How to write a LinkedIn connection request: A template

How to write a LinkedIn connection request

linkedin connection request

 

Time to read: 3.5 minutes. Figuring out how to write a LinkedIn connection request—that gets the other side talking—is tough. But our students figured out an innovative way.

I’ll share the technique and a template to get contacts talking after you connect. Because even if you’re getting connections accepted you may have trouble getting conversations started post-connection. 

Here’s the mistake most of our customers are making. Talking too much about:

  • themselves
  • their needs (to converse with the prospect)
  • free promotions, demos or offers

Sellers are also inadvertently signaling “I’m out to pitch you after connecting” to prospects.

But here’s the surprising trend we’re discovering…

Connections suck as conversation-starters

What? Yes.

Connection requests are becoming less effective… as a first point of contact. Hear me out. You can skip down to “Re-think your connection request” but you should consider this trend.

Our students (sellers) report this pattern:

  • Request connection w/ a personalized message
  • Earn connection
  • Fail to start conversations

This happens because customers are:

  • Accepting connection requests (without seeing the message)
  • Immediately being spammed by sellers
  • Accepting fewer connection requests overall

After connection prospects go silent on sellers. We hear this increasingly.

Here’s why: Personalized connection requests are often never seen. LinkedIn increasingly encourages users to avoid reading connection requests. Thus, you see acceptance of the connection as a positive sign. The customer does not. (since they never saw the message content)

Bottom line: Customers are becoming victims of connecting to sellers–and immediately being spammed with poorly-written pitches.

Sellers are literally training customers to expect spammy messages if they connect.

Requesting a connection seems like a logical first step but it’s increasingly ineffective.

One problem is templates. They’re poisonous!

Don’t use templates

I know, I know. Bummer right? If you do continue with a connection request strategy be advised.

Most sellers use a connection request message like this … and fail:

Hi, Juile,
Looks like we share mutual connections and may share similar interests. 

I am _____________ and I love connecting with experts like yourself and wanted to say hey.

Sincerely,
Charles

Another…

Hey Jeff,
I just came across your profile and was interested in learning more about what you do! I’d also like to introduce you to my network and add value any way I can. Let me know when would be a good time to have a quick chat!

Sincerely,
Fred

Connection templates do not work. Because:

  • templated requests are not distinct enough—you don’t stand out
  • they are becoming associated with spam
  • prospects increasingly receive requests saying “I’ve read your profile” from sellers who have not

Fact is, most connection requests come from sellers who have done little if any homework on the customer. People are catching on!

Here is a quick example of a common yet failing template request:

connection request sales

Never try to “hook” customers with a question.

In the image above notice how Carrie asks me a question—biased to the answer she wants. “Would you like to grow your business through speaking this year?” She’s asking a question serving her (only)… in a way that is obvious (and dangerous) to me.

Her question makes it dangerous for me to accept her request. I become vulnerable to her sales pitch if I do.

Asking me this question may seem clever. But it is not clever at all. It signals “answer yes (as I hope for) and I’ll pounce on you with my offer.”

Instead, an un-biased question helps prospects consider their situation… draws them into a conversation. For example… what if Carrie asks me, “What would cause you to look outside of traditional ways to drum-up speaking gigs, Jeff?” or “Are you open to considering an unusual way to create more speaking gig this year?”

Starting conversations with customers takes practice. You might consider joining our free Academy where we learn to start discussions using better messages.

Re-think your connection request

Make sure your connection request avoids:

  1. Focusing on you (remove references to yourself… all of them!)
  2. “Hook” questions (making your prospect feel vulnerable to a pitch)
  3. Language indicating you read their profile (this is trending spammy)
  4. Borrowing from template you found via Google or a “guru!”

Make sure your connection request DOES:

  1. Prove you’ve done research on the prospect (without pretending you did!)
  2. Use an un-biased question helping you stand out from the crowd
  3. Spark curiosity in the prospect via a provocation

Better yet, I can show you a communications technique our students practice in a free online Academy community. Join us!

Otherwise, these guidelines help readers develop interest in talking—after you’ve connected. Or from cold… in a cold email.

Want to see more examples? Attend a LinkedIn InMail Clinic. Start applying this technique yourself.

Or join our free Academy community to strengthen your ability to provoke conversations.

Knowing how to write a better LinkedIn connection request is simple. Knowing how to write one that sparks conversation takes a little more work. But now you have a guide to help. Consider it a template of sorts.

Consider connecting later

Get invited to a conversation with your prospect first. Confirm your target is a viable near-term or future buyer.

Then connect.

The fastest way to get response is creating an urge in the prospect to talk. If you don’t create that urge you won’t be invited to talk.

Call. Use standard email. Oh, and don’t over-rely on InMail. (it’s not a “magic email” system!)

It is best to initiate contact off of LinkedIn first—then connect on LinkedIn to nurture the conversation forward. It’s not difficult and here are my best email templates to help.

Getting more response and appointments will start happening. But only when you start helping prospects feel curious about how you can help them … how you can solve a problem, relieve a pain, avoid a risk or fast-track a goal for them.

Photo credit: Lindsey Turner.

About Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on starting conversations with busy people. As founder of Communications Edge Inc. he teaches a proven, effective communications technique to spark buyers curiosity in sales outreach & marketing messages. He's a sought-after sales communications trainer to individual reps, teams of sellers and small businesses owners across the globe. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe.Jeff served as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.

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