Have you ever received a connection request that felt like it came from the Big Bad Wolf in disguise, or at least from his lesser known cousin, the Overly Eager Connection Hound?
This week I received multiple connection requests on LinkedIn that said "It looks like you do some impressive work, so I was compelled to reach out..."
The first one I came across made me think, "Hey the profile updates I posted last week must be resonating with people!"
The second one made me think, "Hmmm, that sounds vaguely familiar, where else have I read that line?"
By the third one I was thinking, "Ouch, I've been snagged in some spammed lead generation campaign." These people likely didn't even read my profile since they were just copy/pasting their request messages to everyone they crossed paths with :-(
I could get annoyed by this, but instead it made me think of connection requests I've sent in the past that were probably a little weak (okay, some may have been incredibly naive and equally impersonal as what I received this week, Oops!).
If you've received similar requests and been annoyed, that irritation can be beneficial when it leads to self-evaluation and improvement. Thinking back on past requests I have sent made me more compassionate that these people are just doing their best and may not realize how their messages are coming across. We've all been there, and hopefully with practice we improve our methods. This was definitely a reminder to me to keep the focus on creating genuine connections, as well as how far I've come in some of my own business skills, and that we are all a work in progress.
If you've ever received some awkwardly worded message from me, please forgive me! We all need grace at times.
Next time you send a connection request these tips can help it land more effectively. When you see that really compelling profile pause a moment and REACT professionally:
R - Read Their Profile
Take a moment to actually read the person's profile. We all put in time and effort to write what's there, so respect them by at least scrolling through to see what is important to that person. You may find you have shared interests or networks to help build a relationship from.
E - Engage As A Person
Make it personal. Are you connecting because you met them at an event or you found something interesting on their profile? Did you see their post and like their ideas? This can spark a conversation with them about something you have in common or are interested in learning more about. Just be sure to be genuine. Most of us can sense false flattery and canned messages, and people have personal preferences as to whether they will or won't accept spammy sounding requests. The more authentic and professional you sound, the more likely your request will be accepted and lead to a real connection.
A - Add A Note
On the desktop site, use the "Connect" button on their profile instead of in your "My Network" page. On the mobile app, view their full profile, click the "More" button next to Connect and Message, then click "Personalize Invite". These steps give the option to "Add a note" to your request, which allows you to include a message about why you want to connect. If they would avoid a telemarketers call on the phone then they will most likely also avoid your random connection request without an intro as well. A sentence or two is sufficient to establish that initial connection, and will generally be perceived as a warm introduction rather than that you've targeted them as a cold sales lead.
C - Count Quality, Not Quantity
LION's (LinkedIn Open Networkers) aside, try to remember connecting with people is not a numbers game. We all appreciate being treated like the unique human beings that we are. Many studies have found that people desire to be heard and seen for who they really are, and that also applies to your professional connections.
T - Thank Them For Connecting
Follow up once they connect. You can thank them for connecting and continue the conversation you hopefully started in your initial message. If you connected specifically to pitch a product or service you will get farther by being polite and cultivating conversation with them before you present your offer.
I hope my acronym helps you remember these simple tips. Happy connecting, and remember:
Authentic Relationships Build The Best Businesses!