QuickTipImageEarlier this week LinkedIn sent a notice to members about changes to the LinkedIn InMail policy. These changes will be effective January 1st 2015. It’s a pretty important one so I wanted to tell everyone in case you missed it.

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InMails can be a great way to prospect and reach out to people.

It’s safe.

I can send an InMail and be direct about asking for a meeting. I can get my whole thought process out, without being interrupted. I can put thought behind it. I have time to read through a person’s Profile, and find some common ground; an icebreaker.

When someone receives an InMail it goes into their LinkedIn inbox, but also notifies them by email. They can look at it right away, or wait and respond later. They can check out my Profile and Connections.

But what is really nice is that they can say yes or no in a safe way. InMail isn’t intimidating, for the sender or the receiver. You feel a little more free when you are able to talk through InMail. You aren’t put on the spot, the way you are on the phone.

When I worked for a large Healthcare company, and prospective vendors would call me, I would work as hard as I could to get off the phone, fast. I’m sure there may have been some good people on the other end of the phone, but because they started off with a “sales spiel” I didn’t really give them a chance.

When someone sends me an InMail, I have time to process the entire message before I have to reply. I can even hold on to it for a few days. Maybe I’m not the right person so I forward it on to who I think the right person is. Any number of things. But the key thing is, I can do it at my own pace. I don’t have to decide right now if I want to switch from cable to satellite.

The new policy for InMails encourages us all to be very thoughtful about the communication we’re sending out. Now, you will only get InMail credits for InMails that do get a response – even if that response is “Not interested.” What this really means is that LinkedIn is rewarding you for sending out an effective, response-inducing InMail.

So if you haven’t tried using InMails to prospect, try it! We have several clients that are having great success with it. I hope you do too.