I have literally 70+ invitations to ‘connect’ on LinkedIn. They are all sitting there, waiting for me to do something. I don’t know any of these people who have asked me to connect. Each and everyone of these LinkedIn requests says exactly the same thing:
I would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn
It’s not exactly inspiring is it? That’s why they are all sitting there… waiting until I have a spare hour to go through and message each one to find out what has prompted them to connect.
Now contrast this request to connect that I received on LinkedIn last week
Apologies for the unsolicited email, and the ‘friend’ claim. I am a Business Development professional with 20 years experience of working in professional services firms. I am interested in sharing ideas with like minded people. Could I tempt you for a cup of coffee at all? Ta Martin
Unsurprisingly I accepted this request, and we are now arranging to meet. So, what made the difference here:
1) a personalised invite. This is so important, do not use the default option. Be aware that many apps and even LinkedIn itself may not allow you to personalise your invite. So, my suggestion is, you don’t send bulk invites or use any app to send invites to connect. Just send requests to connect from LinkedIn’s full site within your browser window.
2) honesty. The invite is open, honest and chatty. The invite has apologised for the unsolicited email and the friend claim. This shows a level of respect for my time.
3) hook. There is a reason why I should connect. I specialise in working with professional service firms. So I am always keen to meet people who can connect me to my target market. Martin has correctly surmised this.
4) action. There is a next step to the invite. it is suggesting coffee.
Next time you see LinkedIn suggesting that you connect with someone. Stop. Think about your invite to request. Are you just wanting an extra notch on the LinkedIn bed post, or is there a real reason connected to your networking strategy? Before you press the connect button, make sure that you have personalised the invite, suggested a next step and found a reason why the other person should connect with you. After all, if you were cold calling them you would have a reason why they should speak to you. It’s the same on LinkedIn.