handling linkedin requests

Three Things to Ask Yourself Before You Accept a LinkedIn Connection Request

As you probably know by now, LinkedIn is one of my favorite lead generation and networking platforms. There are several reasons for this:

  • It is business related. Most people know that you should only conduct business activity on LinkedIn, which means no cute pictures of your cat or of you getting wasted at a party. It is an understood rule that this platform is for business people to connect, network and potentially partner.
  • We see most of our website traffic coming from LinkedIn, plus about 80% of our leads come from it. That’s very different than Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – a much better ROI for our efforts.
  • Plus, people are open to sharing business tips, connections, recommendations and other activities to help others grow. I love that!

When LinkedIn first launched, there was a mentality that you:

A: Only connect with people with whom you work, worked or went to school.

B: Only used it when you were in the job market or recruiting.

Over the years, however, the social networking platform has evolved. It seems that LinkedIn wants people to network and utilize all the perks to grow your community and ultimately, use it as a CRM (Sales Navigator). You have the ability to connect on the first level with up to 30,000 people! Do you have a strategy for this yet?

Know When to Accept the LinkedIn Connection Request

yes or no woman deciding

First, let’s be clear – you don’t have to accept every connection request, nor do you need to follow LI’s suggested “people you may know” for connections. So, how do you know which requests to accept? Here are the three things I ask myself:

Are they in my industry (competitors) or my target industry (prospects)?

I get about a dozen or so LinkedIn connection requests every day. It still surprises me when I see my competitors asking me to connect…Ahem. Um… Mr. Competitor, why do you want to connect with me? No offense, but I don’t want to connect with you unless one of the following is true:

  • You offer a complimentary service which I may wish to offer my clients
  • You have a tool or resource that can help me be better at servicing my clients
  • You are not targeting the same industry as I am. For instance, if you target the fashion industry, I wouldn’t mind connecting, because I do not work with that industry.
  • Your business has a skill, service or resource which I can hire you to fulfill behind the scenes.

It’s the same in every industry. If you’re a Realtor, why would you want to connect with other Realtors? If you are an event photographer, why connect with other photographers?? Why wouldn’t you want to connect with your target audience?

I suggest you take some time to consider who that target audience is and refine your behavior accordingly. Check out our article to learn how and why to clean your LinkedIn connections.

It’s OK to click the “ignore” option when viewing the request. Just don’t be an ass and click the “I don’t know this person”. That can get the other person temporarily banned and there’s no need to do it unless they are stalking you. But that’s a whole different blog topic!

Now, I do realize that LinkedIn encourages these types of connections. But you must realize they have an algorithm that automatically suggests connections based on your title, industry, current connections and behaviors. You have our permission to be a rebel and use that algorithm to your advantage!

Can they help me or I them?

The real reason for networking on LinkedIn is to find people who either need your product/service or can help you be better at the things you do. There should be a reason to connect on one side or the other, or even better, on both sides. Example: I had a Realtor reach out to me for web design help and she ended up selling me a home in my new location. See how synergistic it can be?

On the other hand, if someone from the oil industry is just trolling for babes or gives out the creeper vibe, that is NOT synergistic. (True story…several times over!)

If there is no obvious opportunity to collaborate, learn from, sell to, buy from, or shoot the breeze with the person, don’t connect.

Are they in a desired, targeted location for your business?

Finally, if you are a location-based only business in the US, why would you accept a connection request from someone far away, such as Africa or China? But if you are an international business who can work with anyone anywhere, this type of connection may make sense.

This goes back to your target audience. When you truly know with whom you want to do business, it’s easy to say yes or no to a connection request.

Remember –  it’s not the volume of connections in your LinkedIn account, but rather, the quality. Ten perfectly targeted connections with a high possibility of closing is far better than one thousand connections you don’t stand a chance to do business with.

Want to speak to one of our team members to see how we can help you grow your targeted connections? Feel free to schedule a time via our online calendar. Or, better yet, get started by completing our LinkedIn discovery form here. 

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