Social Selling: How to Create LinkedIn Invitations That Get Accepted

Learn how to add valuable connections to your social selling network by creating LinkedIn invitations that are more likely to be accepted

September 14, 2014

linkedin-invitations

If you've ever sent an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, you've seen the following screen.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 11.12.45 AM

If the person is a work colleague or a friend, then checking the appropriate circle and clicking “Send Invitation” can work just fine. But if your invitee is a potential customer or partner with whom you’ve corresponded with once or twice, this is when it pays to get strategic.

It’s no secret that large networks facilitate social selling success. To help you build your professional network by:

  1. Sending better invitations that resonate with the person you’re sending them to, and
  2. Helping you feel more comfortable sending connection requests to valuable prospects and partners…

Here are 5 ways to get better results with your LinkedIn invitations:

1. Customize your invitations

Notice the line "Include a personal note:" with (optional) in parentheses in the image above. The truth is, if you're serious about connecting, and especially if it's an important prospect or partner, a personal note should be viewed as mandatory.

To save time, you can create templates for specific networking groups however these should be used as a starting point, not as the final draft because it’s important to…

2. Tell a story

Personalize your invitation by explaining the context of your connection request. Why do you wish to connect? What is the benefit this person will gain from connecting with you?

Feel free to reference a recent conversation, LinkedIn Group discussion or other event that brings you closer to your invitee.

3. Capitalize on incoming requests

Think of each request as a new opportunity. Reply with a personal message explaining how your customers benefit from doing business with you along with a description of your ideal prospect. Use incoming requests as an opportunity to include a call to action or to reference relevant content.

Kicking off your professional relationship in this manner sets the stage for networking opportunities and referrals, increasing your sales lead generation results.

4. Know your limits

You have 300 characters to work with. Make ‘em count. If you have room to spare, try deepening the relationship at the outset by calling attention to the LinkedIn Groups or other social/industry platforms you’re active in.

5. Know your boundaries

Create your best invite and then let it be. Sending multiple invites to the same person can make you appear desperate, and can inhibit your ability to establish a relationship with the invitee (or those in the invitee’s professional network) in the future.

If your invitee doesn’t accept, there are other tactics such as blogs and LinkedIn Group discussions you can use to get on the networking radar.

Best-in-class social sellers take advantage of every opportunity to rise above the “sales noise.” Sending personalized, relevant invitations to connect immediately puts you in higher company than the large majority of sales people who fail to do so. For more social selling tips, follow us @LinkedInSelling.

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