I have been prospecting a lot recently and so this has stirred up many connection requests in Linkedin. Do you get people wishing to connect to you all the time? I didn't have this happen to often before I was doing a lot of online prospecting. Maybe I got one every few months, or a handful a year… max.
Linkedin has been changing their tools to make it easier to connect blindly with people. So maybe this has something to do with the recent addition to my regular requests, but I'm betting, this is only a small part. I'm sure it is all my recent activities that are really driving this. So why do you connect with people? Just because they ask you to? Because they have something good to offer you? Or is it something else?
How often do you reject a request for Linkeidn connections? Here's my thoughts on this and why I find that I reject more people than I accept. My goal is to connect with as many quality connections as I can. Ones that will help me reach my goals. All the while, I'm doing this also with the goal of only bringing on new connections who I feel I can return the favor. So we should be looking for win-win situations. Granted, I do not know when someone is going to ask me if I know an attorney. But honestly, if I do not know you that well anyhow, I will not recommend you just because we are "connected." My reputation is on the line just as much as yours is.
In the past, I used to collect connections. I didn't know half of the people I was connected to and they didn't really know me. So what happened? NOTHING! I couldn't recommend them to anyone, they couldn't, wouldn't and shouldn't be recommending me to anyone. Because in order to do so, they would have to guess what I do, and try to sell it to the other person. I do not know about you, but I do not want others trying to sell me. This sets up false expectations and unrealistic ideas of who we are and what we do. Have you ever had a sales conversation blow up in your face because the person who made the introduction said you did "XYZ" for around "$123...". Then when you talked to the person and set them straight, they were let down? Yeah, me too. No more.
This is why I do not just blindly accept a Linkedin connection request. If you like what you see on my profile and want to add me to your list of contacts, reach out. Let's have a conversation. Let's see if there is any synergy and if we like each other. If there is a fit and we can help each other, then… Yeah, let's connect on Linkedin. When you were prospecting for your spouse, you probably didn't walk up to them blindly in a bar, hotel or grocery store and say "You wanna get married?" then throw your arm around them and walk around showing off.
Another tip. If you ask someone to connect, don't be lazy. Yes Linkedin adds a script for you, but is this so you do not have to do anything? Or was it a suggestions for you to work with and personalize. The lack of personalization says you're too lazy to care and only thinking of yourself. Make the connection request interesting aks a question tell me why you think a connection might be good idea.
This is what blind connections requests often are. Don't be lazy. Blind connections are only for connection collections not real live personal collections. They are a way to feel important that you have X number of connections and that you are REALY popular or successful. When often the opposite is true. Keep in mind, I didn't… and I doubt you… went blindly into marriage. I am certainly not going to go blindly into business relationships. You shouldn't either. If you want to be more successful with linkedin, make a game plan for what you are trying to do. Is it collecting connections? Then great, continue the standard connection techniques everyone else is doing. If you want to be different, do something different. Play hard to get and land yourself the good fish instead of just any fish that comes along.
This sets you apart from others. People are taken back when I ask "Do we know each other?" or "Have we talked before?". Many times people think they upset me. I'm not upset, I just want to get to know you before we go to the bedroom. This usually opens up a conversation or people leave upset. Either way it turns into a good tool to either add people to my weekly conversations or dumps them off my list. So I do not waste more time with unqualified people who are unwilling to build longterm relationships.
If you'd like to learn more about linkedin get on my calendar or check out this ebook for sales people using linkedin.