How To Connect Successfully With Your Prospect On LinkedIn

Here’s an example of how someone lost a good business opportunity on LinkedIn4431
I was running a social media training course for printing companies recently.  During the course, a finishing company sent one of the delegates an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.  When the delegate accepted, he immediately received a message trying to sell him the finishing company’s services.
The delegate’s response was understandable. “I won’t be placing any business with someone who approaches me like that”. When we discussed this further, he stated that he would have been prepared to consider talking to the finishing company, but only if the approach had been less sales-focussed.
There is an important lesson here.
It is vital to connect with prospects on LinkedIn the right way
If you do this, you are much more likely to build the relationship that you want.  It’s the key to controlling a powerful sales pipeline.
Many people that connect with me on LinkedIn fail to engage me properly.  They leave me wondering why  they bothered to invite me to join their network in the first place.
Here are three steps that are important if you want to create a worthwhile connection on LinkedIn.
Send a personal message
The majority of invitations that I receive simply use the standard LinkedIn template.  If you are really trying to establish a relationship with me, surely it is worth the effort to send me something a little more personal?
Sending a standard LinkedIn message also sends a message that you are not serious about creating a worthwhile connection.
There’s one important element you should include in your message.
Tell the prospect why they should connect
What is it about the prospect that has caught your attention?  Why did you want to connect with them?
Do you have similar networks?  Do you have a business idea you want to share with them?  Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that they looked at your profile recently?
A personal message, together with a reason to connect, should be enough to make sure that many people will accept your invitation to connect.  But their acceptance is not the end of the connection process.
Send a follow up message when you connect
I always thank someone for connecting.  In my message I include:
1. A thank you for connecting (or a statement that I am delighted to join their network if they invited me)
2. An offer of assistance if they ever need it
3. My personal e-mail address
4. My other social media connection details
You may also wish to include a small call to action.  For instance, I suggest that they might like to download some free resources from my website.
You are now well on the way to creating a worthwhile social media relationship.  However, remember one thing.
This is just the beginning of the relationship
It’s time to start nurturing your contact.  It’s important to engage with them on a regular, on-going basis.
If only the finishing company had followed this course of action. They might have ended up winning some good business from my delegate at the social media workshop.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a larger series on how to effectively utilize LinkedIn for prospecting and sales:

Matthew Parker has been buying print for over 20 years. He’s had over 1,400 sales pitches from printers. Now he’s using that experience to help printing companies engage with their customers and sell print more profitably.  Find out more about Matthew on his siteDownload his e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them” for free here, and also check out his latest e-book “How to Use Social Media to Create Warm Prospects” for free here

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