How to write an effective InMail: 7 of my best templates

Time to read: 3 minutes. Frustrated with LinkedIn InMail prospecting? Emails going un-responded to? I recently discovered how to write an effective InMail. You know, messages that get response. I’ll share how to provoke potential buyers to reply—by writing in a specific way. This gives you a response and the chance to qualify them. Here’s the style technique and a few templates to get more response.

Forget about the appointment for a moment

I’m serious. When prospecting using email or InMail, do not ask for an appointment. Be careful. Don’t lose track of the more important, basic goal: Earning permission to start a dialogue. Especially if you’re selling something a potential buyer doesn’t know they need—yet. Or if you’re selling a service that requires a longer sales-cycle, consulting or education to “prime” the customer to buy.

It seems obvious. But in practice we often veer away from this goal. Sometimes within the first few sentences of the email! We say too much, too fast to the prospect… and push for a meeting the client might need; however, they’re not open to it. Yet.

This “big ask” gets in the way. Instead, ask for permission to just talk.

So here’s how to write the most effective InMail template for sales introductions. Actually, it’s more like a formula than cut-and-paste template. Will it work for you, in your setting? Yes. Because it’s built for flexibility.

I was inspired by Greg Ciotti when creating this approach.

Greg says, “If there is one thing that busy people value above all else, it’s brevity.”

The Killer B’s: Brief, blunt, basic

It’s a common sense, effective template: Being brief, blunt and basic. Yet few of us 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.

Why the 3 B’s Template Tactic Works

This approach provokes response because it:

  1. conforms to how people use email in today’s business environment; (fast, brief transactions)
  2. blends cold-call best practices with effective copywriting;
  3. stands out from average sales messages by avoiding negative mental triggers.

This style technique gives you an effective, repeatable way to get buyers:

  • Affirming (“Yes, I need to act on this”) or
  • Curious (“Can you tell me more about that?”)

By earning affirmation or provoking curiosity you earn response plus details about the prospect. Insights.

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. Provoke a discussion that may lead to a meeting… if it’s best.

Warning: Never Ask for an Appointment

The goal of email prospecting—whether it’s using LinkedIn InMail or standard email—is not to get a meeting.

Instead, provoke a potential buyer to ask, “Can you tell me more about that?” Get them curious.

When you begin by trying to get an appointment you are being rejected by 90% to 97% of perfectly good prospects. So says Sharon Drew Morgen, inventor of the Buying Facilitation method. And she’s got 20 years of experience to back up the statement.

Here’s the rub: Most buyers don’t know 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.

Don’t miss out on the appointment by asking for it too early! Get in the game first. This is a LinkedIn InMail best practice. This also works on standard email too.

The template style (before you press send)

If you’re not getting response, you’re probably not keeping it brief, blunt and basic. Use the below template style checklist. Make sure each email you draft passes the 3B’s test before you press send.

Be careful to not ask for too much, too fast. For example, refrain from:

  • flashing your customer list, positioning or qualifying yourself;
  • asking for a referral to the best contact;
  • using subject lines that can be answered with a yes or no;
  • writing more than 4-5 sentences in your ‘first touch’ message;
  • using the word “I” in your first sentence.

Don’t forget to:

  • ask for a conversation, not a meeting;
  • include a customized lead sentence—showing this is not typical cut-and-paste spam;
  • spark prospects’ curiosity about your ability to help relieve pain or reach goals faster.

Use words to provoke a, “Can you tell me more?” from a potential buyer. Use the chance to push on a pain—or surface an unknown fact the prospect needs to know about (before they can make an informed decision).

Remember: The goal is to provoke your decision-maker’s curiosity. This involves asking for permission to facilitate a conversation—not discuss need.

Questions about this technique? Interested in attending an online clinic where I improve your email message to earn more response? Join our community.

Good luck!

Photo credit: Sebastian Wiertz


cold emailing, copywriting, email, InMail, prospecting, sales, templates

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