Whenever I do LinkedIn trainings or talk to people about LinkedIn, I get a few recurring questions. One of these is by business developers who want to connect with new potential customers, partners and investors. Although I believe LinkedIn is a tool for actually connecting with people you know already, it can certainly be very useful for finding new contacts. This is especially true when you are doing business in a new industry or geography.
My advice is normally to connect via someone you both know, someone you are both connected with on LinkedIn. The quickest way to do this is to pick up the phone and as this common connection to make an introduction in person, on the phone, via email or LinkedIn.
But what do you do when there is no common connection and you have no idea how to introduce yourself to someone on LinkedIn? You probably have to find some common ground, such as having worked at the same place, gone to the same university or having an interest in collecting stamps from the South Pacific.
Templates for your LinkedIn invites
Here is a compilation of ideas from Anthony J. Johnson, see what you think:
1. “It was nice meeting you at the ____ event. In ejoyed talking to you about ____. Let’s be sure to stay in touch.”
2. “I am a fellow member of the ____ LinkedIn group and I saw your comments about ____. Id love to stay in touch so we can talk more about it.”
3. “It’s been a long time since we talked, hope you are doing well. How are the kids? I see you are now working at ____ company, how is that going? Let’s be sure to stay in touch.”
4. “I was looking at your profile and I see you are a fellow alumni of ____ university. I also noticed we have some similar interests. Maybe we can chat sometime over drinks.”
5. “I was looking at your profile and I am very impressed with your accomplishments. Please accept my request to connect, I’d love to talk to you about how you accomplished ____.”
6. “I was checking out your blog and I really liked your post about ____. Please accept my request to stay connected”.
It’s fairly clear that the best way to do this is by either mentioning something in common or buttering someone up a bit. The more personal you can be, the greater chances you have of being accepted.
Further reading at 21 Ways To Build Your Personal Brand Yourself on LinkedIn.