LinkedIn is a great way to build connections with prospects, potential partners, or industry colleagues. So great, in fact, that each and every connection request should be given the attention it deserves!
What not to do
Let’s get the negative out of the way first. When I receive either of these two types of request, they are quickly ignored. Don’t do these.
- No introductory message at all. If I don’t already know you and you are asking to connect, I’d like to know a little bit about you. Why do you want to connect? Don’t leave it to me to assume why you want to connect because my assumption is that you only want my money.
- A template message like, “Hey David, I see we have connections in common. Let’s connect.” We have connections in common? Great! Which ones? Because what this message looks like is a form message you send to everyone where you include my first name to make me feel like it’s more personal. Please don’t hope to begin our relationship with manipulation.
What gets my interest
I have some terrific relationships with people who I first met on LinkedIn. No matter the purpose of the connection, whether sales, job hunting, or just general networking, the thing that gets my interest is honesty. If you tell me why you want to connect upfront, there is a good chance I’ll accept. Customized invitations are the way to deliver that honesty.
The great thing about a customized LinkedIn invitation is that it is limited to 300 characters. The shortness of the note allows you the opportunity to be concise in saying hello and stating the purpose of your connection.
For instance, if you’re selling something, a note that says, “Hi David. I see that your company offers Managed IT Services. Our tools help MSPs deliver higher quality and better service to your customers. Here is a link to how we do it, www.greattool.com. Can we connect?” This one is 209 characters. Short, sweet, and to the point.
If you’re job hunting, it may look like this. “Hi David. I’m an experienced, Level II technician who prides myself on delivering top-notch customer service. In looking over your profile and website, Strix looks like the kind of place where I could prove valuable and enjoy my work. Can we get together to discuss?” At 266 characters, you still have room to link your resume.
These invitations are honest in their approach. More importantly, they take the time to develop the relationship from the outset. The invitations are personal and show that you’ve taken a real interest in me.
LinkedIn is a wonderful place to develop new relationships. Getting the relationship started on the right foot can pay dividends for years. It’s easy to do so take the time and reap the rewards.