Most of us receive random requests from strangers to connect on LinkedIn. Perhaps you make a quick decision to “Accept” or “Ignore” based on which camp you are in: Camp Popularity or Camp Exclusivity. But “Accept” and “Ignore” are not your only choices. You can click “Reply (don’t accept yet)” instead. If you have never clicked the down arrow next to the “Accept” button, you may not even know you have this option.
- If I don’t know the person, I always “Reply.” Here’s why: You derive the most value from LinkedIn if you participate in the give-and-take of making connections for people. But the many demands on your time require that you be selective.
- People being people, each person who requests to connect with you probably thinks he has something to gain. Unless you ask, you don’t know what that is or how to help.
- You may or may not have anything to gain from connecting with this person. Can he help you? Would he if he could? If you don’t find out, you surely won’t gain anything.
My standard copy-and-paste “Reply” addresses all three concerns. It goes like this:
Hi [first name],
Thank you for your invitation to connect. Before connecting, I would like to get to know you well enough to connect you with others when an opportunity arises. Please call me (484.829.0021) if you would like to have a 15-minute conversation. That’s all it takes to get to know a bit more about each other, our business goals and what kinds of prospects are the best fit.
This kind of reply politely filters out all of the worthless connections. They don’t call. I know those who do call are going to be worthwhile. They know my expectations for the call and they have opted to exchange 15 minutes of their valuable time for mine. As we talk, I type notes in my CRM database about them, their business goals and ideal prospects. When each conversation is over, I click “Accept.” A former stranger who has passed the “worth” test is a valuable connection.
Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].