5 Best Practices For Building Relationships On LinkedIn

Building meaningful relationships on LinkedIn is critical to sales lead generation for social sellers. Find 5 Best Practices for getting started.

November 3, 2014


Are you struggling to grow your network with meaningful connections on LinkedIn?

Perhaps you have hundreds of connections but have been unable to do anything productive (or profitable) with them.

LinkedIn is most effective when you use it as a relationship-building platform.

You can quickly grow a healthy network of relationships that will increase your sales lead generation by changing how you view your LinkedIn connections and by changing how you approach them.

Here are 5 essential best practices you need to follow when developing relationships on LinkedIn.

1. Tell People Why You Want to Connect

If you want to connect with someone, make sure you answer the question; ‘what’s in it for me’?

Did you just meet them at an event? Did someone you both know recommend that you should connect with them? Get into the habit of giving everyone a reason why they should accept your connection request.

If you have never met this person before and you don’t have any common acquaintances or share a group with them, giving them a valid reason to connect becomes even more crucial.

The reason must be valid in the mind of the other person. Just because someone is an ideal prospect for you, does not count as a valid reason for why they should want to connect with you.

Keep in mind that you have a maximum of 300 characters, so your reason for connecting must be short and convincing.

2. Look For Commonalities

It’s always easier to build a relationship with someone when you have something in common.

Fortunately, there are a number of places that you can find this information using LinkedIn and a simple Google search. Review their profile for information such as places, companies, education, experience, or interests in common.

LinkedIn Groups are an excellent resource for this; belonging to the same group will often provide enough similar ground for people to connect.

You can also find helpful information by checking any other social media profiles the person might have.

3. Respect People’s Time

We all value our time; your LinkedIn connections are not exempt from this. Attention spans and free-time are at an all-time low so every communication should provide value.

You’ll start to notice emails, phone calls and messages going unanswered if you are perceived as a time waster. To increase the likelihood of successfully developing relationships on LinkedIn, each interaction with a connection must be respectful and demonstrate how much you value their time.

You can do this first and foremost by exercising the discipline to wait until you have something relevant before reaching out. When you do reach out, always be brief, courteous and to the point.

4. The Power of Reciprocity

When someone does something nice for you, there is a natural psychological urge to return the favor. This effect is known as the Law of Reciprocity and it is a powerful reason why developing meaningful relationships will pay off over time.

Using reciprocity to your advantage when developing relationships can be as simple as introducing two connections that can mutually benefit from meeting each other. This could inspire them to introduce you to one or more of their connections but even if it doesn’t, it’s important that you act without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

Sometimes that means sharing relevant and interesting content that you come across if you believe it’s perfectly catered to an individual’s interests or vocation. Whether it is an article, white paper, eBook, checklist, video or anything else, it should help solve a pain point for them or provide them with education to make an informed decision. You will want to make certain that any content you share, whether your own or someone else’s, looks professional and will leave a positive impression on your connection.

5. Take Your Offline Approach Online

Your relationship building process on LinkedIn should mirror the relationship building strategies you use face-to-face. People often make the faulty assumption that there are different rules of engagement for online and offline relationships. This is a mistake. The process and time involved are the same for both.

Since communications shared within online platforms can come off as impersonal, this is exactly why it is so important to put in the extra time and effort into developing each relationship. You reap the most success by paying attention to the small details and taking the time to personalize and be personable with your connections.

You’re supposed to connect with them, not collect them. LinkedIn can be a goldmine of opportunities but only if you know how to mine your relationships properly.

One of the best ways you can personalize your interactions with your connections is to always address them by name, find commonality and provide them with valuable pieces of content that are relevant to their business or industry.

Make the effort to regularly incorporate each of these best practices into each relationship you start and cultivate on LinkedIn. It won’t be long before you start to grow a powerful network of relationships that can help you to be more successful.