Do you use LinkedIn? It would be difficult to find someone in your business network who doesn’t use LinkedIn nowadays as the business focused Social Network grew from 102 million members in 2011 to a staggering 313 million members in 2014.
Yet despite it’s phenomenal success and the value in connecting with those within your business circles, the vast majority of LinkedIn connection requests we receive each week make a common and powerful mistake - they use the “boilerplate” LinkedIn invitation text of “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”.
That boilerplate text fails to share one hugely important fact with the person you’d like to connect with - why they should connect with you.
Imagine walking up to someone at your next business networking event, and without saying a single word to them, you thrust your business card into their hand.
It’s a scenario that seems laughable to visualize, yet when you send a boilerplate “Let’s connect” request on LinkedIn - you’re “virtually” playing out that same scenario.
When you connect with someone - be it online or offline - you want to share with them the reason why you want to connect. Think about “What’s in it for them”.
So instead of saying “Let’s connect” why not say “I’ve read your LinkedIn profile and I believe we share many similar types of clients. Would you like to connect so we can explore how to help other each other reach more of those clients?”. That sentence has a strong reason as to WHY the person would want to connect with you - it’s going to be of benefit to them in reaching new clients!
If you’re using LinkedIn to connect with potential new clients, it’s even more important to avoid using boilerplate connection requests.
People do business with people they like. Even if you’re connecting with somebody completely cold, with your LinkedIn introduction being the first time you’ve reached out to them, it’s important to use the request to make a good first impression.
Don’t be the latest in a long line of IT businesses who want to connect so you can sell to them. What’s in it for them? Most of us run in the opposite direction any time anyone wants to sell to us, but help us? We appreciate those type of connections.
Why not use the request to share why it would be of benefit to the prospect for you to connect? The majority of your competitors don’t - so by doing so you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Even if you’re requesting a connection with somebody you already share a relationship with which you’d like to strengthen by connecting on LinkedIn, I believe you should avoid using the boilerplate request.
Say you’ve met somebody at a business networking event. You’ve chatted and you’d like to stay in touch. If you send a boilerplate request, who is to say the other person will remember you? We’d all like to think we’re personally memorable - but the reality is each of us in business meets dozens of people each week in business, and names and faces can blur. Instead of sending a boilerplate LinkedIn connection request, why not use the invite text to remind the person of where and when you met, what you chatted about and - again - why it’s of benefit to them to connect with you.
“Dave, it was good to meet you at the business breakfast on Thursday. I enjoyed talking with you about your business growth plans and it was great to meet a fellow New York Knicks fan! I thought it might be useful if we connected via LinkedIn so we could exchange ideas”.
Doesn’t that type of request allow you to far more effectively stand out of the crowd of “Let’s connect on LinkedIn” messages we each receive each week?
While it’s rare to find anyone who doesn’t use LinkedIn nowadays, it seems to be rare to find someone who uses the LinkedIn connection request process to help themselves make a great first impression and give the other person a reason why they should connect with you.
Connecting with people on LinkedIn isn’t simply a contest of who has the most connections. Making good quality connections that help grow relationships are key.
Don’t use the boilerplate LinkedIn connection method. Take the time to make yourself stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting positive impression.
Richard Tubb works with MSP's to help them focus on what is important, free up their time and make more money. You don't have to do it alone any more!