Let’s Stamp Out the Generic LinkedIn Invitation!

Perhaps I’m just being hopeful that after you read this post you will NEVER EVER send another generic LinkedIn invitation again. Maybe, just maybe we can sweep the electronic universe clean and never see another one in our own inboxes again!

hidy illus

Even when they aren’t spam, they sure feel like it, don’t they?

Here is what is wrong

  • There is no greeting; it doesn’t have to be a formal “Dear” but please have a “Hi” or “Hello” to start off the invitation.

  • It isn’t personal; for goodness sake after the greeting type in the person’s name! If you don’t know them personally but only virtually from social media, check out the recommendations on their page – if their name is Robert but everyone uses Rob in the recommendations, use Rob.

  • The message itself leaves the recipient thinking “How do I know this person?” or “Why do they want to connect here?” Take a moment and remind them how they know you! I might be a stickler, but even if I’m on the phone with someone when I’m sending the invitation – I will ask, “is it ok to use the generic message and send you a connection request right now while we are talking?” If they say no, I write “Hi Joe, we’re on the phone right now and agreed to connect. Cheers, Lynn”

  • Please tell them why connecting is a good idea for both of you. What reason do you have for being connected on LinkedIn? How will it help them? — as well as what next action could be expected.

The crazy part is that even when you haven’t met the person outside of the LinkedIn universe, a bit of personalization makes all the difference in the world. Here is one I received AND accepted from someone I don’t know “in real life” but have started to build a LinkedIn relationship with, that may lead to collaboration in the future.

That wasn’t long and I’d guess it wasn’t difficult to write. It could be even better; specify which LinkedIn group you have in common and perhaps what comment the person made that initiated the connection request.

Depending on where you are on the LinkedIn site, you’ll see a few different things when you hit “connect.” From many places on LinkedIn a place to customize shows up immediately:

Other times there is an extra step before you can customize the note.  Unfortunately the Send Invitation button is much larger and easier to hit without thinking than the pencil to “Add a personal message.”  Make sure you STOP, THINK, and PERSONALIZE before sending the invitation to connect.

This may sound strange, but many times we seem to forget that making a connection on social media is as personal as making one in person. If you were to meet someone for the second time, face to face at a networking event, you would say hello, use their name, remind them of when you’d met before/how you know each other, and remind them of your name; LinkedIn connection requests are no different.

  • Make it personal, they are a person — not just an electronic profile.
  • Make it unique, each relationship we have in business is different make them feel important.
  • Make it easy to accept, you don’t want your invitation to be sitting in their inbox while they figure out why to accept or worse like the one at the beginning of this post waiting for them to choose Ignore; which I did after using the image for this post.

If you’d like to learn more on The Fundamentals of LinkedIn you can check out the eBook I collaborated with The Bridge Group on. It goes into your Profile, Connections, Groups, and using Search for prospecting.

Lynn Hidy, founder of UpYourTeleSales.com is the specialist at creating profitable telesales sales people and organizations. Lynn knows you can make six figures over the phone – she does!  Working together you will learn to create a phone experience where they will forget you aren’t actually having a cup of coffee together.

Illustration: Starfall Skirmisher by Tikos