With it becoming easier than ever to quickly identify and engage your ideal prospects on LinkedIn, a critical component is knowing what to send those professionals in order to turn new connections into paying customers.

What follows is a word-for-word script you can use to instantly appeal to and engage with your top prospects on LinkedIn. It includes everything from breaking the ice with a quick personal touch to moving your prospect into your sales funnel as quickly as possible.

Before we get to the actual script, however, let's first start with some strategy.

The Big Mistake Marketers Make With LinkedIn

No matter what type of product or service you want to sell on LinkedIn, you must follow some specific steps in order to win business on the network.

The first - and most important - step is this: You cannot rush the sale.

If you insist on hammering people you just met with requests for phone time, generic sales pitches or a one-sided dissertation about you and your services or products, you'll lose the sale before the process even starts.

Dale Carnegie, one of the most successful and influential business authors of all time, said it best: "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."

Prospects - Get To Know 'Em

This is where you must start - by taking a few precious seconds to learn about your prospects.

Where do they live? Where did they go to school? What are their hobbies or interests outside of work?

That type of information is readily available on most LinkedIn profile pages, and it becomes a quick and easy ice breaker to ask your new connection or prospect about.

I'm not saying you have to spend hours becoming everyone's BFF on LinkedIn, but you do need to do a little professional courtship.

The Fill-in-the-blank Script to Warm Up Prospects on LinkedIn

With that in mind, here's a fill-in-the-blank script you can send each new prospect or connection you come across on LinkedIn. In the example below, I'll use where the prospect lives, which you can easily find via his or her profile page, as an ice breaker.

"Hi [NAME] - so excited to connect!

Hey, I noticed you live in [Location] - [Add a comment/question about the weather there, or what that location is known for or something about current events in that place, etc.]

Also, I noticed you are in [type of job/industry they work in].

Curious what your biggest needs/challenges are right now professionally. If you have a minute, tell me more about what you're up to so I can better understand how I can hopefully send some business your way at some point! :)

Very quickly about me: I help [My Target Audience] achieve [Their Goal] by providing [My product or service].

Excited to learn more about who you are, what you're up to professionally and how I can help you out moving forward.

Also, don't forget to tell me your thoughts on [What You Asked About Their Location] too! :)

Cheers,

[Your Name]

[Your Contact info]"

It can be that simple - you just fill in the blanks and watch the conversations take off!

Notice how I start and finish the script above by asking a personal question. This is key! What I've discovered is that if you ask someone a personal question, and do it in a friendly tone/style, they will feel socially obligated/compelled to respond and write you back.

Also, if it's a question about something of keen interest to that person (where they live, where they went to college, what their favorite sports team is, etc.) they will be excited to respond and tell you more.

Once this happens, you start to build a rapport with your new connection around a non-work item (where they live, a comment about their college, hobbies, etc.) that you can come back to time and again as a way to stay in front of him or her without pitching or selling every time you send a note on LinkedIn.

In addition, you make yourself more memorable, personable and likable, because you're getting your prospect talking about his or her favorite subject - themselves!

The First Step in the Sales Funnel

Keep in mind, this is just the first message you want to send to a prospect.

Where the conversation goes after that all depends on what type of response a prospect gives you, and how aggressive you want to be in moving someone further into your sales funnel.

As I outlined in a previous post, it's always a good idea to ask that person what he or she is looking for help with professionally, and then give him or her free tips, advice or resources to help solve some of those problems.

Doing so builds up goodwill, demonstrates you know your stuff and makes prospects excited to hear more from you in the future.

In terms of giving value first, I even go so far as to offer every new connection I make a free copy of my bestselling book.

The more up front value you give and the more personal you can be in your 1-on-1 interactions with prospects on LinkedIn, the more goodwill, trust and sales you're going to see as a result.

Start with the fill-in-the-blank script included in this post, and let me know how things go for you moving forward!