Here’s the sequel to my previous post ‘Connecting with a bag of stones – really?’with some further tips and links on how to make the most of your connection requests.
Reminder; The connection request I received from ‘bag of stones’ was the standard LinkedIn request with no personal photo. In addition, their profile was next to empty. Their request content:
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
Feedback to me from my clients is that they often reject such requests out of hand. No follow up or qualification at all. So please don’t use it!
I didn’t write his request off immediately. I wanted to know more. In my line of work, buried behind a connection request (or a profile view) there is sometimes an opportunity to assist. So I sent the bag of stones guy a reply to his request asking for further details as to why he wanted to connect with me.
I have a standard response that I use for just such an occasion! Tailor your own response to suit your style and context.
Thank you for requesting to connect with me on LinkedIn. Can you please provide further detail around your request so that I may offer assistance if appropriate”
And here’s his response. You’ll laugh, cry or sigh. Probably the latter. (remember I didn’t accept the request to connect)
Thanks for accepting my invitation it’s my pleasure to get contacted to you, we are association of gold mining team Keb Minerals Resources Ltd and Titan Gold & Gems Ventures. We have gold smelted into bars for sale and also rough diamond looking for a partner to establish long term business relationship, If you are interested please kindly avert back to give you more details…
Waiting for your early response.
Note – I didn’t accept his invitation! But his response stated I had. Golden opportunity lost!
As it turns out I was putting in more effort into qualifying his request than he did for the original request itself or his own follow up.
Your Connection Request Approach Matters
From personal experience I’ve found that the content of your connection request can make an enormous difference for both acceptance and opportunity conversion.
- Check the profile of the person you wish to connect with – looking for any synergies or common areas of interest. If LinkedIn suggest you should connect with the person – still take the time to check their profile.
- Be respectful and open about your reason(s) for requesting to connect – up front. (unsolicited sales approaches seem to be dramatically increasing on LinkedIn).
- Customise your invitation. There are so many people not doing it, that just by putting in this amount of effort you’ll create an impact! (please do not use the mobile ‘click, flick (and wont stick) connect button!)
- Make wise use of the 300 characters. If you’re connecting with someone you know well, take the opportunity to reinforce the relationship. If you’re connecting with someone you don’t know so well, you can remind them of how you met and include a reason for wanting to connect on LinkedIn. If you’re connecting with someone you have never met this is your opportunity to convince that person of the value of connecting with you.
- Respect a ‘decline’ or no response. But consider why this may have been the case. Review your approach. If you really want to connect, try an in-mail first, or maybe use the old fashioned way and pick up the phone!
So – when your invitation is accepted, that’s just part of building a great network.
- Follow up with a thanks for connecting and an offer to assist your new connection should they require it.
- Follow the person on LinkedIn so you know when they’ve posted or published an article.
- Like and share their posts – add value to your connection.
- Set up google alerts or use newsle to track their activity.
- Eventually – you may even catch up for a coffee.
The point is that gaining an acceptance for a connection request is just part of the equation to building a great network that will add value.
The approach and follow up the bag of stones connection request took failed! It could have been different.
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