I know, you’re reading this post in eager anticipation that maybe, just this time, the headline that lured you in will be true and if you scroll down this page, just a little further, you’ll find that nugget. You’re looking for that gem, that will provide you with the keys to unlock the door, which, so far, has prevented any of your LinkedIn messages from winning you a single piece of business!
Let me get right to it – here’s the message: “Hi Jane, I came across your profile today and wondered if you’d be happy to connect? Steve.” That’s it, this is the message that will increase your chances of turning that connection into a new customer worth thousands.
Disappointed? Were you hoping it was going to be a sexier message? Maybe with some killer keywords included? Let me tell you, if you’ve been on LinkedIn for a while and you haven’t yet received that magical, killer invitation to connect or follow up message – it doesn’t exist!
Why People Will Accept Your Connection Request
People will accept your invitation if:
- They like the look of your profile and your headline appears relevant
- You’ve written them a personalized, non-salesy invitation message
- They just happen to accept anyone and everyone
It’s no more scientific than that. There’s much evidence to support that LinkedIn users will generally accept your invitation, whether you include a personalized invitation or not. But if you really want this invitation message to convert a prospect into a client, then recognize this: It’s not about winning a connection, it’s about how you start a relationship.
You Need to Build Your KLT Factor
Sales is sales – it’s never really going to change. You can have the best product in the world, but if I don’t Know anything about you or your company, I decide I don’t Like you and, after time, I don’t feel I can Trust you, then it’s game over – you are not going to sell me ice, especially if I am an Eskimo!
Know, Like and Trust is your selling currency on LinkedIn.
How to Build a Relationship on LinkedIn that Turns Into New Business
Imagine you’re on a date – you meet the potential future love of your life and, as the first nervous pecks on the cheek are exchanged, your date turns to you and says; “Once we’ve had this drink shall we go to my place?” What?!! Which dating shows have you been watching?!!
Maybe that example sounds a bit extreme. However, I can assure you that this approach happens all the time on LinkedIn: “Thanks for connecting, can I book a coffee with you?” Or, “Thanks for connecting, how about we jump on a phone call this afternoon?!” Or “Let me ramble on, in this 5 paragraph LinkedIn message, (which I know you don’t have the time to read but what the heck, I’m here now!), while I tell you all about our company and this amazing product I think you’ll be interested in”.
I know you’ve received such messages and I know you hate them. So, here’s a better way, one that will offer you the keys to LinkedIn success, if you’re prepared to build your KLT (Know, like, and trust) factor first.
The 4 Steps to Sending the Right Messages on LinkedIn
Step 1: The personalized invitation. You choose – you can go down the simple polite route I mentioned above: “Hi Jane, I came across your profile today and wondered if you’d be happy to connect? Steve” or this approach: “Hi Jane, I came across your profile today and was particularly impressed by the article you published about (enter topic), would you be open to connect? Steve.”
The second example is very similar to the first, only this time you enter an important (to them) piece of information you found on their profile. You’re letting them know that you have taken the time to look at their profile and referenced something they are probably proud of. This approach must, however, be used authentically and, the more specific about the point of reference you can be, the better. Simply saying, “I think you have a great profile” doesn’t cut it! Done right, then you’re already on the way to building know, like, and trust with your new connection.
Step 2: Thank you for connecting. Once you have made the connection, you have to follow up. Your main aim has to be to engage with your new connection in a conversation. Failing that, your goal must be to add value. The following message delivers both outcomes:
Many thanks for connecting, it’s great to have you in my network.
Now that we’re connected, one of the best ways to get to know me is probably through the content I share. Here’s a recent article I published about how to reduce processing costs in your business by getting your team to deliver the right project solutions, in the right sequence (add shortened link).
I hope you find the article useful & please feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks again. I look forward to keeping in touch.
With best regards,
Let’s break this message down:
- It’s polite and friendly
- It focuses on building a relationship first (“get to know me”)
- It provides value in the form of the (highly relevant) article
- It closes with no hint of a coffee, a meeting (a date), or a sale
Step 3: Now what?
Following receipt of your ‘thanks for connecting’ message, your new connection will do one of three things:
- Thank you for your message and say they enjoyed your article – possibly leaving a public comment.
- Won’t reply but will view your article and then leave a like or a comment.
- They’ll apparently do nothing – they won’t reply or like and comment on your article. However, there’s every possibility they will read the content.
However, Step 3 does require you to further follow up. This time though, you’re going to be a little more direct, as follows:
I hope you found the article I sent you useful. Now that we’ve been connected for a few days, I wanted to explain that in my role as (insert role), I help businesses just like yours to reduce processing costs by as much as 40%.
I would love to learn a bit more about how you currently manage process costs in your company and to see if I can achieve similar savings for you.
At step 3, you’re pushing the envelope slightly. You’re still not going for the call or a meeting but you are encouraging response and hopefully, one where your connection thinks; “I’d like to achieve that kind of savings” and in turn replies:
“Hi Steve, I’m curious, perhaps we can arrange a call?” Of course, this would be the dream reply but we know that not every story has a happy ending.
Playing the Long Game
The messages I have shared with you in this article have been proven to work and at least one of these has been inspired by a LinkedIn connection of mine Daniel Disney and his book THE MILLION-POUND LINKEDIN MESSAGE.
However, there is no one message template that will work for everyone 100% of the time. What I hope you take away from this article is that, in order to be successful, when attempting to engage with potential new clients on LinkedIn, you must aim to build a relationship first and avoid, at all cost, overtly selling and promoting your services at the early stage of any relationship.
So, what is ‘Playing the long game?’ Depending on the responses you do or don’t receive to your messages, here is a summary of possible approaches you can apply:
- Positive response: Engage in further conversation until you feel the relationship is in a good enough place to suggest a call or a meeting
- Minimal or zero response: If the connection is actively posting or commenting on LinkedIn (you’ll see this from the ‘Articles and activity’ section of their profile, then look for opportunities to build more know, like, and trust by engaging with their activity. Then, in time, message them again.
- Minimal or zero response: Schedule to periodically message them with some further useful content that is relevant to their business, their role, or to them personally. Don’t bombard them – once a month or even once a quarter might be appropriate but do follow up.
- Minimal or zero response: If this continues to happen, don’t complain that LinkedIn isn’t working – you now have their name, you know what they look like, you have background information, and insights about them from their profile, all of which is worth a fortune. Create a brilliant letter, make a phone call to them, send them an email, but don’t give up just because they haven’t responded to you on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is just one tool in your brand awareness and sales strategy toolbox. It requires every bit of your focus just as email marketing, telesales, and traditional networking does or it simply won’t work.
During the past 10 years, I’ve attracted some of the largest companies in the world to use my training services. I’ve achieved this by having a daily routine of: responding personally to those inviting me to connect, engage with those who comment on my posts, inviting (relevant) people to connect who have viewed my profile, and by commenting and liking on content shared by those people in my network I’d like to keep in touch with. I undertake these actions daily.
What’s your plan?
This article has been reprinted with permission from Steve Phillip’s LinkedIn page.