Prospecting Gold: How to Earn More Sales Referrals on LinkedIn

April 5, 2018

your best bet for racking up referrals on linkedin

In sales, logic says that you are better off securing a personal introduction to a prospect than trying to connect via cold outreach. But if you’re still not convinced, jump into your prospect’s shoes for a moment. Would you rather engage with someone who comes recommended by someone you trust, or a complete stranger?

There’s a reason why buyers are 5x more likely to engage with a sales professional when introduced through a mutual connection. Here’s how to boost your likelihood of landing valuable referrals month after month.

Use TeamLink to Surface Opportunities

The TeamLink function in Sales Navigator can make short work of “warm path” identification by helping you quickly identify who in your existing network is connected to a prospect. Anyone in your company using Sales Navigator will show up, greatly expanding your visibility of who’s connected to who. If someone is connected to a prospect’s account, you’ve immediately found a potential referral path.

Reverse-Engineer Warm Introductions

To further streamline the process of identifying paths to referrals, you can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to see your contacts’ most valuable connections before asking them for an introduction. In other words, you can reverse-engineer warm introductions.

In the profile of your LinkedIn network connections, you’ll see a box showing all their connections. Click on the “See all connections” link to see the full list. You can narrow that list by entering keywords or selecting from existing filters like title, seniority level, and company size.

Request a Referral the Right Way

A person’s LinkedIn connections are not a commodity; they are built on a foundation of trust and respect. Your colleagues don’t want to risk annoying or alienating these trusted connections, so give them good reason to make the referral.

Once you come across a match, send a friendly LinkedIn InMail message or email to your connection. In your message, justify your request by explaining why you want to connect with the prospect. In other words, outline the value you can offer.

Saying you are falling short on your quota for the month is not going to make the case for you. Instead of going with a self-serving approach, logically explain why it makes sense for your connection to make the introduction. If you can demonstrate how the prospect will potentially benefit by engaging with you, your connection is much more likely to give you the referral.

Minimize the Ask to Maximize Success

It’s more probable that your connections will make a referral if you can minimize the effort on their part. Make it easy for them to follow through and make the introduction by supplying them with a message template they can use in their outreach.

Here’s an example of what it would look like if you are David, your colleague is Amanda, and the person you want to meet is Erin.

David, meet Erin – a go-getter who has already accomplished amazing things in her short career.

Erin, meet David – he specializes in helping people in positions like yours achieve [insert relevant goal here]. I believe you will gain value from speaking with David about your goals and how he might be able to help you reach them.

I’ll let you two take it from here.



Even when asking for a referral from a customer or partner, make it easy for them. Identify the connection you’d like to make, respect the value of that connection to your customer or partner, and send them a message they can easily reuse when making the introduction.

Here’s an example of that. Again you are David, but the customer’s name is Brendan, and the person you want to meet is Sara.

Hi Sara,

Hope this message finds you well!

I’d like to introduce you to David of Better Process Consulting. His company made all the difference in a recent initiative to make our department more efficient. I believe your company could benefit from his services as well.

I’ll let you two take it from here.

All the best,


Once you are introduced, follow up right away. Aim for a warm, personalized message that clearly explains why you’re reaching out and the value you can offer. Highlight common ground if possible (such as a shared interest you noticed on LinkedIn), but stay on track with your message. Keep it friendly and brief, and close with a clear next step.

For more ways to prospect smarter, download our eBook, Read Me If You Want to Target the Right Prospects on LinkedIn.