“How can I help you?”
When you answer the door or the phone and aren’t sure what the person wants, this may be the question you ask. But chances are you aren’t asking this same question when strangers ask you to join their LinkedIn network.
Perhaps it’s because you aren’t really sure how to pose the question on LinkedIn? Or maybe you don’t understand the benefit of asking how you can help.
Now, of course, some of the strangers are spammers or just want to sell you something you’re pretty sure you don’t need. With those folks, just hit the Ignore button.
With other people who ask you to join their network, however, don’t be so quick to hit the Ignore button on your computer or X on your mobile app, because a new, productive relationship may be just a button click away and you don’t want to miss a LinkedIn opportunity.
A Simple Way to Decide Whether or Not to Reach Out to Strangers
Start by going to your Pending Invitations page. You’ll find this page by clicking the Add People icon on the right side of your top toolbar. Choose See all on the Pending Invitations line.
If people include a personal message with their invitation, you’ll see the message on your mobile app or a double word cloud on your computer. Personally, I always look at these invitations first because they may require a prompt response.
To improve your chances of receiving a favorable response and a new LinkedIn opportunity, when you ask someone how you can help him/her, follow these three simple steps:
- Check out the person’s profile in detail, looking at his/her jobs, interests, and education. The In Common feature typically provides some useful information, too.
- See which people you have in common, and consider reaching out to one or more of those people to get more information about the person who’s asked you to join his/her network.
- View the person’s recent activity and published posts to see the type of information he/she is sharing with his/her network.
Once you’re confident you should ask the How can I help you? question, click the left-pointing arrow in the person’s Pending Invitation box. You can then reply without accepting his/her invitation to connect.
You might say something like:
Thanks for asking me to join your LinkedIn network. I typically don’t accept people into my network until I have either met them or understand how we might be able to help each other. So let me know how we might be able to collaborate. I look forward to hearing from you.”
LinkedIn Opportunity Knocks!
This simple technique will scare away anyone who’s simply in the spam business and will encourage the others to share what is on their mind. You may be surprised by how many people are truly interested in helping you–and some are probably requesting a connection because someone you know and trust referred them to you.
This technique has helped me and my consulting clients find many new, important relationships. Someone is knocking on your social media door and it might just be a LinkedIn opportunity…
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula.
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. He is an experienced businessman, speaker, and author who has shared his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals. Through private business consulting and dynamic presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine, the American Marketing Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Wayne makes LinkedIn simple. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with Wayne on Twitter.