This is pretty obvious when you think about it, but bear with me for a moment so I can provide some context.
As someone who spends a lot of his day involved with InMail, I have found four broad categories of InMail users on LinkedIn.
The tiniest category of InMail users are the ones who use it all the time and are successful with it.
The next smallest category are the people who use InMail and have a little success with it. Their attitude seems to be that “what the heck, we get twenty of these things each month in our premium subscription, we might as well use them.” Their attitude is that any responses they get to their InMail is a bonus, a windfall.
Then there is the “fire, fail, and forget about it” crowd. These folks have tried using InMail, failed miserably, given up, and just ignore the InMails they receive from LinkedIn each month.
And lastly, the biggest group are InMail users who never use InMail at all. They either don’t understand how to use it, or they haven’t figured out where it fits with their other outreach efforts, or both.
So the vast majority of InMail “users” aren’t users at all. They have either given up or never tried.
And that is the biggest mistake InMail users make: they don’t use their allotted InMails every month. And as the celebrated philosopher Wayne Gretzky once said:
“You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”
How will you ever get better with no practice? You get sharp at using InMail by actually using InMail. By experimenting and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I have one InMail message I have been using for over two years. I have probably made a couple hundred tweaks and changes to it as I constantly experiment, trying to find the optimal wording.
To a lot of LinkedIn users, InMail is a dirty word and practically interchangeable with the word “Spam”. But that’s because most InMails are just embarrassingly bad sales pitches. LinkedIn users will take a message they wouldn’t dream of sending via email and think nothing of sending it via InMail. Then they are mystified when they get no response.
A badly written InMail is spam.
A well written InMail is one where I stop and go, “That’s interesting.” I may respond, I may not. But it wasn’t spam.
If you are a premium Linkedin subscriber, you have paid for these InMails. Get out there and use them. But use your brains. Try different wordings and calls to action. Experiment, experiment, experiment. If you are a Sales Navigator user, you get 20 InMails a month (and some plans get more). Going from zero to just a measly five percent response rate will bring you one extra conversation with a prospect every month for each sales rep on your team with a Sales Navigator subscription.
So take some shots. You may not score as often as Wayne Gretzky, but that’s better than watching from the bench.