The Anatomy of a Perfect Linkedin Cold Message

By: Jack Reamer |
 May 17, 2021 |

So you think you have the perfect Linkedin message

You’ve thought about what you want to write, your sales pitch is on point, and you have a few hundred prospects that you know will accept your connection request

You hit send…. And then wait… and wait… and wait some more… 

Finally, you get one or two replies, and to your disappointment, that’s it. 

This might leave you wondering what went wrong because you definitely expected to get a higher response rate

If this sounds like you, don’t worry… SalesBread has your back. 

We have found a recipe that works (through tons of trial and error over the years) and will discuss exactly what you need to know about sending the perfect cold message on Linkedin. 

(On a side note: These principles can also be applied to cold emails and cold calling)  

Firstly, some stats on why Linkedin cold messaging works:

  • As of 2021, there are 55 million companies on Linkedin. This means that you have a huge playing field for lead generation.

  • 4 out of 5 people on LinkedIn “drive business decisions.” This allows B2B marketers to reach the people who make the buying decisions.


  • 80% of B2B content marketers use Linkedin Ads – Which has proven to be very successful. The top organic social network for B2B marketers is also the top paid social network. Facebook comes in next at 67%, followed by Twitter at 27%.

These stats show that if you can get your Linkedin cold messages just perfect, you will have a vast audience prospecting. The trick is to do it the right way so that you don’t come across as an annoying spammer but rather someone who has value to offer to another business or person. 

How do you send these cold messages?

You can send outreach messages in 3 ways:

1. Connection request invitations 

With a connection request invitation, you will need to send a message that gets the prospect to accept your invitation. If they do, then this opens up the floor for more communication. 

2. Open inmail messages

You can send inmail messages for free to anyone with an open Linkedin profile. “It may only be enabled if you have a paid account but allows free/paid members to do the sending at no cost. It works just like an InMail – except it’s free. No need for inmail credits.

You can see if the profile is open, as per the image below:

3. Mutual group messages

You can send messages to members who are part of groups that you belong to. You would need to go to the group, click the hyperlinked “members” list on the group homepage, and search for the connection you would like to message.

You will then need to click the message button, next to the connection’s name and send your message. No inmail or invitation is required. 

Before you write your cold message, know your target audience.

Before you can even begin writing your cold message, you need to make sure that you have the correct target audience. We obsess about building lists of prospects at SalesBread. 


Well, if you have an extremely granular list of qualified prospects, the chances of getting your message rejected are less. The reason? You’re offering people something that they need and want. You’re giving them a solution to their pain point.

When it comes to list building, we do a lot of research. We might check out a person’s Linkedin profile, Sales Navigator filters, and even Google, the prospect, to make sure that they are a perfect fit for the campaign. (There is no point trying to sell animal products to a vegan, for example.)

We use a number of different tools in our outreach strategy

Some of these include : is a data mining tool that allows us to find email addresses and phone numbers of contacts on Linkedin. You can find your ideal prospects with laser-focused details. 

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

Zoominfo provides accurate data such as phone numbers, email addresses, and company info for B2B sales teams. This allows for precise targeting.

 Once you have your list of prospects, you should check it again and refine it even more so that it is super granular.

This will also help you send personalized messages (which is the heart of successful Linkedin outreach) to the prospect; This will help your message stand out from all the others. 

How to write the perfect cold message on Linkedin

1. Personalization 

There are 722+ million monthly users on Linkedin a month, and stats have shown that 97% of marketers use Linkedin as part of their marketing strategies. 

 The problem with this is that there are a lot of people using Linkedin for the same thing – lead generation

So how do you cut through all the noise? How do you get your message to stand out? 

The answer is personalization.

According to a stat by eConsultancy, 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement. 

Here is another stat – Marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences. – Monetate

These stats have proven so true. We have seen a major increase in engagement when using personalization for email outreach and LinkedIn messaging

Check out some of the stats below that we received from a recent campaign. 

(We used ultra-personalized messages, and as you can see we had a high lead rate. Click here for the full article)



Qualified Leads


Connection Rate


Lead Rate

To break it down :

We sent our 299 connection request invites, and 135 people connected. This gives us a connection rate of 45.2%.

Out of all who connected, 52 prospects replied to our messages, giving us a lead rate of 38.5%.

So, the number one most important thing when it comes to the anatomy of the perfect cold outreach message is personalization. 

The psychology behind a “Pattern Interrupt”

Psychology shows that there is something called a “Pattern Interrupt” Forbes has a great article explaining what it is; but basically, a” pattern interrupt” jolts the prospect out of their daily routine, or behavior, so that they don’t just say “no” to your messages. 

If prospects hear the same old pitch or script from every other salesperson, they will reject your messages as well.

Prospects are used to seeing Linkedin automation tools spewing out messages (an example is PhantomBuster,), so when a message pops up, they will probably think it’s just another boring sales template

BUT if your message stands out, if you break that pattern, then you stand a chance of getting your foot in the door.

This is why personalization comes in handy. For example, if you’re about to send a connection request message, you need to research your prospect. ( Have a look at Google, their social media pages, their Linkedin groups, and so on, to find out more about them.)

Do they enjoy hiking? Do you both have a mutual connection? Have they recently given an interesting podcast? Or have they written a post about something that they accomplished? If they have, then mention it in your message. Try to find common ground

 You could say something like :

“Hey, just stumbled upon your podcast and wanted to say thank you for sharing your insights… using them to help land a lead gen job. Thank you!”


“Hey (Name), I notice we share a mutual connection or two & would love to add you to my network of professionals. If you’re open to that let’s connect!” 


“I just read your story about how you played professional golf for 2 years. Would love to hear about the time you tee’d off with Tiger Woods sometime.”

These kinds of messages “interrupt” a person’s normal thought pattern when it comes to seeing cold messages

When they read a personalized message they say- “ wait a minute, this is something different – not just another salesperson.”

By adding in the person’s name and something unique just about them, you cut through the noise of hundreds of spam-type cold messages

This might not earn you a reply or a sale; HOWEVER, this will earn you the right to have the person read the rest of your message and to know that there is a person on the other end, and not just a robot. 

(We have actually written an entire article about connection request message templates. If you need some inspiration or ideas, have a look. )

2. Relevance

WHY are you reaching out to the prospect specifically

What is it about the prospect that prompted you to reach out to them? What was it about their job, profile, and company that made you think they would be a qualified lead? 

If you continue down the path of the perfect cold message you need to give the prospect context about why you are contacting them. The important trick though is to not sound salesy. 

This is the biggest mistake that salespeople make. Once they receive a reply, they immediately hop into their sales pitch. All they talk about is “me, me, me, me, me” and this shuts people off.  This is the wrong way to Linkedin cold message

Therefore by telling them why you’re reaching out to them specifically it helps them to see that you are not a spammer and that your message is not just a random bulk cold message that was sent out. 

(On a side note: Thanks to Linkedin the amount of spam that is being sent around is drastically being reduced. The reason for this is that Linkedin’s new policies only allow people to send out 100-133 invites a week. This cuts down on spam.)

3. Value

The last thing that you want to do is start your message as a sales pitch. You don’t want to say something like: “Id love to show you a new product that we are working on”. If you do, this could put your prospect off a meeting with you.  

You need to offer them value. 

So instead of jumping into a sales pitch rather say something like:

“I’d love to get your feedback on a product we are working on.”


“I’d love to have your opinion on XYZ.”


“I’d like to hear about what you have been working on.”

This will add value when asking for a call or meeting. The more you make it about the prospect, the better. (We believe in the 90/10 approach. This means talking about the prospect 90% of the time and only 10% about yourself for context.)

What’s important is for the prospect to know that it is not a sales call because people don’t agree to that. In this value, explain what you want to speak about or how you can offer them follow. 

You could do this by saying the following:

  • “I’m working on something that very much relevant to yourself.”
  • “Is there any people that I could introduce you to?”
  • “I’m interested in learning about what you’re working on, this is what Im working to solve xyz.”

It’s important to be subtle and not sell yourself. Think of how you could offer the prospect value, how you could solve their pain points; Remember to not be pushy but rather give them a snippet of what the call will be about. 

If you can get this right, then you can be sure of higher lead rates. 

4. Action

A Linkedin cold message does nothing if you don’t call it into action. At SalesBread we believe that the appropriate call to action is always a phone call. The sooner you can take things offline, the faster the sales process will go. 

Many people are on Linkedin to have their careers furthered, to connect with people who can help them get ahead in business. The sad thing is that many messages lack a decent call to action. Meaning that you are going to miss out.

If you lack confidence in your messages or passion about what you are selling, people are not going to be interested in what you have to offer. 

You need to believe in what you are saying. It’s important to believe that your conversation can add value to someone’s life, this will give you the confidence to ask for that phone call

Here are some ways to ask for a meeting:

  1. Are you available for a 20-minute chat on [MONTH] [DAY] at [HOUR] [TIMEZONE]
  2. How about a quick 30 min call next {{=day}} at 4 pm [TIMEZONE] to discuss more?
  3. What will it take to get 25 minutes on your calendar next week?
  4. Can I steal you away for a 15-minute phone call tomorrow at 5 pm [TIMEZONE]? 
  5. Let’s catch up for 15 mins. Just select any date and time on my calendar link.
  6. Please choose a date and time of your choice using this link.

5. Follow Up

Here is an interesting stat that we found with a recent campaign that included 433 people. We saw that 15% of people replied to the first messages, but 22% replied in equal numbers to the second and third touch. 

This shows that follow-up messages are really important. The replies increased after the second and third follow-up

SalesBread recommends following up 3 times. 

So this would be:

  • The connection request invite
  • First, follow up
  • Second, follow up
  • Third, follow up

Does this really work?

At SalesBread, all of our campaigns have a reply rate of over 20%. If you follow this outline and add personalization, this is what you should expect as well. 

20-50% reply rates are standard at SalesBread. This is how we get 1 lead a day. 

So to answer your question, YES, this formula does work. 

What mistakes should you avoid? 

  • Don’t be salesy / Have you ever had a salesperson go on and on and on? And not take no for an answer? How did it make you feel? I know that this frustrates me personally. Instead, follow the tips above. 
  • Don’t send these messages without personalization; otherwise, your wasting your time.
  • Avoid wordy messages, but rather make it short and to the point. (People don’t have time to read essays)
  • Don’t apologize for messaging the prospect. Be confident; remember Linkedin is a professional network, so if you’re messaging the prospect in a professional capacity, you have every right to offer them something valuable.

A short recap:

So what is the anatomy of a perfect Linkedin cold message?

  1. Add personalization
  2. Add relevance
  3. Add value
  4. Use a call to action
  5. Follow-up

There you have it…

By following the above tips and tricks, you should receive a higher response rate

This is the exact same formula that we use to generate 1 lead a day for all of our clients. 

If you would like to schedule a free 15min consultation, fill out the form below, and let’s talk about how we can help you find qualified leads for your business. 

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