There are many sins that people commit on LinkedIn. This one is by far the most common sin and if you are in a sales or business development role you want to be sure you never commit it.
You work all day to connect with new people, have conversations and get appointments, but often miss the lowest hanging fruit.
When someone invites you to connect on LinkedIn it is as they called and left you a voicemail. Take advantage of this opportunity and convert the right ones to brief phone calls or at minimum start an email dialogue.
Here is what to do with people that invite you to connect:
1. Click through to their profile and determine if you want to accept or ignore their invitation (best practices is if you ignore don’t mark “I don’t know” or “SPAM” unless you really feel it is obtrusive as it will affect them negatively). Treat them as if they were at a networking meeting with you. If you would want to have a conversation, you will want to engage on LinkedIn. Evaluate if they are a potential prospect, strategic alliance, center of influence or simply someone that others in your network would want to know.
2. If you accept, decide if you wish to have a phone call or begin an email correspondence.
- Phone calls for prospects or strategic alliances: Dear XXX, It is nice to be connected on LinkedIn. Typically I like to have a brief conversation with my new connections so we can explore ways we might be able to work or network together. Here is a link to my calendar http://scheduleacallwithbrynne.com/ please pick a time that works best for you.
- Someone you would like in your network but don’t want a phone call at this time. XXX, welcome to my network. Typically I like to learn more about my connections and share a bit about me so we can determine how we can be of value to each others’ network. I am a Social Selling and LinkedIn trainer that works with Fortune 1000 VP of Sales to bring their team strategies and tactics so they can build their pipeline, reduce their sales cycle and close more business. Please share with me who you work with and the value you bring.
- If you are on the fence, consider the “Reply Don’t Accept Yet” option. Simply click on the Inbox, choose Invitations on the left hand side, click the down arrow next to the accept button and send a message. XXX, thank you for your invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Typically I only connect with professionals I know, please share with me how you came across my profile and how you think we can help each other out. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
BONUS: When you invite someone to connect and you receive an email that says “Hannah Gordon has accepted your connection request” you want to be sure respond accordingly. Determine why you reached out in the first place, is she a prospect, referral source or simply someone you wish to be connected to but not sure if it warrants a conversation yet.Then send a similar message as above.
RESOURCE: My prospecting and strategic alliance conversations have increased significantly since I began using TimeTrade as it syncs in real-time with my calendar and others can pick a time to talk that works best for them.
I purchased a domain name - http://scheduleacallwithbrynne.com, created a landing page on my website (that drives traffic) and offer 15 minute or 30 minute time slots. They click through and pick the best available time for them, it instantly populates my calendar and I receive an email notification. No more dropped opportunities because it took to long to find a mutually beneficial time to talk.
TimeTrade will give you a generic link that you can use or you can purchase a vanity URL on GoDaddy and redirect it to your TimeTrade account. Offer it to everyone you would like to speak with and watch your appointments skyrocket!