As salespeople, we are always interested in growing our networks, and LinkedIn is the ideal platform for that. On LinkedIn you can find just about anybody that might be a prospect, partner, or maybe even just a good person to know in your industry. So how do we go about getting people to accept our invitations to connect on LinkedIn? Being able to connect with the right people on LinkedIn is an important skill that you absolutely need to know.
Using myself as an example, I have 267 outstanding invitations to connect on LinkedIn. The primary reasons I have not accepted these requests is that I don't know who these people are and I don't know why they want to connect with me. LinkedIn warns you that should only connect with people you know, because others may ask you about your connections, you’ll get updates on their activity and these new connections will have access to people that you know. Due to LinkedIn’s warning, I want to be mindful of whom I connect with.
I'm not the only person that thinks this way. So how can one get past these barriers to add new connections on LinkedIn? Here are a few tips for doing just that.
First, look at that person's profile carefully and identify things that you may have in common.
Second, think for a moment about how you found this person. Consider why you want to connect with them and be clear about your motivation. If your intent is to pitch them, consider just sending them InMail instead of asking to be a LinkedIn connection right off the bat. If you are intent on inviting this person to be a connection of yours on LinkedIn, then write your invitation to connect email carefully.
1. Start by going to this person’s full profile page and click on the “Connect” button from there. Do not do it from the “People you may know” or “Who has viewed your profile” sections. The reason you want to do it from the full profile page is that when you start here, you get the opportunity to write a custom request to connect. From any other spot, a vanilla “I’d like to connect with you,” note gets sent and this prevents you from putting context and personal touch around the invitation.
2. Write a custom invitation to connect email. Here are some things you can mention:
3. Keep the invitation to connect short and to the point. You are limited to just 300 characters, so make them count.
Here’s an example of a LinkedIn request to connect that I just sent:
A few notes on the invitation to connect above. You’ll notice that I mentioned someone we knew in common. I alluded to our organizations working together. I had a call to action. I will need to follow up later to set up that call, but at least I’m setting the stage. For more tips on using LinkedIn, check out this post: 14 LinkedIn Tips for Salespeople to Use Each Day.
The benefits of building up your network on LinkedIn are vast, so I encourage you to do it but please do it mindfully. This will serve you in the long run by making your outreaches more successful and thereby more efficient.
And if you're one of the 267 people who've invited me to connect on LinkedIn without explaining why it is that you want to connect with me, please feel free to give it another shot!
Alice Myerhoff is author of the e-book “Social Media for Salespeople: A Step-by-Step Guide to Increasing your Leads and Sales” and a business development/sales/marketing/management executive with over 18 years of experience in industries ranging from online games, educational technology and Social business to online news media, real estate & mortgage. She is currently heading up Sales at EdSurge, and has worked at Electronic Arts, Inman News, Pivot Conference, Philips Professional Publishing, Countrywide, Princeton Capital, and the Tomorrow Project. Her party trick is being able to count to 10 in 6 languages and she is fluent in German and French. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter: @motodot