How I Get a 74% Acceptance On New Connection Requests
One of the most common social selling questions I’m asked is: Can I send a LinkedIn connection request to a cold prospect?
The answer: Yes, you can. BUT…Don’t mess it up. In this post, I am going to discuss the following:
- The Goal of a connection
- Ways to Grow your network
- How to send a cold connection & get it accepted
First, let’s establish one thing up front. Blind cold connection requests are NOT — and, I repeat — NOT what Social Selling is all about. Rather, these tips you will read are a methodical and holistic approach to creating engagement with your targeted audience. In all circumstances, your objective is not to “spray and pray” connect requests. Rather, it’s to find unique opportunities to ENGAGE and HELP your buyers, which drive a warm connection.
Second, what I’m going to share with you does work. I have spent years perfecting my formula and have found that based upon the industry by which you sell to, the percentage can go up or down. My organization sells to Sales, Marketing, and Sales Enablement leaders.
So, here is the proof it works. Using my personal stats alone, between Jan 31 and April 2nd 2016 we sent and/or received a total of 1,129 connection requests. In that same time, we added 836 connection requests. This brings us to a 74% acceptance rate! The goal, of course, is to establish a 100% connection acceptance rate no doubt.
Now let’s talk about the GOAL of creating a new connection for a Social Seller. Of course, there are many. However, in my training, I focus on seven goals of a new connection.
- Build a Relationship
- Drive Sales
- Create Referrals
- Build your Personal Brand
- Be Discovered
What are the ways you can grow your network as a Social Seller?
With social selling, your primary goal is to create a POSITIVE engagement. Engagement means your targeted buyer is in some way, shape, or form ENGAGING with you. Engaging does not just mean they are writing a message back to you or responding to you via social. Engagement could be as simple as your targeted audience has just looked at your LinkedIn profile. In my training, that is a minimum baseline level engagement, and it can be the first step to creating further engagement.
Again, Social Selling leaders will teach many techniques and approaches. I, however, teach my clients to focus on these 10 ways to grow your LinkedIn Connections / Followers and Twitter Followers.
- One-2-One Social Engagement
- Leverage Trigger Events
- Ask for Referral
- Leverage Profile Views & Twitter Followers
- Use Likes, Comments, Shares to create engagement
- Long Blogs
- Special Messaging Campaigns
- Engage with followers – Twitter and LI
- Simply ASK to Connect
In all cases, after you have established a connection — DO NOT under any circumstances send a message immediately to your new connection asking them for a sales meeting unless they have asked for it. That is one of the quickest ways to turn off your potential new friend. It seems so logical – yet why do I receive this type of message multiple times per day from new and seasoned reps? Please, sales rep, DON’T mess up your potential new connection and make #YourBrandSuck!
So how can you effectively send a cold connection and get it accepted?
Before I answer this question, repeat after me: “Social Selling is not about spraying and praying connection requests.” OK. Now, that we have established that. . .
One portion of my success formula after a potential buyer has viewed my LinkedIn profile is to simply ask them to connect. Remember, a profile view = ENGAGEMENT! I don’t know what they read or how much they read, but I do know they know my picture and/or name. I also know that as a social seller managing the page “Whose Viewed my Profile” on LinkedIn is a GOLD Mine! Make that page become your friend! It the page which looks like this:As a #socialselling rep the “Whose Viewed my Profile” pg. on @LinkedIn is a GOLD Mine! @M_3Jr #SellingWithLinkedIn #SalesClick To Tweet
Within 24-48 hours maximum after I’ve received a profile view from them, I will send a connection request to invite them to join my network. What do I say to warrant a 74% connection rate? Remember you only have 300 characters to make this as personal as possible.
Those who have viewed my LinkedIn profile:
Here is one of the messages which contributes to a 74% acceptance rate:
Hey FIRST NAME! Thx for viewing my LinkedIn profile! After viewing yours, I would be honored to have you in my network to learn from and network with you! We also share common connections! If open, here is the connection request! Looking forward to learning from you! Mario
In the above message, note I mentioned I would be honored to have them in my network and would like to learn from them. This is all true. I ABSOLUTELY love learning from fellow sales and marketing leaders and reps. In addition, I establish that we share common connections. Of course, the best message would be to determine whom we know in common and certainly something I found of personal interest to them after reviewing their profile. But remember, we are talking about a cold connect request here.
Finally, in the above request, they have one choice to make – click the check mark to accept or the X to decline.
What if I want to “Cold Connect” with my targeted audience, should I do it?
In social selling the best option is always look for an avenue to get a warm referral. However, as my list shows above, Simply Asking is #10 on the list. So yes I would encourage you to do it, after you have exhausted your other social selling methods like leveraging a warm referral! Finally, remember there is NO better message than the most personalized approach. Always look for material within their profile to “connect” with your potential buyer on a personal level.
And here is my best advise on cold connecting. Cold connections have a much higher probability of being accepted if they are a 2nd degree connection. The lesson? Filter only for 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn when sending a cold connection!
Here is a message to a 2nd degree + someone in the SAME LinkedIn group as myself, then I will write:
Hey FIRST NAME! LI suggested I might know you given our shared connections & we are in the LI group called Sales Director. After viewing your profile & being a former VP of Sales, I’d love to have you as part of my network to learn from & network with you. If open, here’s the request! Mario
If you closely read the messages above, you will quickly see the psychology behind the messaging. So, there you have it. . . One of the secrets shared as to how I create new connections on LinkedIn. Does it work? I would say a 74% success rate constitutes the answer is yes!
Now the last and final question to complete this formula is:
How can I drive LinkedIn profile views to make the above stated scripts work?
That’s a great topic for the next blog post!
In the meantime, feel free to reach out and schedule a 15-minute private social selling coaching session directly with me to answer any questions you might have. Can’t wait to chat.