LinkedIn Social Selling: Are your Invitations Failing?
Not sure about you, but I receive a lot of requests from people wanting to connect with me on LinkedIn.
Let me start by saying this: I am what is called an “open networker.” I will review every invitation I receive to see if there is value in making the connection or not, directly or indirectly. Next, allow me to explain what I mean by directly and indirectly. In some cases I might not necessarily see a direct benefit in connecting. However, I might see indirect benefits because of whom this person is connected to, who this person works for, or maybe what this person does for a living. These are some of the indirect triggers that would spur me to accept an invitation. A direct connection would be someone I know well.
One area that has grabbed more of my attention recently is the lack of personal notes attached to the invitation to connect. I’m now starting to take this more and more into my considerations regarding why I should connect with this person.
A personal note goes a long way when you’re inviting a person to connect on LinkedIn. And, while it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of time to craft a personal note, it could mean the difference between someone accepting you invitation or ignoring it. If they ignore your invitation and you’re not connected, you effectively lose the opportunity of them becoming a partner or a prospect down the road.
Let’s look at the simple rules you can follow:
Be Personal: When you meet someone in person normally you say “Hello”, “Hi” or something like that. So, start your note the same way: “Hi Toby” or “Hello Sarah.” By doing this you have already sounded like you’re talking to me…personally.
The Reason: Make sure that within the first sentence you are providing a brief reason as to why you are looking to connect. Examples: “It was a pleasure to meet you last week at the Microsoft Inspire Conference” or “I notice that we have a lot of connections and interests in common.” Even if you wrote "I saw your name pop up when I was logged in," that would be better that nothing at all.
Introduce Yourself: Don’t expect the reader to have to fully read your profile to find out what you do. DO NOT say “Check out my profile to find out more about me.” For sure, that phrasing will not get you the connection. You have one chance to impress, so make it count and share your basic profile information right up front by way of a meaningful introduction.
Invite them to connect: As you’re coming to the end of the personal note you need to give them a reason to connect with you. Think about what would give them a reason to accept your invitation. Please don’t use the out of the box trite phrases like "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." How dull is that!
Signature: As you’re closing off, make sure to either add something like "Best regards" or "Sincerely" or "Take care." Remember you’re trying to impress and be personal as well as professional.
After reading this you’re probably thinking, I don’t have time to go this extra mile. I would suggest that you try it for a while and compare which ones get more acceptances – the personal or the out of the box.
But consider this. I have found that yet another benefit of personal messages is that typically there is a better chance the recipient will engage back with you. And after all, that’s what you want to happen. Because engaged connections are even more valuable to you than connections who are not engaged.
Here’s a little trick I want to share with you. I have a Word document where I have built “boiler plate personalized” responses that I can easily tailor for different invitations. This speeds up the process. I also have a similar set of “personalized” responses for when someone connects with me. I use these to send a thank you. Plus, when I receive an invitation to connect, I send a follow up message as well. All the way along the Social Journey, I am always looking for ways to engage.
As I leave you now, I’m wondering: Do you prefer to receive personalized LinkedIn invitations? Or, are you okay with the out-of-the-box LinkedIn invitations?
Always interested in what others have to say, so leave your thoughts on this discussion.
Tel: +1 617 256 6178
Twitter: @jon_rivers & @brandingnoise