Networking on LinkedIn can be a bit confusing to navigate. But for many small business owners, it’s beneficial to use as a networking tool.
Here are four more tips to consider when connecting with strangers on LinkedIn.
1. Give them a reason to connect with you
In your invitation, I recommend saying more than something like, “Let’s connect!”
Providing zero information on how the other person can benefit by accepting your invitation may lead them to believe you’re just another spammer.
For instance, you could say something like, “I post financial tips to help folks manage their money.”
2. Don’t try to make a sale in your connection request
This may sound controversial, but hear me out.
Pitching your product or service in a connection request may appear a bit too forward to some folks. People, especially small business owners, want to know there will be more to their new LinkedIn connections than a sales pitch.
Take the time to turn nurture the relationship before making a pitch. This leads me to the next point…
3. Try to make a mutually beneficial connection in your request (and pitch them later)
Instead of pitching someone in your connection request, ask if you could talk with them to see if you could mutually benefit each other. If they agree, listen to their needs and see if you could help them out aside from giving your pitch.
If—towards the end of your conversation—the timing seems right, you could close with a pitch.
You never want to come across as self-serving or invasive. Ask for permission to speak with them—don’t just come out the gate swinging.
4. Clean it up
Proofread every message you plan to send with your connection request. Try to avoid basic grammatical/spelling mistakes (but don’t be stodgy in this). If you mention any names (such as the name of their business), be sure to spell them correctly.
I don’t think anyone who reads this would describe themselves as a “spammer” or “pushy salesperson.” But if you’re not being thoughtful in how you connect with strangers on LinkedIn, you could come across as someone you’re not.