Every week, I get multiple requests from folks who want to connect with me on LinkedIn. I don’t know 90% of these professionals. More often than not, they are members of product management or other LinkedIn groups that I belong to readers of this blog. I typically accept these connection requests unless your profile does not impress me (typically sales people for products that I don’t have any use for).
More often than not (98.6734% to be precise :-)) these requests use the default text “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. If you are doing this with people who do not know well, then I think you are making a mistake when you are networking. Why? Here are three reasons:
1) You are a complete stranger to me. I don’t know anything about you and I don’t have the time to do work to find out who you are (remember I have to click on the email link to get to LinkedIn, click on your name to read your profile to find something about you, get back to your request and then accept it). Too many friction points to overcome.
2) I am thinking ROI here and see none when I get a request with the default text. What is in it for me to connect with you? Why should I invest my time? If I don’t know who you are, I don’t know if I can be of help to you or you can be of help to me in the future.
3) If you cannot take 2 minutes to make a sincere networking request and that too to a complete stranger, it tells me only two things – you are either lazy and/or unprofessional.
I may be accepting requests from total strangers (software product managers or readers of this blog), but I think you will be better off not doing this with others. So instead, do the following – Tell me how you found me, tell me something cool about yourself (keep it professional, LinkedIn is nothing but a professional network). Give me something that I can appreciate of you, something that will help me differentiate you from others. For example, often my network connections reach out to me asking me if I know someone who would fit a particular job description they are looking to fill. If I can remember something about you, I maybe able to make the connection between the recruiter and you – which is what networking is all about.
PS: Only time I tend to use the default text in the requests I make is when I know someone very well – a friend or a colleague that requires no introduction. Even in these cases, I tend to start on a personal note with “Hope all is well….”
Do you agree? Thoughts?