How to Write LinkedIn Prospecting Messages (+5 Templates)

By: Jack Reamer |
 August 8, 2023 |

If you aren’t getting results with Linkedin prospecting it could be because your prospecting messages aren’t personalized enough. 

Cold outreach on Linkedin only works if you do the following:

  • Build a super-refined list
  • Personalize each message
  • Follow up consistently

So if you aren’t receiving the results you would like, then take advice from a company that sees 23% -55% positive reply rates across 12 industries from C-level executives. 

This step-by-step guide will help you understand everything you need to know about writing personalized Linkedin prospecting messages on this social media platform. 

We will also share some of our top templates for you to use as inspiration.

(If you would like more in-depth information on Linkedin lead generation, feel free to hop on a 15 minute strategy call with the founder of Salesbread. Just hit us up below.)

First, you need to understand why the platform is used

To become a Linkedin messaging genius, you first need to understand why people use Linkedin

IMPORTANT: It’s not a place where people upload their resumes and eagerly await random sales pitches.

People use LinkedIn to network with people who can help their careers.

So when you write a Linkedin message, you want to make sure it’s in that same vein; That you are offering them a way to “get ahead” in their careers. 

If you give someone a sales pitch initially, they are not going to hear you out. Instead, talk about your interest in the prospect or interest in their business.

That’s why it’s so essential to make the messages all about them. 

To help, follow the 90/10 strategy we use every day at Salesbread. Our messages are 90% about the prospect and their interests and 10% about the sales pitch.

For example, if you receive a connection request from a fellow businessman/woman, thank them for the message. This is the first step in growing a network of genuine prospects that will lead to better response rates

But, do cold messages on Linkedin actually work?

Linkedin outreach has become an excellent way for finding new prospects. 

Did you know that there are 500 Million users on Linkedin? Of the 500 million, there are about 250 million active users each month. This means that you have a massive platform for reaching out to many people; The trick is finding the right prospects to share your services or business ideas with. 

Another study showed that Linkedin generates 80% of all B2B leads. Linkedin is still twice as effective as Facebook or Twitter for finding those leads. 

As mentioned above, Salesbread gets between 20% – 55% reply rates each month across 12 industries from C-Level Execs. We have seen great results. If you would like to learn more about how our strategy works, click here

So to answer your question, “Does cold messaging on Linkedin work?” the answer is yes. 

But the trick to getting prospects to engage with you is by being social and NOT salesy in your messages. 

Here’s how to write Linkedin prospecting messages

Step 1: 

Send your initial message on Linkedin. When it comes to sending prospecting messages you have to personalize each one. 

How do you do this?

We suggest using a method called CCQ.

Basically, this means, having a look at your prospect’s Linkedin page and finding something to either compliment them on, mention a commonality or ask a question. 

For example:


“Michaela I loved your article on personalization for sales emails. Mind if we connect?”


“John, I see that you also know Marc from Seeff Properties. I’d love to connect with you.”


“Mary I’m curious to hear how your company is dealing with (pain point)? I’m asking because our company does XYZ. Can we connect here?”

Here are some connection request templates for inspiration

1. (Name). It was great to meet you earlier today. I enjoyed the conversation. I look forward to having you at my webinar.

2. Hi (Name). I hope you’re doing well. I’m (your name), co-founder of (your company’s name) We’re looking for agency partners and it would be great to connect over a “virtual” coffee/chat and see what we can do together? (introduce webinar in the chat)

3. Hey (Name) I hope your week is off to a great start, since we both work in the {{HR/Employee Experience}} field together, are you open to connecting?(My background is in employee retention, happy to share insights anytime.)

4. Listening to your podcast now & subscribed! Wanted to connect and say thank you for sharing your insights – I’m using them to help land a lead gen job. Cheers,{{Signature}}

5. {{Name}}, we’re looking for a {{law firm}} like yours to collaborate on an upcoming book. Would like to interview you based on your {{10}} years experience with {{AI law}}. Have 15 minutes to talk next week?

Step 2: 

Once your prospect accepts your message, wait 24 hours and then send a follow-up message. (Remember to keep it personal.)

Step 3: 

If you still don’t receive anything back, wait for 2-3 days and then send another message. You could offer a free resource or mention something interesting that you saw on their profile in the following message.

Step 4: 

If you haven’t heard anything back after about a month, you can cross that specific lead off your list. 

Or target them using another channel like cold email.

(But remember, what helps to receive replies, is by building the right lists. If you would like help with list building, we would love to help you. We offer free 15 min consultations with the founder of Salesbread, Jack.)

Follow these 10 tips for copywriting and engagement success: 

Tip 1: Send messages at the right time

According to Linkedin, the best time to send messages to prospects is between 9 am and 10 am during the week. We have found that most prospects reply to messages during work hours in their time zone.

Interestingly messages that are sent over the weekends are 16% less likely to receive a response. 

Tip 2: Be engaging, use personalization and focus on the prospect.

When initiating contact with a prospect, be genuinely interested in them. 

With the research you have done, you should know more about them; for example, their profile might have mentioned their hobbies or interesting information about their careers.

If they’ve received some accolade or achievement, congratulate them on it. 

If you have a mutual connection, you could even ask them how they know the person.

Ask them about themselves or how they got into their line of business. People are more interested in talking to you when you show interest in them. 

As we mentioned above, Salesbread uses the 90/10 rule. So, talk about your prospect 90% of the time and only 10% about yourself. 

We believe in this quote penned by Mailshake: “ By framing your message toward the prospect, you are communicating to them that your objective in reaching out is to help them and not you. Focus on your customer’s pain points, and, as a result, you’ll be able to generate 10x more leads than focusing on yourself.” 

Because of our personalized approach, Salesbread has a 40-55% acceptance rate, a 35% reply rate, and an average of 2 leads per day per client. 

(If you are unsure about what to say in your initial connection request messages click here, for 60 personalized message templates.)

Tip 3: Keep your messages short and to the point

As we mentioned above, Linkedin messaging is a lot like texting. You will be more willing to read something short and sweet than an essay of information. 

So we suggest sending between 2 and 4 sentences. Messages should be friendly, personal and should make the prospect want to message you again. Cut the fluff.

Tip 4: Ask specific questions: 

You could also ask them specific questions like how they hire the 1% of the top talent in their industry. 

Or what issues have they found in their line of business? You could also find commonalities in  Linkedin groups you both belong to and ask questions about that. 

By asking questions, it gives people the opportunity to engage with you and allows you to create common ground. This also shows them that you are interested in them and what they do. 

Tip 5: Don’t try to make your sales pitch immediately: 

Don’t be salesy in the first few messages. By making sales pitches initially,  you could put your potential prospect off you. 

Don’t just ask for a demo call or to sell your item. This is quite a common problem that many marketers make, and the problem with this is that it comes across as selfish, and often people will say no to your social selling campaigns.

But if you can present why you are interested in the prospect and how you can help them and work together, this will be the best approach. You could also ask if contacting via email is better in the future. 

Tip 6: Ask for a meeting:

Once you have messaged and they have replied three times, ask if you could set up a quick meeting or a call. (We suggest asking for a call at least twice. You would be surprised at how many prospects say yes. Those who aren’t interested will just say no, which is also good as it saves the salesperson time.)

In this “meeting” message, don’t try to sell anything. Simply set up as a learning and networking call. The first call should only be a max of 15min.

In the call, discuss what your company does and ask how they are dealing with any work-related issues they might have. 

Ask questions, as this allows you to set up a deeper connection. You could then mention how you could help each other out. 

Tip 7: Don’t give up if you don’t receive an immediate reply

Many business owners or startups who attempt Linkedin lead generation sometimes give up too soon. As we mentioned above, send three follow-up messages that are spaced out. 

What do you do if you don’t get a reply at all? 

Well, there are two options; if you have a person’s email address, you could message them via email.

But remember, Linkedin has an 80% higher open rate than a cold email, so the chances are if they never replied on Linkedin, they most probably won’t reply via email, so it could end up being a waste of time. 

You could then revisit the prospect after six months, as they are already in your network, and just engage with them organically.

Tip 8: Use Inmail as a supplementary form of outreach

We have also found that Inmail is not the best tool to use when you are busy with Linkedin prospecting campaigns.

Inmail allows you to send messages to people who are not part of your network, but we have had better success rates from messaging people who are already part of our network.  

We prefer sending a connection request and then using InMails as a supplementary form of outreach.

Tip 9: Offer a great CTA

Once you have established a relationship with your prospect, ask them if you can call them some time or set up a Zoom meeting to discuss how your service or business could help them. 

After all, as we established earlier on, people use to join networks of people who can help them in their careers. 

And remember, don’t be shy to ask. 

This is a great way to sell your pitch because they already know you, trust you, and be more willing to hear what you have to say. 

Tip 10: Only automate when really necessary and after you get the hang of messaging prospects.

In the beginning, we suggest not using automation tools for Linkedin prospecting messaging

The reason? 

It’s a distraction and dangerous to your account. Sending too many automated messages could get your account hacked, and people can tell if you’re not sending genuine in-person messages. Meaning people might not interact with you.

You can use an automation tool if it is not a browser extension.

But remember to keep these messages personalized.

Personalization leads to a  30-55% invite acceptance rate. 

Remember, baby steps are essential. Try to do everything manually for the first 100 messages. You can then calculate your acceptance rate. 

Once your acceptance and reply rates are 30% and more, you could try using an automation tool. There are no shortcuts when it comes to prospecting. Get everything right before automating. 

Here are some tools which you can use for automation that we find really helpful: 

What is the benefit of prospecting on Linkedin

Besides the fact that Linkedin is a great way to find leads, there are also other benefits, as we have seen above.

Unlike cold email outreach, you always get 100% deliverability rates.

Unlike cold email outreach, you don’t need to worry about spam filters and open rates. Often spam filters will hide cold emails to prospects, with hundreds of emails from salespeople vying for attention.

On the other hand, once you become first-degree connections with someone on Linkedin, you won’t have to worry about beating the spam filters. 

LinkedIn profiles Give “Context” that makes it easier to get a reply.

So, firstly when someone has sent you a connection request or accepted your Linkedin invite, they are already accepting you into their network. 

The prospect can also see your profile, and you can see theirs, which gives each of you context about the other person, as opposed to someone just putting your cold email in their spam filter because they don’t know who you are. 

Secondly, it also tells you that they are active on Linkedin, which means that it’s a good channel for this person.

This, in turn, shows that they will most likely see your messages. It also makes responding so much easier, as they have accepted you into their network. 

That’s why when you use Linkedin, it’s so much like texting because they have already agreed to hear from you, and they are using this platform for networking, so there is no need for marketing jargon. 

Your messages will be hard to miss

Another benefit is that your messages will be seen (depending on the user’s settings) on your prospect’s Linkedin account, email, and on their phone app notifications. So there is no way of missing your message. 

Have a look below at where you get notified on Linkedin

Linkedin email alert image: 

Linkedin App alert image:

    Linkedin desktop alert image:

Once your Linkedin connection request is accepted, you will be altered on your phone, email, and desktop. 

Why does Linkedin push this message so hard on its users? 

Because it helps people get back onto Linkedin, and these messages are a way to re-engage users. 

Remember that Linkedin is also trying to sell ads, so the more active the users, the more money they are going to make. 

Now you might ask, “How do I send a cold message on Linkedin?” 

There are 2 ways in which you can send cold messages on Linkedin

Sales Navigator Inbox

Sales Navigator is a great tool for business owners or salespeople to keep their messaging system neat and organized. 

Besides this, you will also have various other features such as CRM integrations, sharing custom lists, lead and Linkedin account suggestions, and even data usage. 

You have to pay for Sales Navigator, though, but it’s worth the investment. 

Here are the package details below.

But if you would like more info, click here.

Linkedin Inbox

If you don’t have Sales Navigator, Linkedin inbox is the next best thing, especially if you are a new business owner and would like to save some money, as this is free to use. 

What to do before sending a Linkedin message?

Build the perfect list.

How would you build the perfect target audience for your list? 

When it comes to list building, Salesbread takes a look at who has purchased your product or service before. 

This can give a clear indication of what kind of person is looking to buy the client’s product. 

We have also found that sometimes, founders don’t even know who to target. 

So, instead of asking founders for who they have on a list, we build one for our clients.

Remember that companies serve more than one segment; it could be marketing and sales or small and mid-sized businesses. 

Therefore we will look at all the data from who has purchased recently and list out the exact companies and the decision-makers to find similar clients when we begin list building. 

For examples: 

Perhaps, 70% of the customer data has fewer than 50 employees, but more than 10. 

And from this group, 60% of purchasers are marketing directors. 

We will then just focus on marketing directors for the segment.

But with some more research, we figure out that half of the list is in the fintech space, so we will target marketing directors in the fintech space with 10-50 employees. 

Your list gets more and more detailed in time, so you can form a super-targeted campaign for the right kind of prospects. 

Use specific tools that can help you build your list

We also use specific tools for list building. 

These tools come in handy and can cost quite a bit, so this is also a reason why clients like to make use of our services because they don’t have to pay for such tools. Have a look at some of the programs we use below: is a data mining tool that allows us to find email addresses and phone numbers of contacts on Linkedin

Crunchbase allows us to find data on specific companies and track investors, prospects, and even complete market research. 

Linkedin Sales Navigator

Salesbread uses Linkedin Sales Navigator to find people. Unfortunately, this tool does a poor job of finding companies and data on accounts. Therefore the above tools can provide more detailed insights into companies. 

Sales Navigator also allows for more organization, which we prefer. 

There are various options to choose from, with different pricing plans. 


Google can also be used to find target accounts. We all know that Google is the best place to search for information. 

For example, did you know that you can ask Google to search for: “all the websites that have a services page that mentions pen testing.” 

It’s true; you just need to know how to use advanced Boolean operations. Here’s how it works:

Inurl: services/ AND “Pen Testing.”

That’s it! Just add this to your Google search engine, and it will show you every services page that mentions pen testing. So you can get super granular about your research. 

Complete the list

Once the list has been completed, we will check with the client if we have the list 100% correct. 

We ask for feedback constantly and make sure that the lead is a sales-qualified lead. 

We will then find the correct people at the companies with the right job titles

Once we have the list ready, we will find all these people in the client’s second-degree network. 

Sales Navigator allows us to find the people at these accounts that we are going after per segment. 

Sales Navigator allows you to add up to 200 accounts at a time. So if you have a list of 1200 accounts in the market, you can target six different searches with unique companies at a time. 

You might also wonder how long it takes to build a list. 

It usually takes on average three interactions with the client, including feedback. 

This can take up to 10 hours on average, but it can also sometimes take a little longer to perfect the list. 

On a side note: Will people always reply if your list is perfect?

There will always be a percentage of people that won’t reply. 

You can expect between 45 -75 % that won’t respond. 

We suggest sending up to 3 follow-up messages but spacing them out. 

So we will send the first follow-up two days after the first messages, then again five days after, and the third follow-up two weeks apart. 

But we will always approach the prospect with a personalized approach. 

Need help with your LinkedIn prospecting? Reach out to us.

We have used these tips and tricks since 2014 and still have an average of between 1 and 2 qualified sales leads per day, per client; Thus showing that LinkedIn prospecting done the right way works. 

If your business needs help with finding more qualified sales leads, feel free to hop on a free 15-minute strategy call with us today.