Outcome-Based Social Selling: 2 Types Of LinkedIn Messaging

Credit: Forbidden Planet 1956

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Not all LinkedIn messaging is created equal. There is one type primarily used for networking while the other is used for sales conversation. Let’s explore the differences of each.


As a child, I found myself raised by my 3 older siblings since my parents had to do the adult thing of supporting us. Their work meant boisterous nights for us while they were out and quiet days while they slept off several hours of labor.


So, I spent a lot of time being driven around by an older brother and older sisters who would rather be doing anything else.


During one of these rides in my brother’s new car, a blood red Infiniti sedan sold to him by one of those nefarious guys later seen on eyewitness news weeks later, my brother had instituted one of his random in-car mandates.


My brother was an interesting young man, someone who enjoyed being the life of the party–he was the funniest person I knew and a man of obvious style and sophistication. After all, he drove the car with the wind-up clock in the dash.


He regularly  expressed grand ideas of science, the arts, and exceptionalism. Yet there was a deep pain beneath the surface, rage at the core that often presented, more softened, as judgement.


And when I didn’t or wouldn’t participate in one of his random in-car activities, in this case, an impromptu dance party while my little sister and I sat in the car, I faced the consequences. I was loudly ejected from the car into a strange neighborhood, abandoned as he drove off. 


I remember feeling terrified at the prospect of being picked up by a stranger or walking in any neighborhood that wasn’t mine. So, I figure I was 7.


When I set myself to walking, having made it  to an unfamiliar stop sign, I wished for the life of me that I had paid more attention in regards to the roads we’d taken and the way home.


Directions and going the right way would never mean as much to me as they did during that episode. Years later, I would remember getting lost in the woods being more comfortable.


Outcome-Based Social Selling: 2 Types Of LinkedIn Messaging


The biggest problem with going the wrong way, or zig-ing when you should have zagged, is the prospect of wasted resources. Because movement costs regardless of the way we go.


A big problem people face when using LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation or social selling is that it’s easy to get turned around and there are a mess of things you can get distracted by. The secret here is to determine the outcome you are looking for beforehand and work backwards from there.


There are really 2 major goals people  seek to achieve using LinkedIn:

  1. Building their network for future opportunities
  2. Expanding their business


These 2 types of focus lead us to the 2 kinds of LinkedIn messaging types (and psychological points of leverage): Network or Sales. While I  recommend you choose 1 path for each contact, I’m confident a savvy social seller could make network messaging ultimately benefit sales.


Network messaging (primarily for building relationships)


Network messaging is when you are sending messages for the purposes of networking or making new business contacts. The goal for a person using this messaging style might be to ultimately sit down and chat with this new contact in-person, for coffee, or on the phone.


It requires a series of steps, these include the

1) Connection message

2) Initial question

3) Little ask

4) Set up of the appointment


People receiving network messaging WILL NOT receive a direct sales pitch from you.


Here’s what it might look like:

Message 1:

Hi Jonathan! I’d just connected with Allie and Chris (2 out of 4 of our mutual contacts) when I noticed your profile and that you’re also a marketer and entrepreneur in the Denver area. I just moved here from down South and am looking to build new connections. Hope to connect on LI. -J.M.S.L.


Message 2:

Jonathan. Thanks for connecting. Good to connect with a fellow marketer. A bit about me: I’ve just driven into the area from Orlando with a bit of marketing under my belt but am unsure how to best help  marketing leaders in the area. That’s why I’m glad to chat with a seasoned pro like yourself. Would it be alright to ask you a few questions? Thanks, Jean-Marc


Message 3:

Thanks for being helpful Jonathan. I think I could learn a lot from your experience. And typically when I find someone like that, whether a business mentor or fellow marketer, I invite them out to quick coffee or a phone call. 

Would you be open to grab a quick coffee or phone call?

And hopefully I could share some insights I’ve learned from marketing leaders like yourself. It would be really helpful Thanks, Jean-Marc


Sales Messaging (Primarily For Getting Sales Calls)


If you are focused on making sales pitches and setting up sales calls then sales messaging is for you. This messaging might also be used to get registrants for a webinar or event.


Sales messaging is the simplest of the 2 kinds of LinkedIn messaging types.


Sales messaging only requires the following steps:

1) Connection message

2) Pitch message


People receiving sales messaging WILL receive a direct sales pitch from you.


While network and sales messaging are going to have different goals,  they both require a connection message.

How To Do LinkedIn Connection Messaging

Basic Outline

Hi [First Name]! [Who you’re connected with and why] I noticed your profile: you’re a fellow [points of familiarity]. [Share why you’re connecting]. Hope to connect on LinkedIn.

-[Your name]

Here’s an Example

Hi Dimitri! I’d just connected with Mary S. and Tom W. (2 of our 12 mutual contacts) when I noticed your profile: you’re a fellow marketer and entrepreneur in Denver. I’m new here from the Southeast and looking to build new connections. Hope to connect on LinkedIn.

-Jean-Marc Saint Laurent