Do You Make This LinkedIn Mistake?

Is there a LinkedIn connection  request from a stranger staring back at you on your computer?  Many people I know aren’t sure how to respond when those pesky invites come in. Some click Ignore, while others simply accept, thinking to themselves, “Well, it will boost my numbers, and that’s a good thing.”

Neither response above is the ideal approach. By clicking Ignore, you may pass up an opportunity. By blindly accepting the connection request, you’re taking a “Collecter” rather than a “Connector” approach to growing your network.  The drawback as a “Collector” is you have a whole lot of unhelpful, cold connections in your network. In a pinch, those simply won’t do, right?cold to warm1

As I said in my last blog, warm relationships aren’t created with one click. It takes time, energy and thoughtfulness  to create the “know, like, trust” factor  essential for client engagement. As Tom Bukacek tweeted recently: “If people like you they’ll listen to you. If they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

What can you do to transform a cold connection request into a warm one?

(Note: You can only do this on your Smart phone, where the “Reply” option is available. It’s not available on your PC). It looks like this on my iPhone:

Reply_Connection request


Here is how I’ve had success,  in two easy steps:

1. View their profile and find something in common.

Perhaps it’s a LinkedIn Group you both belong to, an interest you both share, a city you both lived in, a college you both attended. Find like-mindedness, to pave the way for connection.

2. Hit the Reply arrow

Here’s how I replied recently to “Sabrina” (and pay no attention to that silly typo question mark in first line):

to J reply 2

Here is what Sabrina wrote back:

J reply to me 3

I was thrilled to receive this! Not only did she wipe out the anonymity factor and become more “real,” but she taught me how I can be of value to her.

Guess what my next blog is going to be about? Sabrina asked about profile optimization, and I’m happy to deliver.

In most cases, people reply to me with helpful, thoughtful information because I reached out to them. Other times they won’t. If they don’t, it makes the decision easier to hit “Ignore.” My philosophy–unless they are obvious Spammers–is to assume the best and “tease out” I can provide value to them, or them to me.

LinkedIn is a teeming ecosystem, with  endless opportunity for relationship building.  If people are “stopping by” to say hello by clicking the little blue guy, make the most of this opportunity. Slow down and be curious about them, just like you would at a live networking event. They just might turn into your most solid ally.

Julie Bondy Roberts, MA, GCDF is a  LinkedIn™ Profile Writer, LinkedIn trainer & public speaker, career coach,  and blogger. She is the founder and principal at Coming Alive Career Coaching. To learn more about LinkedIn™ Profile Makeover packages & training your group or organization on growing your business through LinkedIn, contact Julie at  Follow Julie @CAcareercoach.

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