Many people on LinkedIn do not know how to maximize the odds of getting a positive reply to their requests.
They ask for too much, too early in a relationship and don’t offer any value in return or are at least very bad at communicating their value proposition.
DON’T DO THIS
I have received almost ten thousand connection requests on LinkedIn by now. Many of them look similar to one of these:
“Can we hop on a quick 60-minute call? I want to pick your brain and ask you a couple of questions about my LinkedIn strategy. ”
“I published a new article. Can you please read it and send me recommendations on how to improve it?”
“Can you take a look at my LinkedIn profile and tell me how to optimize it?”
“I want to be able to send you questions about LinkedIn.”
“I strongly believe that being connected to you will be very beneficial to me!” (Seriously?)
LIMITATIONS OF SOCIAL NETWORKS AND ONLINE COMMUNICATION
I get it why people are excited about the idea that I can help them with their LinkedIn challenge.
What you have to keep in mind is that LinkedIn is a social network. It is not a face to face meeting. I cannot see someone’s body language, hear the tonality of their voice or pay attention to facial expressions. All that I have are written words and those usually sound a lot harsher to the other person than you meant them if you do not get the subtle nuances right.
Even though it may feel different, we start as strangers online until we have deepened our relationships. Don’t ask for too much too early in a relationship! Many people usually underestimate entirely how the other person perceives the size of their request. “It is just a tiny little favor!” Well, usually it is not!
Rule of thumb: The deeper the relationship, the smaller the perception of a favor.
So what can you do to improve your odds? The solution is very simple:
FOLLOW A VALUE FIRST APPROACH
Never start with what you WANT, always OFFER value first.
Here are a few things that you could do:
✓ Engage with articles and posts. Like, share and leave meaningful comments.
✓ Do your research. Read their profile. Learn as much as you can. What are they working on? What are they looking for? Based on these information brainstorm ideas about how you can fill any of these needs.
✓ Never ask “Please let me know how can I help you or how can I be of value?”. This is just lazy. You are forcing the recipient, who does not know anything about you, to figure it out. Usually, they do not bother to research if they are too busy.
Instead: Do your homework and offer something SPECIFIC that you can provide based on everything you learned about the other person!
HOW TO PROVIDE VALUE TO THEM
Although it is undoubtedly the most straightforward approach with the least amount of resistance, you do not always have to trade favors for money.
Here are a few ideas that might be very valuable to someone:
✓ Can you make an introduction to someone who would be of value to them?
✓ Can you get someone on the guest list of an exciting event?
✓ Can you feature them on your blog or podcast?
✓ Can you teach them something?
✓ Can you volunteer your time?
✓ Can you do a skill swap?
When you present your value proposition remember: The perceived value that you give to the other person should always be larger than the value you are asking for in return!
If you are interested in a large Value, but only have several small Values to offer, consider stacking them.
Always have a backup plan with alternative ideas.