Does that statement sound familiar? I bet that you receive a number of these requests every month. I got a handful of these this week – all using the exact same words and nothing more. The majority of requests were from people I did not know. It’s great that they wanted to connect with me, but there is one major challenge with it. I don’t know why. I can look at their profile and decide if I want to be connected to that person or not – but I still don’t have any context for their request.
Let’s look at it another way. Would you leave a voice mail message that simply stated “I’d like to add you to my professional network” and then just hang up? Probably not! So why do that using LinkedIn?
The highest and best use of LinkedIn is all about building professional relationships, not just playing a numbers game and collecting connections. If I know you already, then just sending me the standard request is fine because we already have a relationship. But if we don’t, then the standard request doesn’t deliver enough information to make an informed decision to connect. The context of the request is actually very important.
So, let’s put our sales, or business development, or job seeker hat on and think about it from the point of view of the person you are trying to connect with. What’s in it for them to connect to you? If you let them answer that question by themselves, they could either guess or just dismiss it. Neither of which is a great outcome. If it isn’t important enough for you to spend a little time crafting a relevant request, it’s probably not important enough for them to try and figure out why you asked.
Here are some things to think about to craft a more engaging connection request:
- Why specifically do you want to add me to your network?
- What mutual interests might we have?
- Have you read anything or heard anything about me that caused you to reach out?
- Do you have any information, content, ideas, or referrals that might be of interest to me?
- How would this connection benefit us both?
So before you send the standard request, step into the other person’s shoes. If they have to ask themselves why you want to connect, you’ve missed an opportunity to start a real conversation.
— Lisa Dennis