Some people ask to connect on LinkedIn, you check to see who they are, say OK, and that’s the last you hear from them.
Others write back with a marketing message.
I won’t knock that because I haven’t tried it. There might be a good way to go about it, and it might lead to new clients. I don’t know.
What I do know is that the effort is likely to fall flat if the first words in your message are “I wanted to…”
If you’ve read my posts about writing prospecting letters, you know that I believe the #1 rule in letter writing is to NEVER begin your message with “I,” and that “I want” is almost a sure-fire way to get your message sent straight to the round file or the trash folder.
Instead, you begin your prospecting letters with a question or a statement related to their concerns.
It’s no different on LinkedIn – or any social media site.
If you want to strike up an acquaintance with someone who may become a client at some time in the future, come at it with an attitude of wanting to get acquainted.
Ask questions about their business. If you're interested in possibly becoming their client, ask more detailed questions. Even then, begin your sentence with something other than "I," because that word simply sets the wrong tone.
If what they do is obvious, mention similarities to what you do. If it isn't obvious, ask what they do. If you’ve checked their profile and see that they came from the same area, attended the same school, or have the same hobbies, talk about that.
You have no doubt heard the old adage “You don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date.” This is the same. Don’t ask someone on social media to do business with you until you’ve gotten acquainted.
This seems to me like common sense, but…