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:
Sellers are also inadvertently signaling “I’m out to pitch you after connecting” to prospects.
But here’s the surprising trend we’re discovering…
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:
This happens because customers are:
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!
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:
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.
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!
Connection templates do not work. Because:
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:
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.
Make sure your connection request avoids:
Make sure your connection request DOES:
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.
Get invited to a conversation with your prospect first. Confirm your target is a viable near-term or future buyer.
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.
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.