Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Builder | Rational Optimist | Sushi Fan | Jayhawk | #micnuggets | @MJMeetings
A few months ago I got a LinkedIn connection request from someone I didn’t know. It was the dreaded, impersonal, default “I’d like to join your LinkedIn network” message.
While this happens to just about everyone several times a week and a lot of people blindly accept people they don’t know or haven’t interacted with, I typically don’t accept connection requests without some kind of interaction.
Call me crazy, but I want to know WHY you’re interested in connecting, and if you don’t personalize your invite, you leave me (and anyone else you do this to) confused.
When I got this particular connection request, I replied back with the following (name removed to protect the innocent):
“Hi XXX, Thank you for the connection request. As a general rule, I typically connect to people I know, trust, respect, can vouch for, etc. It’s nothing personal…just how I choose to grow and protect my network. I was curious on what interested you in connecting with me. Was there something you were interested in that Blue Gurus does? Thank you, Mic”
Oftentimes when I send a message like this, I won’t hear back from the person or, even worse, they don’t really have a reason to connect other than “You showed up as someone I might be interested in connecting with and so I hit the CONNECT button.”
In this case, I got the following reply:
“Hey Mic, Thanks for the reply. I have the same approach to my LinkedIn network. Unfortunately, when browsing the LinkedIn app a couple of weeks ago, it asked me if I wanted to invite everyone in my contacts to join my LinkedIn network. I thought I hit the button that said cancel, but I seem to have sent invitations to over 2000 people who I don’t or just barely know. We may have had an email exchange in the past, or perhaps met briefly at a conference. To be honest, I’m not sure where or when we interacted, but you seem to be in my Gmail Contacts, so we must’ve had some kind of interaction in the past. As you can imagine, my request was accepted by many sales reps and recruiters. It was ignored by others. So far, you’re the only one who wrote to ask how we know each other. Kudos for that! I like the language you used in your reply. I may steal it for future replies to people who request a connection and who I don’t otherwise know.”
Wow. Can you believe that? Out of 2000 people who received the connection request, I was the ONLY one to respond back with a personal message.
So how did I stand out from 2000 other LinkedIn users? I WASN’T LAZY.
I took a few seconds to reply back to this invitation and we ended up exchanging several messages, found out we had a couple of people in common, and had a nice online interaction. And now we’re connected on LinkedIn.
Who knows if we’ll do business together or be able to help one another out at some point down the road, but the door has been opened. Taking this simple step when you get an invitation from someone you don’t know can help you stand out from the pack.
Going forward, how will you handle LinkedIn requests from people you don’t know? Do you want to be the ONE or are you ok being a part of the LAZY 2000?