Time to read: 3.5 minutes. Your success depends on being able to get appointments set faster. Knowing how to navigate Sales Navigator is not enough. Make sure your LinkedIn Sales Navigator training help reps get appointments set faster by:

  • teaching your team an effective communications process
  • showing them a copy-able, repeatable way to spark customers' curiosity in the seller

Many LinkedIn trainers teach outdated approaches--InMail templates that aren't effective.

Avoid asking for an appointment too soon

Example: Did you know the best way to get more appointments, faster, is NOT asking for the appointment in your first email? 

You'll get better response rates by using the first message to earn permission for a discussion.

Then, conduct the conversation (via email) in a way that creates an urge in the prospect to ask you for the appointment. Why? 

Because this helps you qualify leads faster.

Sound crazy? Stick with me. I’ll even give you a template to make it easy. This is what I've learned while coaching my Sales Navigator customers.


Connections suck as a first touch

WARNING: Connections are not effective as a 'first touch' strategy. Plus, they're risky. 

If your connection requests are not accepted by prospects often enough LinkedIn will remove your ability to make connection requests.

Other than InMail, it is best to initiate contact off of LinkedIn first—then connect on LinkedIn to nurture the conversation forward.

This takes full advantage of what connections give you. (and avoids risk of being punished by LinkedIn)

Here's the short version. Being connected with prospects on LinkedIn is:

  • less effective for earning meetings or starting relationships
  • more effective at nurturing conversations toward closure.

This is the piece of the puzzle you might be missing with LinkedIn. Success often boils down to your ability to give prospects an irresistible reason to talk.

Asking for appointments kills response rates

Any time you begin your sale by trying to get an appointment you are being rejected by 90 – 97% of perfectly good prospects. So says Sharon Drew Morgen, inventor of the Buying Facilitation® method. And she’s got 40 years of experience to back-up the statement.

This is because most buyers don’t know precisely what they need when you email them. Or they do have a need but aren’t ready to buy yet. Other buyers have not assembled the decision-making team—yet.

Setting an appointment with a seller will happen—but not with you.

Because you asked for it (too early). Most LinkedIn Sales Navigator Training programs overlook this critical fact.

What you should do first, instead

The goal of your first InMail / email message is permission + attraction.

You MUST make this your ONLY objective. Nothing else. It’s a lot like an effective cold call. This is what we learn how to do in my InMail / Email Writing Workshop.   

This is a best practice that most sales reps don’t know about yet it's surprisingly simple.

Here's the best way to make this a habit. Take a sticky-note and hand this on your wall... look at it daily as a reminder.

Start writing in a way that gets buyers:

  1. affirming (“yes, I will be acting on this”) and eventually
  2. inquiring (“can you tell me more about that?”).

The goal of your InMail / email message is to earn the right to step up to the plate—not swing for the wall. Ok. Sorry for the baseball analogy. With me it's baseball or fishing!

A better approach

I know it "just feels right" to start with a connection request. Imagine. There you are ... on the prospect's profile. There's that big CONNECT button. Just staring at you saying, "Cliiiick me... CLIIIICK ME!"

But don't. You'll only sabotage yourself.

You are smart—using LinkedIn to find and qualify buyers. But instead of jumping-the-gun with a connection, use InMail, email or the phone to make initial contact.

Confirm your prospect is a viable near-term or future buyer.

Then connect.

Heck, you’ll discover when they prospect will be ready for an appointment! Or you might uncover who is on the decision-making team, or what stage of decision-making they’re in.

You’ll get all of this if you’re brief, blunt and basic. Be quick, get to the point and don’t confuse them. Most LinkedIn Sales Navigator training programs overlook this part too!

How to create the urge with Killer B's

Getting more response and appointments will start happening for you. Follow my lead. But it will only happen when you help prospects feel curious about how you can help them solve a problem, relieve a pain, avoid a risk or fast-track a goal.

Start by using your first message to provoke a, “can you tell me more?” from a potential buyer.

Use the chance to surface an unknown fact the prospect needs to know about before they can make an informed decision.

Provoke your decision-maker by asking for permission to facilitate, not discussing need. Here's how.

Be brief, blunt and basic. Obvious? Yup. But few practice it. And that’s a huge mistake. Because buyers scan their inboxes the same way. No exceptions. They want to know:

  • Who is emailing me? (Is this spam?)
  • What do they want?
  • How long will this take?

By addressing this reality directly you’ll get yourself noticed (opened) and responded to more often.

Want to learn how to do it yourself? Attend our InMail / Email Writing Workshop. It's an entry-level LinkedIn Sales Navigator training. Join-in, it's fun. We operate it as a tune-up Clinic.

An effective template

Here is an effective "Brief, Blunt & Basic" message template for you to try. Let me know how it works for you?

Hi, Sam.
How are you adding new capability to your ______________ [insert area of business your product addresses] at any time soon or in future? I work with organizations like _______ [prospect’s business] to make sure ________ [goal]. 

Would you like to quickly explore, via email, if a larger conversation makes sense? Please let me know what you decide, Sam?

Thanks for considering,

Would you like more templates like this? I'll give you a few more at my upcoming InMail / Email Writing Workshop.

Remember, be creative. You don’t need to stick with this template verbatim. Make the tone sound like you. Adjust it. Get in touch in comments or email me with the results this approach produces for you! 

Do you have questions about making this technique “come alive” for you or your sales team? Let me know!

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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  • I was just getting into this article and then it finishes with a generic email template!

    How are you supposed to email them if you don’t connect with them on LinkedIn?

    This could be a fantastic post, but it really lacks any depth IMO


  • Jeff, let say I was able to get a response like tell me more, how do I go about getting those interested prospects on a booked call with me ASAP?

    • Saad, the key is to hold back — and not want them on a booked call with you ASAP. Seriously. In most cases this holds true. Even if the prospect opens the door for you to pitch. Best to ask them a question that does NOT make them feel you’re trying to qualify them for a fit. For example:

      “Do you have budget?”
      “How many _____/how much______ will you need?”

      Avoid these kinds of questions. Avoid seeking information that sizes them up for if and when they’ll buy. Wait.

      Instead, choose a question that helps them consider their situation — in a way that makes your question feel NEUTRAL.

      Example: “What is preventing you from fixing this yourself, without looking outside for help?”

      Or… “What would need to happen for you to make the decision to invest in _________?”

      This will help prospects talk more about their situation. It helps them. This also helps you see if they’re a good lead or not (faster, using email).

      These kinds of “facilitative” questions are effective because they avoid making the prospect feel vulnerable to you. They don’t set them up for a pitch. This is why prospects tend to respond more to them. Instead, these kinds of (neutral) questions force introspection. You become a “neutral navigator” who asks questions that help them navigate their own decision-making process. Good luck!

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