Have you been asked to connect with someone on LinkedIn that you didn’t know? Have you ever asked someone to connect with you that you didn’t know? If either of these scenarios is familiar, we have some time-tested advice about how to handle both.
LinkedIn is a dynamic tool for meeting new people, creating new business relationships and developing collaborations. Take the time to ensure you are building your network strategically.
Connection Request Sent To You
Over 95 percent of all connection requests within LinkedIn are made without a personal note attached. In many instances this is a direct result of someone effortlessly clicking on the ever-present “Connect” button located throughout LinkedIn’s desktop and mobile apps.
On one hand, LinkedIn has fostered this impersonal approach by making connecting too easy. On the other hand, connecting with someone should be done with a purposeful objective.
We’re constantly asked how to handle a LinkedIn connection request from someone you don’t know. The answer isn’t a simple one since LinkedIn enables reconnecting with previous business acquaintances, connecting with existing business partners and making new connections. Each person has his or her own criteria for accepting a request to connect.
We use the following criteria to decide if we accept a connection request. We review the person’s profile prior to accepting their request. This allows us to determine whether there is value in connecting with them. If the potential exists for possible collaboration, new business, or if the person is connected to over 500 people, we will most likely accept their request.
Think about asking the person why they want to connect with you. Here’s an example of a note you may send to them prior to accepting or ignoring their request:
“Thanks for the connection request.
If we have met, I apologize, I don’t recall.
My network is very important to me. It’s not about the number of connections I have. It’s more about the quality of the relationship and its potential for collaboration.
LinkedIn is a great tool for connecting and I’m open to meeting new people. In that spirit, I’d like to know what is it about my profile that caused you to request a connection.
Also, please share a little about yourself and how we might both benefit from the mutual connection.”
Using this method will help you discern the quality connectors from the quantity seekers. If they respond, you will have a much clearer understanding why they are seeking you out and if it makes sense for you to accept.
If the person requesting a connection took the time to customize their note to you, that should also weigh in your decision to accept. It’s a simple way for them to exhibit they have actually taken the time to review your profile and think there is a genuine reason to connect.
How you handle connection requests from individuals you do not know is entirely your decision. We believe the spirit of LinkedIn is about expanding your network and creating new meaningful business relationships.
Once you accept, follow up with your own note, thanking them for the connection request, and ask for a 5 to 10 minute introductory phone call.
Connection Request Made By You
While it’s easy to understand why someone sent you a request to connect without customizing it, there is absolutely no excuse for you to ever send an impersonal connection request. Proper business etiquette is not a default message like the one you receive saying, “I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network.”
Business is personal. Therefore, you should only connect from the other individuals’ profile and write a well thought out message. At this time it’s the simplest and most consistent avenue to connect with a personal note. Using the “Connect” button from any other area on the platform will result in sending out the default connection message.
Similar to what you expect of an individual requesting a connection from you, you should always cite why you’re seeking the connection from them. Review the persons profile for common interests, groups, organizations or shared connections. Include those common elements in your request. Think about asking one of your shared connections if it would acceptable to reference them in your invitation. All this is designed to increase your success rate.
You have spent a lot of time seeking out new connections. You have one chance for acceptance. Make the most of it. Do your homework. Make your request so compelling, engaging or intriguing that the person will accept it readily.
Finally, once your request is accepted, always follow up with a thank you note and request a 5 to 10 minute phone call or meeting.
Content contributed by Linda and Ira Bass of IB Media LLC, an advertising media planning and placement firm built using the strategic power of LinkedIn to serve agencies and marketers with a targeted approach to reaching their customers. For more information, please contact Ira Bass at IraBass@IBMedia.biz or 704-989-3790. Learn more at www.IBMedia.biz or www.LinkedIn.com/company/IB-Media-LLC.