If you’re serious about leveraging LinkedIn to fill your sales pipeline, the very first step in the social selling process is the connection invitation.
If you make a mistake during this first step, no other strategies will matter, because without getting the connection acceptance first, you won’t have an opportunity for further interaction. This is why the connection invitation is critical for social selling success on LinkedIn.
Recently, I interviewed several LinkedIn experts and I am going to share with you…
5 LinkedIn Connection Mistakes and What You Can Do To Avoid Them
Mistake #1: Just Clicking The “Connect” Button
Instead of just clicking the “connect” button, leading social selling expert, Brynne Tillman, recommends adding a personal note to each LinkedIn connection invite for three main reasons. First, adding a personal note, people are 5 times more likely to accept an invite and are 8 times more likely to look at your profile, so this makes you much more relevant. Another important reason is that a personal note documents when and why you sent the invitation, right in your LinkedIn message inbox. And lastly, when you send a personal note in a connection invitation, you get notified in the message tab or inbox when they accept, making it easier to respond with a welcome message.
Do This Instead: Add A Personal Note
To increase engagement with your new connections, Brynne recommends sending a welcoming personal note that includes two things; something of value like a blog post or insight, and posing a question to spark a conversation. If you provide value that leads them to you and your solution, you’re leveraging LinkedIn and social selling at its core.
Mistake #2: Not Looking At Their Profile Ahead of Time
A mistake LinkedIn coach, Cathy Yerges, sees is sending an invite without looking at the person’s profile first. By looking at the profile ahead of time, you’ll also be able to verify if the person is, in fact, a good prospect or connection.
Do This Instead: Review Their Profile
Cathy notes that in addition to determining if the person is worth connecting with, there is another benefit of reviewing their profile ahead of time. LinkedIn will notify the person that you viewed their profile, which begins to cultivate the “know” aspect of the “know, like and trust” equation.
Mistake #3: Being Too General
While talking with LinkedIn strategist, Judi Hays, a common mistake she sees when sending an invite is being too general in your connection message and not giving some context as to why you want to connect. By being too general, you just blend in with everyone else.
Do This Instead: Personalize Your Invites
Judi recommends first personally reviewing the person’s profile and looking for some commonalities. This could be common connections, schools, workplaces, skills or interests. In addition to mentioning the commonalities, share why you want to connect in the first place. Authenticity goes a long way. No matter what, always personalize your invites.
Mistake #4: Using Automated Bots
Cathy Yerges sees too many LinkedIn users utilizing automated bots to do their connecting. Here’s an example of why automated bots miss the mark versus human interaction. If you enter “president” of companies with a headcount of 500 or more into a bot system, the search will come up with results like “President of Delta Sigma Pi” or “President of your local chamber”, which may be off target.
Do This Instead: Personally Review Their Profile
To improve relevance and accuracy, always personally review the person’s profile ahead of time. Plus, using automated bots violates LinkedIn’s user agreement, which you can read here.
If you would like to know more about the risks of using LinkedIn automation, we recently wrote a full article on this topic called “Why LinkedIn Automatic Lead Generation Isn’t Worth It”. Click here to read the full article.
Mistake #5: Being Too Salesy
A common mistake that LinkedIn leads expert, Caroline Hearn, observes in connection invite messages is being too sales-oriented or long. Before typing a connection invitation message, put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. If you were to receive a sales pitch from a person or company you never met before, how likely would you be to hit “accept”? Not likely at all. In this case you don’t know the person, so it’s unlikely that you’ll like or trust them enough to buy.
Do This Instead: Send A Short Introduction
Short and non-salesy messages that introduce you to your prospective connection are much more successful. Remember, being connected on LinkedIn is about being of service to others first, not sales first. How can you help others in your network? Through education, introductions, industry insights, and recommendations you become a valued networking partner. This leads the way to sales when you understand enough about your contact to offer solutions to their needs.
Here’s an example of a connection message Caroline recommends:
Hi [their NAME], I am the [your title] at [your company name]. I am looking to expand my network in the [geographical area or industry]. I think you would be a great connection to have. Thanks, [your NAME]
Again, the connection invitation is critical first step in the social selling process on LinkedIn. If you avoid these five common LinkedIn connection mistakes, you will be on your way to leveraging LinkedIn to fill your your sales pipeline.
RevGrow is a B2B LinkedIn Marketing and Lead Generation firm based in Dallas, but proudly serves clients throughout the United States. RevGrow specializes in helping business owners, consulting firms and sales professionals grow their revenue by generating a steady flow of qualified leads and targeted C-level appointments, while positioning you as the authority in your field and someone prospects will know, like and trust. You can connect with RevGrow on LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.