If you want to get clients using LinkedIn, you will need to build your connections. There are many ways you can do this but the most straightforward and direct way is to send personalised connection requests to people that you want to get to know better.
When you’re starting out on LinkedIn, it is particularly important to regularly reach out to new people and connect with them. If you don’t send people connection requests, people won’t know you’re on LinkedIn so all your hard work creating content and building your profile will be wasted! The more time you spend on LinkedIn, the more you will see connection requests coming in, but that doesn’t mean that you should rest on your laurels – you still need to be outreaching to grow your LinkedIn following and increase the chances of landing work via LinkedIn.
What does sending a connection request involve?
There are 2 approaches commonly used on LinkedIn
1) SPRAY AND PRAY
This is a system whereby people sent out lots of ‘cold’ connection requests just by hitting the connect button – or even using 3rd party automation software. Never bothering to personalise these requests mean they can send them in volumes.
Does this work? IMHO – no! Getting clients and customers is about building relationships. People do business with people. If someone sends me a connection request without even bothering to say ‘hello’, I wonder if they really want to connect with me at all. Either that or they’ve sent the request from their mobile and don’t know that they can personalise their connection request (see lower down for how to do this).
2) TARGETING RELEVANT PEOPLE
Please notice the word ‘relevant’ here. LinkedIn isn’t just a numbers game. If you try to sell your wares to everybody, you could waste a great deal of time and energy. Think about who can help you achieve the results you want on LinkedIn and ninja-target them.
When you do this you will start to build a network of potential clients, referees, colleagues, collaborators, and even friends.
What is vital though is this: if you want to really build up relationships it’s important that you start off on a good footing. So, when you send a connection request, always personalise it!
How to send a personalised connection request – on desktop
On the desktop, it’s very straightforward to send a personalised connection request.
To connect with someone on LinkedIn desktop:
- Go to the person’s profile and click the ‘connect’ button
- LinkedIn will ask you if you want to ‘add a note’
- Type your introduction and the box and click ‘send’
- Keep an eye out for thier acceptance of you request, as if they don’t accept it, you may wish to cancel the request later ( don’t worry about this for now though)
What if there doesn’t appear to be an option to connect, only to ‘follow’ the person?
This means they would prefer you to follow them rather than connect with them. You can follow them, of course, which means you will see their content in your feed. However, if you want to build a relationship with someone, the best way is to send them a connection request. Here’s how:
- Go to their profile and click the ‘more’ button
- Click ‘connect’
- LinkedIn will tell the person would rather you follow them. Ignore this and click ‘connect’ again
- ‘Add a note’ as explained above
How to send a personalised connection request – on your mobile app
If you want to connect with someone and you’re on your mobile app, there is a slightly different procedure.
Do NOT click the ‘connect’ button beneath someone’s profile! No way! This will send the request without a note! It’s a slightly annoying glitch so you have to go a slightly different route:
- Go to their profile
- Click the 3 dots in the circle next to the connect button
- Click of ‘personalise invite’
- Write your message
- Click ‘send invitation’
What to say when personalising your connection requests
Introduce yourself, talk about something that will spark a conversation. Here’s a list of some do’s and the major ‘don’t’ when sending a connection request:
DO Introduce yourself
DO Use a conversation starter – don’t just do a ‘hi and bye’ – this is about relationship building!
DO Try and find some common ground or a mutual connection to talk about
DO Be open and friendly
DO Think about what you would say when you’re introducing yourself to someone in real life
& above all:
This is the key to connecting with people! If you try to be in any way salesy in your connection requests, you will get ignored – at best. You may get telling off from some LinkedIn users but, however the recipient responds (if at all), it will not elude a favourable emotion in them. Basically, if you sell in your connection request message, you’ve probably blown any chance of getting to know that person.
Going back to the 5th ‘do’; would you go up to someone at a networking meeting and say ‘Hi my name is *****, let me tell you about my great thing that I’m selling. It’s on special offer today….’? No, you’d be more likely to introduce yourself, ask them what their name is and what they do, chat for a while, get to know them. At some point you talk about your product or service and, when it seems that they’re actually interested in what you’re selling, THEN you give them the information.
So there you have it my friend, how to send personalised connection requests on LinkedIn on a computer and on the mobile app!