How Sales Pros Can Incorporate LinkedIn's Active Status into Their Prospecting Outreach

January 25, 2018

Introducing Active Status

To reach out or not to reach out? That’s the question you ask multiple times each day. Whether you’re prospecting or nurturing relationships with existing customers, timing your outreach is a critical part of the formula. Send an email and you have no idea whether the recipient is looking at the inbox or otherwise engaged. Heck, you don’t even know if they’re on their computer or mobile phone at all.

The new LinkedIn Active Status feature can help in the critical areas of timing and context, showing which of your network connections are active on LinkedIn. As more buyers and sellers use this feature, we’re sure to learn interesting ways to start real-time conversations with connections. For now, here are the basics every sales pro should know about Active Status:

Understand Active Status in Context

The next time you’re viewing a connection’s profile on LinkedIn and see a green status dot next to their profile photo, it means that person is currently on LinkedIn and active on their desktop. It’s also a good bet they’re in the office, making it a good time for you to reach out. Send a message and your contact will be notified instantly.

If you see a green status dot with a white circle in the middle, your connection is not actively using LinkedIn but will be notified on their mobile device if you send a message.

You’ll also see these active status indicators in the messaging box in the bottom right-hand corner of LinkedIn. Click on the messaging box, and the window will open up to show all LinkedIn connections with which you've recently communicated and whether they're online, recieving messages, or inactive. When you send your currently-active connections a message, that same window will pop up, so they instantly see it.

Manage Your Own Status

By default, the Active Status feature is on. But if you’re busy and don’t want to be interrupted, you simply go to your settings to manage your active status. Alternatively, you can leave active status on, while limiting who can and can’t see when you’re available.

Just keep in mind that when your active status is off, you can’t see the status of your LinkedIn connections. As a sales pro looking to connect, it’s probably in your best interest to leave your active status on at all times.

Know When to Reach Out

Sending a message when someone is active on LinkedIn greatly boosts the likelihood that you will get a response, because it puts you in "live chat mode." In fact, some companies have seen their one-minute reply-rates rise by 10% and their five-minute reply-rates rise by ~9%.   

Still, reaching out to an active connection on LinkedIn doesn’t guarantee a response. The key is to not abuse this feature – the same outreach best practices still apply. To figure out whether or not it’s okay to initiate a live chat, answer these questions:

1. How well do I know this person? Chat is a more informal conversation tool than other options, like email. With that in mind, it may be best to reserve chat for engaging established connections vs. brand-new prospects.

2. What is the context of the interaction? Make sure you have a valid business reason for reaching out. In other words, are you focused on your agenda or are you truly interested in being helpful? Here are legitimate reasons for reaching out:

  • The connection just took an action on LinkedIn that sparked a question or idea in your mind.
  • You saw something about the prospect or their company on LinkedIn (or another channel) that warrants a conversation.
  • You recently published or noticed an insight that you feel the prospect would like to know about.

On the other hand, pushing a prospect to see a demo or to share their purchase timeline might come across as too salesy to merit a chat.

  • Can it wait? The beauty of live chat is that it’s real-time, so it’s valuable for connecting in the moment about a timely event or idea. But no one likes to be interrupted during their workday by something that can wait. Decide whether time is of the essence or if your message will be just as well served if sent through InMail or email.

Make it Worthwhile

It should go without saying that your message should include something of interest to your connection. That might be a link to a recently published post or an article or report you came across. You can even include images and attachments in your messages, but that doesn’t mean you should.

Think about the types of chat messages you respond to and the type that you find annoying. Chances are that your prospect views chat the same way.

Before you send a message, ask yourself whether your connection will be grateful that you initiated the conversation. If you’re not sure, hold off until you can be sure to reach out with value.

As a growing number of professionals engage in short-form conversations, knowing whether or not your connections are active on LinkedIn makes it easier to know when to reach out and to do so with context. Use the Active Status feature well, and you’ll be engaging in lightweight conversations that help you drive even more interactions.

For more ideas on using LinkedIn to improve your sales results, download our eBook, Proven Strategies From the World’s Top Sales Professionals.