If you’re in the B2B world, or even just smart enough to have a professional looking profile on LinkedIn, you know the drill:
Building your LinkedIn network requires sending out those little requests to connect.
But if you’re just starting to really try and build your network, you may find it’s a little more difficult to expand your network than you’d anticipated. You request to connect with just about anyone who looks remotely like they’d be a worthwhile connection – yet hardly anyone seems to accept.
buy generic propecia 5mg Your Connection Request is Bad and You Should Feel Bad
If you’re trying to connect with someone who’s met you before, particularly someone who knows you well in person, you don’t necessarily need to put any effort into the connection request. They probably will recognize you, or at least your name, and accept you for that reason.
What about the people you met once at a conference?
Or the people you’re trying to connect with because they might be a connection to a job? Or a prospective client?
You need to remind them who you are, why they should connect with you, and reassure them that you’re not someone who’s going to spam or scam them.
And you need to do this in about two sentences, which is all that the message with the connection request will allow you.
order Keppra without prescription Wait…What message with the connection request?
If you didn’t already know about the whole “send a message with your connection request” thing, you’re behind the game.
For anyone who doesn’t know you personally, and know you well enough that they would know your name if they saw you in person, you should be sending a connection request that includes a message. While the person you’re trying to connect with can probably visit your profile and figure out how they know you, by requiring where can i buy generic propecia them to take that extra step, you’re decreasing how likely it is that they will – or that they’ll accept your request.
As with any action you want someone to take, you need to make it as simple as possible for them.
I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, though – what, exactly, is this message with the connection request I’m talking about?
When you visit someone’s profile and request a connection there, you’re able to select how you know the person, as well as include a message with that request.
You can only send a connection request this way if you know the person as a friend, you’ve worked with them in the past, or can list their email address. LinkedIn does this to attempt to minimize the amount of spam requests people get, and to a certain extent, it sort of works.
However…there’s an easy way around that pesky requirement of actually having to know someone to connect with them.
Just select the option of “I’m friends with this person”, and viola, you can send a connection request.
Alternatives include selecting that you worked with someone before, but I prefer the friend option, as then it won’t say that the person worked with me somewhere that they didn’t.
LinkedIn with automatically populate the message you send with that request, too. This is where many people go wrong.
If you’ve met the person face to face before, mention that in your connection request.
If you’ve been following them for a while and enjoy their content, mention that in your connection request.
Generally, try to send requests to people you genuinely want to connect with – none of that LION crap (Linked In Open Networker, if you haven’t seen that acronym before). More on how the whole LION thing is a load of hooey in the next section.
Don’t send your connection request through the search bar, or the suggested connections tab, as you really should try and include a message with each request. This message is a reminder of who you are, how great you are, and why you’re worth connecting with. Leaving the message as an automatic sentence from LinkedIn is lazy, and comes off as such, particularly to people who get tons of those requests a day.
Some examples of great connection requests I’ve received:
We’ve been connected on Twitter for a while and I LOVE your tweets, very informative. I would really appreciate if we could connect here as well. Hope you have a great day!”
This is perfect – she indicates that we’ve been connected elsewhere, she actually reads my content, and she threw in some flattery that wasn’t too over the top. How could I not accept such a nice request for a connection?
“Dear Ms. Jennifer,
My name is [name]. I am a marketing student at CSUSM. During Consumer Behavior class, my professor assigned a LinkedIn project to search for highly successful people who have attended CSUSM. I am wondering if we can connect on LinkedIn.”
While I’m not sure I’d call myself “highly successful” quite yet, it’s a sweet message and again, flattering. He explained how he found me, why he was searching, and wanted to connect – I’m happy to connect and network with other marketers, so I accepted his request.
There’s a few things that both message requests did well:
- Both requests noted how they found me (Twitter, or through LinkedIn search).
- They’re clearly personally written and not just a copy/pasted generic message.
- They’re flattering without going overboard.
- I didn’t show this part, but both of them had well fleshed out LinkedIn profiles that looked professional.
- Their messages had correct spelling and grammar.
Having to write personalized messages to connect with people on LinkedIn does take time, but that’s kind of the point.
LinkedIn isn’t about “spray and pray” type networking – it’s a professional network that people use for professional purposes. Chances are the decision makers, influencers, the people who will buy what you’re selling, those people all get connection requests regularly. This is especially true of people who work at larger companies that are prime targets for many B2B businesses.
You stand out from the crowd by simply spending the time to actually show you’re someone worth connecting with. You pay attention, you read, you comment on things – if you’re a member of same group or groups as your prospect, commenting on group discussions is a great way to show that you’re not just going to connect with them and then pitch them on something they don’t care about.
Your connection message is the first step of establishing a relationship with the person. Don’t blow it!
Why the whole LION thing is stupid:
LIONs, to recap, are those who call themselves “LinkedIn Open Networkers”. That means they’ll connect with anybody.
I rarely see a personalized connection request from a LION, and equally as rarely do they ever have a network of carefully curated folks that provide insight, value, or are genuinely potential prospects for the person.
By all means, try to grow your network by connecting with as many people as possible that are thought leaders or influencers in your industry.
But if you’re in telecom, do you really need or want to connect with solopreneurs? Or life coaches? Or web developers?
You probably want to connect with managers or above in finance, IT, or HR. You’ll want to connect with people who work at companies large enough to need their telecom expenses managed. Or, you’ll want to connect with others in the telecom industry, to see what the latest trends are.
That’s the difference between a LION and a thoughtful networker.
A LION connects with everybody – and quickly builds a large network of connections that may or may not care what they have to say or sell.
A thoughtful networker has a carefully curated network of people they can tap if they need to job hunt, or learn about news in their industry, or approach if they see someone asking about a problem that their company solves.
What’s the point of having 1,000 connections if only 10 of them know you, care what you have to say, and might buy from you?
If you have 300 connections, and 100 of those are potential prospects, you’re way ahead of the LION person.
Don’t screw it up afterwards:
The worst thing you can do once you connect with a potential prospect is immediately message them with your sales pitch.
I will actively go to your profile and remove you as a connection because I find this practice so irritating. Folks less cranky about this will simply look at your message and ignore you completely. Not just this first message you send – but likely any messages you send afterwards.
This is because no one wants to connect with someone and immediately be sold to.
Would you immediately start selling to someone that a friend introduces you to? No? Why not?
Because it’s rude, that’s why. Or, if you don’t care about that, probably because you know you need to establish a baseline relationship of some kind before you can attempt to sell to someone.
This is the case online as well.
Just because you can connect with more people with less effort doesn’t mean you should treat all of your prospects like identical commissions on a conveyor belt to your payday.
Be a little creepy instead:
Once you’re connected with someone, go check out their latest activities. Are they active in groups? Pulse articles? What do they seem to find interesting?
If they’re active in groups, check out the conversations they join in, and join in yourself if you have something helpful to say.
Take note of the types of content they hit that “like” button for, and try sharing some similar content yourself.
Wait until you see an opening, some indication that they might be interested in what you have to offer – liking an article about similar services, asking a question in a group, sharing posts that indicate they’ve got the problem you can solve on their mind.
That’s when you message them a quick little note saying hey, you have expertise in this area, you thought you’d reach out and see if they have any questions you could help with.
Notice that the focus here is on them – not you selling to them.
Being helpful before you start applying sales tactics is the best way to get to a point where people are willing to buy from you at all.
This is especially the case on social media, where people go to connect with people, not necessarily businesses. LinkedIn is a bit of an exception to the general rule of “don’t push your business too hard”, in that it’s professional network – it’s to be expected that you’re there for work.
However, because it’s still a network of personal connections, you still need to be cognizant that you’re professionally intruding on someone’s personal space.
So be polite, be relevant, and be helpful.
You’ll find that when someone is ready to buy, they’ll find you.
So all that effort for a personalized message and I can’t even try and sell to them?
No, you can try and sell to your connections.
It’ll just work better if you treat them like people, not commodities or a collection of commissions.
It does take more time to send personalized connection requests, but that’s kind of the point. You need to look for people that are genuinely potential prospects, or thought leaders worth connecting with. You need to be sure you’re connecting with people who are worth your time, and vice versa.
It’ll take a bit longer to develop a large network, but the network you do develop will be worth far more than a bunch of connections you can’t really do anything with.