? It needs to be a recognizable company. Could even be a competitor’s client. You can get more ideas here too! http://www.jeffmolander.com/email/ Nice to know you.

      • Hi Jeff,

        I’m new to Sales Navigator. Typically when I find someone that I’m interested in on LinkedIn, I’ll first send an invitation to connect, and then if they accept, I’ll reach out to them with a “Thanks for connecting,” with a short bit about our video services. Most ignore the request, but for those who do accept the invitation, it seems like a warmer way to get the conversation started. Thoughts? Does that seem like a good technique even when utilizing Sales Navigator?

        Thanks so much!

        • Hi, Tim. I recommend against it — simply because it is increasingly in-effective. Because of the abuse of the system. Two quotes for you: “the big push on ‘social’ selling has seemed to turn a lot of SDR teams into “send a LinkedIn invite then try to sell them 5 minutes after they accept” https://www.linkedin.com/in/andersenmike and “Here’s what I get from social selling; a LinkedIn invitation, acceptance of invitation, and receipt of an email that clearly shows they know nothing about my company, me or my needs. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not accepting very many LinkedIn invitations as they seem to be an invitation to SPAM me.” https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaeljones36

  • Hey Jeff

    Great article with solid content. I’m currently evaluating Sales Navigator. I think your technique would be a great resource for very high dollar, niche sales. The email template would be solid, regardless. But would the ROI not be a ton better by avoiding the additional cost, all that time, by hiring a VA to put together a list, so statistically, you’re working from a much bigger field in far less time? I mean, going through all of that research and flirting on a completely cold prospect, doesn’t seem very effective ROI unless you have a very specific niche and high value, no?

    • Thanks, Bob. Yes. There are different approaches based on what you’re selling and to whom. Your thoughts are spot-on. Many of my students are selling simple products/services that don’t require 6 months and 4 sign-offs (people) to get the deal done. Our Academy http://oth.me/SS-Academy offers tips & techniques for both kinds of sellers.

      • Bob Olmstead says:

        Thanks for the reply, Jeff! Cool niche you have developed for yourself, here! Thanks for the reply 😉

  • In my opinion the LinkedIn Sales Navigator to clients who work in a team (Sales Teams) or who only rely on LinkedIn to get clients. It’s very specific branch.

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