cold connection linkedin header

How to Convert Your LinkedIn Connections to Leads in 3 steps

18 May 2020

We can’t connect, okay?

And no, I won’t subject myself to the torture of reading the self-promotional InMail you’ve sent ready to spring at me like a coiled snake-in-a-box🙏.”

Let’s be honest, you’ve thought the above after being “expertly pitched” (cough cough) on LinkedIn, haven’t you? 

With over 660 million global users, LinkedIn has become an indispensable goldmine for making connections and generating leads.

And according to HubSpot, LinkedIn is 277 percent more effective than Facebook and Twitter at converting visitors to leads. 

5000 marketers also raised their hands to call it one of the most effective social media channels

Unfortunately, the platform’s rise in popularity seems to come with a cost — spammy sales messages that put the “C” in Cringe and fail to convert...

I’ve witnessed my fair share of spammy and sales-y messages. Like you, I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end. 

And I’m also privy to how effective they are at converting connections into leads (hint: they suck 🙊). 

That’s why in today’s post I’ll show you (1) how to turn cold LinkedIn connections into closed deals, and (2) how to use Leadfeeder to empower your LinkedIn outreach. 

Note: Want to get a head start on targeting the right audience on LinkedIn? Use You can try Leadfeeder free for 14 days here to see what companies visiting your site—and target others just like them.

Warm-up LinkedIn connection requests (the non-stalky way) 

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” 


I’d like Chipotle to award me with a free lifetime burrito pass… that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, does it? 

You’ve probably lost count of the default invitation requests you’ve received on LinkedIn. 

Friendly reminder: Don’t use them. Please.  

They’re boring, bland, and turn-off prospects to the point of nullifying outreach efforts before they begin. 

You also want to avoid the common invitation mistakes most users make. These include: 

  • Diving straight into a conversation about products, offers, or promotions. 

  • Overly selfish talk about themselves or their business.  

  • Claiming they’ve viewed a lead’s profile or content when they haven’t.

Will you talk about yourself and your offer at some point, anyway?

Yes, and — if you’re looking to make the sale — you should. 

However, this comes later, after basic rapport has been built. To break the ice and deliver a warm invitation to leads that gets accepted: 

  • Start with research. It takes minutes to actually scope out their profile, website, or relevant work that you can use in your outreach. There’s literally no excuse for not doing this. You’re on LinkedIn, after all… a place where professionals peacock their portfolios and achievements. 

  • Ask a relevant question to trigger curiosity. The more relatable it is to their field and day-to-day work, the better. 

  • Offer genuine praise. Check out their LinkedIn profile and pay attention to their portfolio and the language they use, then take time to form a sincere compliment. 

If you really want to knock it out the park, combine all three points above before you hit “send now”. Here’s an example:

cold connection linkedin message

Following these steps not only make your request more visible and relatable, but it also explains why you’re connecting. 

This is psychologically proven to boost the chance of a favorable response. 

Capitalize on “cool” LinkedIn connections with tactical tags 

In college, rubbing shoulders with the “in” crowd grants you undeniable perks (apart from feeling glacial levels of coolness). People pay attention to you, invite you to parties, and your average request magically receives more “yeses” than “nos”. 

While getting invitations to raving parties from LinkedIn might be a stretch, getting linked with the “in” crowd isn’t (sorry, I couldn’t resist). 

Using the tag function, you can rub shoulders with authorities and leads in your industry.Tagging high-value connections exposes your profile to a web of different users.

cold connection linkedin alistair cox

Not only do you “borrow reputation” through affiliation, but you also increase the chance of leads connecting with you, or at the very least becoming familiar with who you are. 

A caveat: while this is an effective tactic, it should always deliver some kind of benefit for the connections you’re tagging. Some common ways to do this are:

  • Pose quick round-up or authoritative opinion questions (a great way to target multiple high-value connections)

  • Congratulate a recent milestone or accomplishment 

  • Share something you learned from a connection

  • Praise their work or add a thoughtful comment

Pair LinkedIn Sales Navigator + Leadfeeder for super social selling 

Having LinkedIn Sales Navigator integrated within Leadfeeder reduces our workflow efforts and connects us with our prospects faster.” Julie Huval, Head of Marketing — Beck Technology

When used properly, LinkedIn Sales Navigator’s detailed data and access to leads empower social selling and outreach. 

If you’re following an account-based sales strategy, where meeting customers at different stages of the buying journey is a must, it’s an invaluable tool to have. 

This was the case for New Horizons, a leader in learning solutions. 

After cold calling stopped being an effective tactic for their sales team, they decided to fine-tune and add a social touch to their outreach. The results? 

Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, sales reps gained 1.7M worth of opportunities in 6 months, a 57% close rate, and $1M in revenue. 

In fact, social selling was so effective that it’s been carved into the conclusion of every sales rep’s daily routine.  

We’ve coined the term ‘Social Hour’ where reps spend from 4pm to 5pm every day identifying 10 leads on LinkedIn, spending 3 minutes on each profile to learn about the person and then reach out.” Tynan Fischer, COO, New Horizons

In the Leadfeeder app, one way to do this is to download a custom feed of visitors to your site (ideally for visitors to your product page) as a CSV. 

cold connections linkedin mikes feed

Then, upload the file into Linkedin’s match audiences platform. 


Now you can retarget those visitors to restart a conversation and send tailored sales messages. When these visitors return to your site, Leadfeeder will also let you know that they’ve come from your LinkedIn retargeting campaign.

Close deals with awesome connections

Oh yes, thanks for reaching out, let’s keep in touch.”

You’ve done your homework, haven’t you? Let’s continue the conversation” 

Can I guarantee you these responses? Not really.  However, I can confidently say that you’re far more likely to receive positive responses from LinkedIn connections by using the steps above. 

Because building relationships, borrowing reputation, and social retargeting warm contacts trumps spammy sales messages any day of the week!

Note: Want to get a head start on targeting the right audience on LinkedIn? Use You can try Leadfeeder free for 14 days here to see what companies visiting your site—and target others just like them.

Hassan Ud-deen
By Hassan Ud-deen

Hassan Ud-deen is a content marketer who is on a mission to help B2B/SaaS founders, executives, and teams develop powerful brand personalities through captivating content.

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