One of the most popular question I get during my LinkedIn 101 and 201 workshops is, “Should we accept all of the LinkedIn invitations we receive?” Definitely Not! When LinkedIn first came out they told us to connect with as many people as we could. We worked to have 500+ connections because we didn’t know where our next big sale was going to come from. More connections would translate into more sales. Our Pastor, neighbor or old high school friend would introduce us to the President of a large manufacturing company. This referral would lead to our making it to the Salesperson Hall of Fame and untold riches.
All of us get LinkedIn invitations from people we don’t know. The requests are generic. It is a simple box in our email that says “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.” They seem simple enough. What could it hurt? There are serious security problems with connecting with random people. Connecting with random people exposes you and your connections to phishing, data breaches and identity theft. I have a large LinkedIn network, and I always respect their privacy. Here is the process I use to determine if I should connect.
- Invitation – Generic invitations immediately give me pause. Some people just want to use LinkedIn to build up their numbers. It shows they are popular. I instruct my clients and workshop attendees to include something that tells me where I know them from. If we haven’t met, tell me why you’d like to connect. A good example is: Eric, I attended your workshop in Nashville, and enjoyed the LinkedIn 201 Prospecting training. I’d like to learn more. Thanks and I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn. Laura.” If I don’t know you, tell me who you are and why you’d like to connect.
- Profile Picture – I always look at the Profile Picture. No picture means no connection. I only accept invitations with no picture when I know the person, and they need coaching. I am suspicious when there is no picture. What are they trying to hide? LinkedIn profiles with pictures have more engagements: 21 times more views and 9 times more connections than profiles without a photo. Profile pictures also build the personal brand of job seekers, sales professionals and executives.
- Common Connections – I review the connections I have in common with the prospective connection. 100+ common connections does not insure I will accept the invitation. Who are the people? Do they work for the same company? Most of my clients are in financial services, and there are specific businesses and brands with whom I partner. LinkedIn Connections from high school are reserved for Facebook. If they work for Ivy Funds, Nationwide Financial or OneAmerica, I will accept the invitation. I am very interested in partnering with professionals from these companies.
- Profession – Most of my clients are in financial services. When financial wholesalers, advisors or wealth managers send me invitations after a workshop, I understand. When I get requests from people I don’t know, I look to see what they do. I don’t mind connecting with teachers, accountants or carpenters, but I wonder why. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the best way to sort connections from leads. Leads are people I’d like to do business with, and I follow their content closely.
LinkedIn invitations are a powerful tool in building the right professional network. As soon as you set up an account, decide the type of people, businesses and brands you’d like to connect with. Stay in touch with these connections to show you are building relationships and not just playing a numbers game.Free Demo to Grow Qualified Leads
Scientifically Speaking, of course…