One of the best and simplest ways to network is by connecting with people on LinkedIn. But your request can be politely declined, ignored, or even marked as spam if you don't do it right. So, here's how to write a great email introduction on LinkedIn.
First and foremost, understand you are not the only person requesting a connection. You are one of many, so be polite, professional, include context as to why you are requesting a connection, and, most importantly, include a mention about how the person or their business has helped you or someone you know.
As an example, imagine you are at a dinner party and a stranger walks up to you and shares how grateful they are that you are working on the financial plan for a close relative, and how much more relaxed and happier their relative is after meeting with you. Would you shake their hand? Would you want to talk a bit more and learn about them? Would you be happy that you and your team made an impact on their relatives’ life? The answer is likes yes, yes, and yes. That is a LinkedIn connection in a nutshell. You are the stranger, and you want to ingratiate the recipient without expecting anything in return.
The first impression in any relationship sets the narrative for future engagement. Your LinkedIn connection request is your chance at making a great first impression.
Identify Something Unique About the Person or Their Business.
Maybe they just acquired a new business, got published, won an award, are considered a pillar of their community for fundraising/charity, etc. You are a stranger reaching out, but you can establish a level of trust almost immediately by acknowledging their achievement or sharing a similar achievement. Spend some time researching the individual that you want to connect with. Look at their LinkedIn profile for clues about interests, recent achievement, posts they published, employment history -- you may be familiar with a company they worked earlier in their career.
Be clear about who you are and personalize the message.
Don’t send the canned LinkedIn request that states: "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." Instead, say, “Hi Dan. I have been a customer of your business for 10 years and I want to say thank you for delivering such a valuable service.”
Avoid sending mass requests
Do not send a LinkedIn message to everyone you know. You'll be unprofessional, and the messages will come across as canned because there is no way you can research something about 300 people. Instead, take the time to learn about each person you are going to contact and personalize each connection request.
Keep it short and sweet
A few sentences are enough. When writing your request, ask yourself: Will this person read any more than what I've written? If the answer is yes, then stop at that point and move on. Never write a novel to someone you don't know.
Be clear about why you're asking for the connection
When asking for a connection, be specific and thoughtful. To expand on the request above:
Is everyone that receives that connection request going to accept it? Not everyone, but an incredibly high percent will not only accept, but will even respond!
Give value before asking for anything in return
Do not ask for a “favor” until you've given something of yourself first. How can someone help you if they don't know who you are? Share your blog posts, links to your work, whatever it is that you're proud of. Spare five minutes to help someone else out first and your requests won't feel like an inconvenience (and they'll be more likely to accept). And do not ever mention that you would like to offer a free consultation, talk about other clients like them that you have helped, or describe your services. The connection request is about building trust and rapport, not about front-loading how you can offer financial advice.
It’s always important to be professional and tactful when reaching out to someone, whether it be in a face-to-face meeting or through a LinkedIn connection request. A polite request is one that is pertinent, personalized, professional, and praiseful. When crafting your next LinkedIn connection request, make sure you keep these things in mind.