Time to read: 3.5 minutes. The jury is out on LinkedIn InMail response rates: Some say InMail is worthless, others say it’s worth the money. What’s the difference? Quality of message: The subject line and the copy within the email.

Here’s a “first approach email” formula I use to get better response—for Inmail or standard email:Use words the recipient wants to hear.

  1. Use words the recipient wants to hear—in ways they want to act on.
  2. Prove the message is not spam.
  3. Spark curiosity in the buyer. (this is very effective)
  4. Ask for a specific decision to be made.
  5. Make it 3 sentences—maximum.

If you’d like to get started on applying this technique, join me for a InMail Writing Clinic where I help folks like you improve under-performing messages. Otherwise, let’s take each step and go a little deeper.

#1 Use words they want to hear
(in ways they want to act on)

Are your email response rates low? Can’t get past “hello” on InMail? You may be using words the recipient wants to hear—BUT they’re not willing to act. Why? You are:

  1. getting in the way and/or
  2. not talking enough about them—in ways that let THEM decide if they want to talk or not.

Give your prospect a way to do what they’re already looking to do—escape your email. It sounds crazy but it works.

Yes, the first sentence must contain what the other side wants to hear. However, do not over-assume what’s going on in your prospects’ world. And don’t talk much about yourself.

Doing so does not invite discussion. It prevents it!

Do think in terms of remedying the buyer’s pain—or helping them reach a goal faster. BUT (first) earn the right to speak to them about it.

Ask. Confirm there is a discussion to have—at all—first.

For example, DO think in terms of the

  • remedy to your buyers’ pain
  • pleasure you can create for them
  • access to “better ways” you can give.

But don’t assume they want to hear about anything you have to say about their wants or goals.

The idea is to tell prospects “I’d like talk with you about ______ (a subject they probably want to talk about).” But only if they can confirm it is a conversation they want to have.

If you’d like to get started on applying this technique, here’s a InMail Writing Clinic. Otherwise…

DO directly address your prospects’ pain, fear or goal using InMail. However, suggest you may have the solution to a problem you THINK they have in a way that invites them to confirm your suspicion.

Bonus tip

Here’s a quick way to make sure you succeed. It works for me and it will work for you:

At the end of drafting your message go back and reduce the number of times the word “I” appears in the message!

Get the “I’s” down to a bare minimum. This will help you focus your words on what your prospect wants. They already know you exist. The idea is to not let your need to get a response get in the way of what they want to act on!

But what if you can’t even get them to pay attention to your message? How can you get a higher LinkedIn Inmail response rate if they’re ignoring your message?

#2  Prove you’ve done homework

The best way to get someone to open, read and respond affirmatively to your email or InMail is to prove you’re special. Here’s how:

  • Show them you’ve done your homework on them.
  • Don’t just say you’ve done it prove it. Get dramatic.

In one sentence (yes, you CAN do it!!) say something that makes them think, “hey, THAT took some effort on the sender’s part.”

Prove to the message recipient how you’ve already invested in them—beyond scanning their LinkedIn profile. If possible, put this proof in your Subject line. 

For example, I show prospects that I noticed their Tweet on Twitter expressing a need or goal … or desire to avoid a risk … or pain they want to remedy. Sometimes I choose to prove to them that I’m relevant by referencing their recent blog post. You get the idea.

I write subject lines like, “Your article on _____” or “I noticed your tweet about ______.”

Rise above all the CRAP in your prospects’ inboxes—in dramatic form. If you’d like to get started on applying this technique, here’s a InMail Writing Clinic. Otherwise…

Reveal something that quickly makes them think “Hey… could this person be my hero?” or “Be my solution to ____?”  This gets to the next step…

#3 Create irresistible curiosity

If I had to pick the most important tip, this is it.

Can your service solve a problem?

Can your product give buyers a life-altering experience or bring them closer to reaching a goal?

Let them know you’ve got a sample of it waiting for them.

All they need to do is respond.

Politely tease them a little. Dangle a carrot. When you’re writing the goal is to help them think, “I wonder what, exactly, he/she means by that?”

This part is tricky but critical to your success. I say tricky because you’ve got to be BOTH credible and provocative. You’ve got to be respectable and mysterious.

I get the most response when I present myself as a “pain reliever” to someone who just expressed a pain. Then, I get to work saying just enough about my remedy to create curiosity.

My promise about the remedy is—above all else—BELIEVABLE.

I also get response by presenting myself as a “vehicle to opportunity” by creating a sense of intrigue, curiosity. I work really hard to make them wonder, “this guy did his homework, knows about my specific pain… I wonder if he can actually help me… hmmm… I wonder….”

That’s the spark of curiosity you’re going for (and how to go about getting it). That’s how to boost your LinkedIn InMail response rate.

If you’d like to get started on applying this technique, here’s a InMail Writing Clinic. Otherwise…

#4 Ask for a decision to be made

Want immediate access to the true potential of your prospect?  Invite them to say “yes” or “no.”

Why and how can you do this?

First of all, hardly anyone does it. Only the best sales people know: Honoring the time of the prospect is key to getting their immediate, honest response.

Think about how you use email—how you respond most often to short, compelling messages that ask you to!

That’s why it works.

Here’s how you can apply it:

In the interest of your time, let’s decide if there’s a conversation for us to have—or not…

Let them off the hook right in the email. (the “or not” part) Why? Because it works. They’ll respond!

Remember: A negative response is GOOD. This lets you move on … invest time in better prospects.

Give your prospect a way to do what they’re already looking to do—escape your email.

This tactic increases response rate tremendously. It’s an old cold calling tactic of mine. By inviting the prospect to say “no” you’ll get immediate access to the true potential of closing the prospect.

#5 Keep it short

This part is obvious. Let’s not linger on it.

Stop writing emails and InMails longer than 3 sentences. You can do it. Trust me.

You DO want to get get a higher LinkedIn InMail response rate, right? Well, trust me!

What you’re really doing here is crafting a message that a) will get read and b) asks them to decide, right now, IF they want to talk with you or not—based on the “30 seconds of well-thought-out reasoning” you just gave them.

Good luck!

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.

Related Posts...

  • Jennie Shaw says:

    Thanks Jeff, I found this article really helpful
    Kind regards

  • Thanks Jeff, have you used any automation tools to help with this? I’ve recently started using http://www.salesloop.io and it’s been really great for managing this.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}