I Would Like To Add You To My Professional Network On LinkedIn
Like nails upon a chalkboard, few things anger me more than the generic phrase I used as the title to this post. I emphasize in every presentation that personaliztion is essential to making new connections.
RULE ONE: ONLY CONNECT TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW
The real value to LinkedIn is connecting with people you know to keep in touch with them professionally. Perhaps equally important, is getting introduced to people (and then connecting with them) that you can have a mutually beneficial relationship with. In the sales world, it is tempting to connect with people you have never met, but I strongly recommend against it. First, if you attempt to connect with someone that does know you, they can ignore the request. They can also inform LinkedIn they don't know you. This is commonly called an "IDK" or "I don't Know." if too many people report you for this, LinkedIn can shut down your account.
RULE TWO: PUT IN SOME EFFORT FIRST
There are many ways to find someone's email or phone number. Sometimes a simple Google search or review of their company website can give you the information you need. Other resources like www.data.com can give you highly reliable contact info. Before connecting on LinkedIn, call the person or email them. tell them why you are reaching out to them and what value it would be to them to speak with you.
RULE THREE: PERSONALIZE
And here is my main point of this post. On average, I make one new contact per day. Many of those are people who reach out to me and want to connect. 98% of these people who send me a connection request use the generic " I would like to add you blah blah blah." How am I supposed to know what they want? My guidelines for connecting here are simple. If the person is a someone that could be a client. I accept the request and then follow up, thanking them for connecting and asking how I can help. If they are not a potential client, then I respond without accepting. In the message I thank them for reaching out, I note that I don't believe we have met before (because sometimes we have and my memory just stinks) and I ask them what their thoughts are on working together. I also indicate I will wait for their response before accepting their connection request. Here is the sad part. 90% of these people never respond, so we don't connect. But every now and then someone sends me a request and they personalize the message. Even if their reason isn't great, I connect with them because they took the time to engage me in a meaningful manner.
SINCE HALLOWEEN IS CLOSE, LET'S CONCLUDE WITH A HORROR STORY
Last week, I received a message from a 3rd degree connection looking for clients to professionally write a resume for or help them improve their LinkedIn profile. I marked it as spam and moved along. A few days later, this same person sent me a connection request using the generic "I would Like blah blah." I politely responded with my " I don't believe we have met before..." Three days later she sent me the same spam message I had deleted last week and she referred to me as "Bill" which... Is not my name. I responded and thanked her for her follow up but informed her that her message only told me what she wanted and did not tell me what it could do to benefit me. I also informed her my name is not Bill. She wrote back later that day saying she would love referrals for resume writing and people who want help with their LinkedIn profile.... And she called me Bill Again. Insert palm slap here
IN CLOSING, BE PROFESSIONAL
I would love to read your feedback and hear your best practices for using LinkedIn. Thank you for reading today, I hope you enjoyed it.
A QUICK P.S.
I love the LinkedIn app for my smartphone. But be aware, when you send a connection request using the app, it does not give you the option to edit your intro line. You are better off requesting connections from a computer.