Let’s face it, most of us hate those dreaded cold call LinkedIn connection requests. I’m not talking about requesting an introduction through a mutual LinkedIn connection. I’m referring to individuals who are obviously poaching certain companies or areas of expertise, then just hitting the connect button.
Here are a few suggestions on how to become a REAL connection:
1. Study up
Does your target connection belong to a professional association? Did he/she announce they are going to an event via social media?
Go where they go, but don’t be a stalker! The last thing you want to do is make your encounter uncomfortable. Also, think about what you will say when you introduce yourself. Starting a conversation with, “Hi, I’m Jim and I’ve been lurking on your LinkedIn profile. Will you buy promo from me?” probably isn’t a good opening line.
2. Pick up the phone and call or write an email
I know, both of these suggestions seem archaic, but sometimes they work. Both of these require a certain tone, so don’t put on your sales voice. Be professional, yet approachable. Sounding like a telemarketer will probably get you nowhere. Always think in terms of what you would respond to if you were the recipient of the call or email.
Listening and true interest in your target connection is key. Don’t be “that” person staring with glazed eyes or looking around the room for a more important person. Take genuine interest and create engaging conversation.
4. Follow up
This step is one of the most important, yet least used. Follow up with an email, phone call or note card. This is classic business etiquette that has been pushed to the point of extinction.