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The Do's and Don'ts of Manually Prospecting on LinkedIn



April 23, 2020

LinkedIn is a powerful resource for growing your professional network and generating new business. However, just simply being on LinkedIn isn’t a surefire way to generate leads. You have to have a good prospecting and messaging strategy.  

It can be tricky to know what works and what doesn’t, especially if you’re just starting out. So we’re going to cover the do’s and don’ts of prospecting on LinkedIn so that you can successfully grow your business.

Don't: neglect your LinkedIn profile

When you connect with someone, the first thing the person is going to do is check your profile. If you don't have a photo or any information on it, there is a good chance your connection request will get ignored.

linkedin laptop

Do: fill your profile out with relevant information & keep it up to date

Be sure to include a professional headshot on your profile so that connections can see what you look like. Also, make sure that all the sections are filled out in your profile and up to date with your latest employment history and other relevant skills. It’s also important to fill out the ‘about me’ section with a brief bio of who you are and what your expertise is, really talking to what your unique value prop (UVP) is.

bio example

Don't: send connection requests without a custom message

When you connect with someone, LinkedIn gives you the option to write out a custom invitation message. You can skip writing the message, and just send a blank invitation. However, that is a great way to get ignored or written off as a bot.

Do: craft a personalized invitation message with the reason you're connecting

Like the previous point mentions, you can write a message when you connect with someone so that the recipient sees the message in the connection request. Your connection message is extremely important as it’s your first impression and your ticket to securing a new connection.

A good way to craft a personalized connection message is to look over the person’s profile you want to connect with and write a message based on a common skill, interest, job/education history, or a mutual connection.

personalized message

Don't: make something up in order to connect with someone

It’s important to actually visit someone’s page before connecting with them to find some common ground to add to your connection message. What we mean by this is… don’t just say you have a mutual connection or have held a similar job before when you haven’t even looked because the person you’re connecting with can easily confirm whether this is true or not. Or they may accept and ask you who the common connection is - in which case you won’t have an answer.

You want to be genuine in your messages so it’s easy to build rapport around your common interests and progress into a business relationship.

Do: have a specific target audience in mind that you wish to connect with

To be frank, any type of outreach is time-consuming. You can make it a lot easier on yourself by already knowing who you want to connect and do business with.  

Having a specific target audience is important so that you aren’t spending hours upon hours reaching out blindly to anyone you come across. Knowing your audience and reaching out to them specifically will also help you build more meaningful connections and generate more leads.


Don't: sell right away

You’ve probably received a message with little to no personal interaction and an eager BDR pitching you right away. How disingenuous does it feel?

At the point of initial connection, you haven’t even identified a need or know if this person is a good fit. And you likely will never get to that point as the recipient will ignore your message.

Do: remember to follow-up

This is important. A simple follow-up can make up the difference between closing a deal or not. Let me explain… you may reach out to a prospect and they respond saying that they are interested, but now is not a good time and to check back in 6 months. Set a calendar notification or some type of reminder to follow-up with that person in exactly 6 months.  

The person you reached out to will have likely forgotten about your conversation by then so it’s up to you to do the work and put in the effort to remind them. Not only does this put you back top of mind, it opens up a chance for more communication and could result in closing a deal.

Don't: spam people

You could craft the perfect message that includes all our “do’s”, and some people will still never respond. It’s okay to follow-up after some time to see if they’ve had the chance to review your last message. However, be careful not to spam people with excessive follow-ups, or not waiting enough time between messages. We suggest waiting a minimum of 5 days after the first message, and 7 after the second

Do: have some type of call to action (CTA)

Depending on what it is you want the recipient to do, make it clear. Maybe you want them to check out a new blog, or add them to your email list, or book a meeting/demo. Maybe you simply just want them to reply. Whatever it is, make it clear what you need from them so you get a positive response and can move on to the next step.

Want a real life example of the 'do's' being put in practice? Check out this customer success story where a marketing agency owner closed his largest deal to date with CoPilot AI.

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