According to LinkedIn, the acceptance rate for blank requests to connect is 20% to 30%, while a connection request accompanied by a message stands at 80% to 90%. Drafting a request-to-connect message is critical to increasing your odds of connecting with your target prospects, being a sales consultant looking for a client, or a job searcher reaching out to a recruiter or a hiring manager.
1. Start With A Great Subject Line.
The subject line is the gateway that determines whether your message will be read, responded to, and desirable action is taken. The subject line should motivate the prospect to read, accept and respond to your request to connect. Urgency, curiosity, personalization, and relevance are some of the features of a great subject line. Before drafting the subject line, think about the following relevant questions:
- Do I know the recipient?
- Why do I want to connect with the prospect?
- What advice, opinion, or resource do I need from the prospect?
- Is the recipient a stranger with who I hope to connect?
- What is my value proposition to the prospect? What can they gain from my relationship?
After outlining these questions, draft a subject line that provides an answer to the question. For instance, if you want to connect with former colleagues, the subject line should mention the company where you both worked. If you want to connect with an individual you met at a networking event, your subject line should reference the event in question.
Remember, the subject line aims to entice the recipient’s curiosity and make them open the message, read, and respond accordingly, e.g., by accepting your connection request.
2. Establish common ground with the target prospect/connection
How do you know the prospect? Did you read an email and find it interesting? Are you in the same field or industry? Or do you share the same interests on LinkedIn?
Finding common ground is the easiest way to convince a prospect to accept your request to connect.
Remember, being a professional social network, most people join LinkedIn to learn, network, improve their skills and have fun. When establishing the common ground, you should show the prospect that your connection will benefit them.
Always strive to focus on the other person, not yourself. For instance, instead of mentioning that you want to connect to learn from them, you can focus the conversation on the prospect by saying that you want to connect to share knowledge and skills for mutual benefit.
In today’s competitive environment, customers have many options, and they stick with a provider when they have a personal connection. Establishing a personal connection from the onset of a relationship is critical in laying the foundation for a long-term relationship. So how do you develop common ground with customers?
- Make your customers feel valued; this implies showing interest in their business, their customers, the general business environment, and always offering advice and opinion on improving the business operation.
- Listen and be observant to both verbal and non-verbal communication. For instance, if they shared something about a sick child on their profile, be emphatic and ask how the child is doing and, if possible, offer encouraging words. Remember, at this point, you don’t have an established relationship with the prospect, thus don’t ask for personal information.
- Be honest; this is the foundation of any relationship. If the prospect is a stranger you want to connect with, don’t lie that you met at a networking event. If your first touchpoint is based on a lie, you will be forced to keep lying to sustain the relationship.
3. Introduce Yourself
Think of LinkedIn as a networking event. If you were at a networking event and saw a prospect you wish to connect with, would you walk up to the prospect and start pitching? Probably not, and you shouldn’t do so on LinkedIn. Briefly introduce yourself and what you do. A message like;
‘Hi, my name is Clara, and I am a contributing author at Forbes’ is better than ‘Hi, I loved your last article about financial modeling in cryptocurrency.’
Introducing yourself is the best way to establish trust and credibility from the onset and a great way to show that you respect your prospects’ time. They shouldn’t have to check your profile to know the person they are connecting with.
4. Tell The Prospect Why You Want To Connect
Out of the 740 million LinkedIn users, there is a reason you were drawn to this one individual; make the prospect know the reason. Why are you drawn to the prospect? Do they have a particular skill that you would like to employ? Are you looking to convert the prospect to a client? Or do you want to expand your network with the people in your industry?
Regardless of your reasons for wanting to connect, at this step, ensure that you focus on the prospect and why the connection will be more beneficial to them. For instance, if you want to convert the connection to a client, don’t mention it on the request to connect message.
Imagine receiving a request to connect message like this;
‘Want more sales? Call us; we can double your revenue within a month or give you your money back.’
Would you accept a connection request from such a person? Probably not! According to Forbes, this is the easiest way to put off a potential prospect and have your request to connect declined. The foot–in–the–door hawker or salesman is one of the most intrusive and persuasive marketers who can make your LinkedIn experience less desirable. The best way to spot such a salesperson is from the initial request to connect message.
While drafting your request to connect message, avoid the temptation to be the foot-in-the-door salesman. Give your prospect a reason to connect without being overly persuasive, aggressive, and intrusive.
5. Say Thank You
Your message is not complete without expressing your gratitude to the prospect for taking their time to read your message. Further, thanking the prospect in advance for agreeing to connect is a great way to show your enthusiasm in establishing a relationship with them.
Keep the message short, personal, and value-driven. This is a great moment to share if you have something to offer the prospect, like an eBook or a link to a session that you have organized.
By sharing something valuable in your request to connect message, you show your prospect that they have something useful to gain from the connection. Remember, on LinkedIn, like in life, you get what you give. If you give prospects value for their time, you are likely to receive the same.
The first step towards building a successful relationship on LinkedIn is connecting with the right prospects. Using these tips, you can increase your odds of connecting with the ideal target prospects and bring them connection one step closer to becoming paying customers.