Does someone want to connect with you on LinkedIn? Do you get messages like these:
“It looks like you’re doing some pretty amazing things with storytelling.”
“I’d love to learn more about your journey to success.”
“Let’s get to know each other better.”
I’m getting lots of messages like that. Somebody’s sharing a template. So I played detective…i.e., googled “How to write LinkedIn welcome messages.”
Sure enough, up popped several posts from “experts.” I’m going to omit their names because I’m not into finger-pointing and business-owner-bashing. Not that I’m not tempted…
Here’s what one suggested:
It was amazing meeting you at [event] and learning about your company. The conversation on [related topic] was pretty interesting and knowledgeable. I am looking forward to knowing more about you and your exciting role.
I recently read your LinkedIn article on [topic name]. Your thoughts on [mention key takeaways from the article] are amazing and I totally agree with you. Being new to this [city name], I’d love to keep in touch with you and learn more about your work and ideas.
Another “foolproof” template goes like this:
“Hi [name] – I’m a huge fan of what you’re doing.”
Please avoid these templates like the plague. They are insulting.
it’s like an outdated sales conversation where the salesperson was trained to find a way to give you a compliment. Someone says, “What a pretty blue sweater!” and you’re supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy…when you know they’re trying to sell.
Am I supposed to believe you really think I’m “amazing” based on what you wrote in the welcome message?
So what to do instead?
Option 1 – Just send a request with no message.
Or send an honest one-liner: “Your name came up and after a quick look at your profile, I think it makes sense to connect.” You get credit for being sincere and honest.
Or you could find something we have in common. “I notice you went to UC Berkeley. I’m from California…” You get credit for taking ten seconds to learn more about me.
It’s a big negative when you ask a question that’s answered right on my Home Page or About Page.
If you’re really curious about my “journey,” did you visit my website and look up my About Page? Anyway, why do you care about my journey if you don’t know anything about me?
I’ll just go look at your profile. If you seem to be an active business owner I’ll probably say yes. If you’re only posting personal stuff, or if you’re in an area of business I can’t imagine connecting with, I won’t connect.
Frankly, if I don’t know you, and there’s no obvious reason to connect, there’s not much you can say at this point that will make a difference.
Some people say yes to everybody and wait to see if there’s trouble later. Those who carefully select connections will look up your profile and maybe your website; they won’t rely on a single message.
Option 2 – Be very, very specific.
“Cathy, I saw you believe small businesses can’t brand like Budweiser or Nike. As a small business myself [or as a consultant who works with small businesses], I agree with you. “
It doesn’t matter what you say as long as it’s specific. If you compliment me on my blog posts, refer to one or two – and show you’ve read them, not just skimmed the titles.
How do you know my blog posts are “amazing” if you haven’t read past the title?
And if you’re using the plural form, did you read more than one?
If you really think I’m amazing, why don’t you head over to my website and maybe download a lead magnet or two? Then you come back to LI and identify yourself as a new subscriber. That’s what I do when I run across an amazing business owner.
Don’t include a call to action unless you have a specific suggestion.
Are you going to invite me to be on your podcast or write a guest post? Terrific!
Do you want to be a guest on my podcast? First, review my podcasts to see how often I use guests, what kind of guests I like, and what we talk about. Then make your pitch.
Do you want to sell my products as an affiliate? Terrific! Tell me how you work with affiliates.
Do you have products for me to sell as an affiliate? Give me some evidence of credibility, if I don’t know you.
In particular, don’t suggest we “jump on a call and learn about each other’s businesses.” Spend 10-15 minutes on my website. Hop over and listen to a couple of episodes on the podcast.
Too much work? I totally get it. But if you’re seriously interested in exploring collaborative opportunities, don’t you want to know something about me before you initiate a request?
Let’s face it: Most LI connections are just that: connections. It’s perfectly fine if you want to be another one.