Do you use an invitation to Connect on LinkedIn as an opportunity to promote yourself and your your objectives for being on this Social Network, or do you just hit the “Accept” button to be added to a contact list? The reality is that a vast majority of people just hit “Accept” and pass up a golden opportunity to market themselves, their business and establish a real connection with someone on LinkedIn.
Now LinkedIn has changed how you accept invitations this past year, but you still have an opportunity to not only accept an invitation, but respond to that invite with more than hitting the “I Accept” button. Sending the auto response “I accept your invitation” is a total waste of an opportunity to introduce yourself, market your business, drive traffic to your site and really connect with someone.
How To Respond to an “Invitation to Connect”
Do not just hit the “Accept” button!
Once you open up the invitation or have opened a list of invitations that you have received, here are the simple steps to follow.
- On the lower right side of the invitation is a drop down menu where you want to select “reply”. Click “Reply”
- A response window will open up. Paste your pre-written response template above their invitation. Personalize with their first name and hit “Send” button.
- You will be back to their invitation and now you can hit the “Accept” button.
The 6 Elements of an Effective Acceptance Response
Unlike a LinkedIn invitation you might send out, you are not limited to a small number of characters in an acceptance and you can include links.
When you accept an invitation it is your opportunity to make a connection with the inviter. I receive hundreds of invitations a month and have thousands of Connections on LinkedIn. What good are they if I can not define to them who I am, what I can offer them as a Connection and see if there is some synergy that would facilitate further communication between us.
Which would you rather have 100 connections that may develop into a client or 10,000 connections that mean nothing to you?
Here is a template that I created that I send out to every person who invites me to connect with them on LinkedIn. I just copy an paste this response, add their name and send it. The key is to include 6 components in your response to maximize its effectiveness and create action on the part of the recipient. Each element should be short (1 t 2 sentences), break up into multiple paragraphs and no technical information or detail.
1. The Greeting
Hi Bob, (use their First Name)
Thanks for your invitation to connect on LinkedIn. I am more than happy to accept and look forward to the opportunity to learn more about you and your work and how we might assist each other in the future.
2. About Me
Quick update on me… My company is Bssential Solutions. I work with CEO’s, business owners, executives, aspiring entrepreneurs and executives in transition as both a Business Coach and Consultant.
3. The Question?
We all know that every elite athlete, musician, actor or artist has a coach to evaluate, train, critique and motivate them to greatness. A business owner or executive who aspires to achieve and maintain success is no different. Do you have a Business Success Coach?
4. Call To Action
To learn more about the value of a Business Coach and how it can impact your life, your career and your company, check this out http://tinyurl.com/yfyloyq
5. Education or Gift
Here is a recent post I wrote on my blog regarding “Time Management” that you might enjoy http://tinyurl.com/yee2lwl. Many people have responded that they found the information helpful in both their life and business.
6. The Closing
I look forward to hearing more about you and your work as well as any feedback from the links I have shared above.
In my acceptance response I have accomplished the following in a quick and concise email:
- Begin to establish rapport.
- Introduced myself and my business.
- Posed a question for them to ponder about themselves and their business.
- Gave them a “Call to Action” to learn more about me.
- Gave them a second “Call to Action” based on education or a gift.
- Closed with all of my contact information. (do not include your direct email)
This takes a few seconds more to send then just hitting the “Accept” button, but it is well worth the effort. You will catch peoples attention and you will find that you identify real connections on LinkedIn and not just become another name on someone’s list.
Give It A Try
Use my template as a guide and customize your acceptance response based on you, your goals, your reason for being on LinkedIn and what you can offer a target connection. See what types of response you get and tweak your message from time to time.
I also use multiple template responses based on the title, business and location of who is inviting me, but for now start with one response template. You will be surprised at the link traffic you can generate to your website or blog and the positive responses you will get from a unique but simple invitation response.
As always, I encourage your ideas, input and feedback.
Bill Sifflard - With over thirty years experience as an entrepreneur, an executive, an author and as a business consultant, Bill Sifflard has a long history of experience bringing innovation, efficiency and success to large and small businesses adapting to evolving markets. As a premiere Sales and Marketing Innovator, Bill is changing how business integrates traditional marketing strategy with the power and potential of the internet utilizing his "Velocity for Success" matrix. To learn more about Bill and Bssential Small Business Solutions you can visit http://www.bssentials.com and register for his Free eNewsletter or follow all of his blog posts by clicking on the RSS feed button above.