5 Common LinkedIn outreach mistakes

Let’s face it, one of the few places where cold outreach is going strong is LinkedIn. It’s a business platform designed to put you in touch with your closest partners, your ideal clients and even your fiercest rivals, and it’s designed to stimulate and encourage business.

And things are only looking up for LinkedIn. Back in September, when our company transitioned over to LinkedIn for our main service offering, we were among the precious few giving LinkedIn cold outreach the majority of our attention. In the few months since, we’ve seen this space grow ever more popular, and the rate of growth for these outreaches is increasing.

Therefore, I think this is the perfect time to talk about the Dos and Don’ts of running a successful LinkedIn campaign. And today I’m going to focus on a handful of the most common mistakes people make when reaching out on LinkedIn.

Before we start, a quick note: I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Unlike physics, our industry is ever-changing, and the best ideas come when the most heads start thinking of them.

Without further ado, here they are, the 5 most common mistakes made when reaching out to strangers on LinkedIn:

1. Leading too strong.

Whenever you get an overly enthusiastic message from a stranger where they immediately start talking about their product, their message, their company, their their their…. Isn’t your first reaction “ugh, not this again“? Most people react this way.

LinkedIn is a service for business, but it’s a social platform first and foremost. Getting in touch with people just to lead with a strong sales pitch is a surefire way to get their guard up and make prospects less receptive to your message.

The better approach here is to build a rapport with your prospects first. Get to know them first, and in doing so you might realise what type of sales pitch would work best.

2. Not following up strong enough.

This is the opposite approach, but equally as wrong as leading too strong. If you reach out to your prospects and make small talk in order to build a rapport – but miss your window to actually start pitching to them – you’re stuck in the business friendzone.

If you’re already connected with someone and you’re past that initial discovery conversation and they still don’t know what you do and how you can help them, it’s probably too late to deliver that killer sales pitch that never fails to bring people on board.

The better approach here is to make sure your goal remains getting them on board, otherwise you’re going to have a lot of friends and not too many clients.

3. Being too pushy.

A couple of back to back messages without a reply from the other person isn’t that critical. But if you see conversations being 1-way to the point that your chats read like a monologue, you’re probably doing more harm than good by contacting a prospect.

LinkedIn is prone to people ghosting their conversation partners. It’s something that we haven’t seen with any other cold outreach platforms (think cold email), but it’s something that can be overcome with the right tactic.

The better approach here is to know when to disconnect. If your prospect isn’t replying back to your messages, don’t keep filling their inboxes. Instead, send them a polite message (a link to your calendar here works great) and follow up with something of value to them – a great post or resource – in a few weeks.

4. Reaching out to the wrong crowd

This is fairly obvious, but important nonetheless. If the people you’re reaching out to aren’t giving you the time of day, or if your conversations seem to fall flat – take a closer look at who you’re targeting!

Is it the right types of companies? Are they big enough, or small enough, to be in your ideal target market? Are you reaching out to the right people? Do the prospects you’re contacting often break away from the conversation, needing to confer with a client?

Ask yourself all these questions when looking closely at your target. Chances are, even if you aren’t contacting the wrong crowd, there’s a better one out there.

The better approach here is to A/B test a lot. Keep track of your progress and find small tweaks you can make on a regular basis.

5. Dragging a conversation along on LinkedIn

This last common mistake is something we’ve only caught after a few months of testing out our process, before we even started to offer it to our clients: conversations on LinkedIn would end up nowhere, despite starting off with high interest on the part of the prospects.

So what’s happening?

LinkedIn is a great place to discover and connect with people. But the truth is it’s not a great place to make sales. In the thousands of conversations we’ve overseen, we’ve seen the majority of those who stayed on LinkedIn fall flat at some point in the chat. This is because people don’t actually like to talk on LinkedIn, and higher priorities are bound to pop up in their schedules.

The better approach here is to get prospects out of LinkedIn as early as possible. Ask them to get on a call, move the conversation over to email or call them – all these options work better than LinkedIn once you’re connected with someone.


LinkedIn has been a behemoth of a social platform for years now, and all signs point to it only growing in strength in the years to come. Selling on LinkedIn is a growing practice, and it’s starting to require a bit of manoeuvring in order to produce expected results. Hopefully, now that you know the most common mistakes we saw you’ll be able to overcome them with ease.

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