I have to believe I’m not the only one in the world who’s seen the amount of LinkedIn messages I’ve received triple since March of 2020. For a moment, my LinkedIn-loving heart was so happy – folks are finally embracing LinkedIn! And then I click into the messages and those joyous feelings begin to dissipate. Generic messages, lengthy novels, or never-ending requests for time on my calendar are what I find repeatedly. I understand. The once dried-up pipeline is now bursting at the seams. So many people to connect with, so little time! But we can’t let this be our excuse to throw all our LinkedIn best practices to the wind. Because excuses are like… Well, you know how the old saying goes.
Message received (and ignored)
If you’re spending your time sending messages on LinkedIn but you see little to no response, it’s time to take a good, hard look at what you’re sending. Are you trying to make real connections or are you trying to trade messages for dollars?
Here are three reasons why I (and probably others) won’t respond to your LinkedIn message and how you can change that for next time.
1) Do some research
“Hi Patty! I’m interested to learn more about your business.” The beautiful thing about LinkedIn is that it allows me to provide basic professional information about myself. Really, it’s as simple as clicking on my profile and skimming the top headline. Why should I use my time to respond when you couldn’t take time to at least find out what the name of my business is?
Take a few minutes and do a bit of research before you draft your note. Instead of trying to sell me with a generic, non-personalized message, let’s build some rapport first. Do we have a mutual connection? Small world, right!? Or maybe we commented on the same article? Interesting! Give me something that proves you didn’t copy and paste this to me and ten others. Would you walk into a meeting with a prospect without doing the legwork to find out who they are and what they do? Exactly. That would just be rude and seriously awkward. Treat LinkedIn messages the same way.
2) Stop asking for “just” 5 minutes
Five minutes doesn’t seem like that much time. But as a business owner and an entrepreneur, I can promise you those five minutes you’re asking for are invaluable and could be spent on my business and clients. We have projects to complete and brilliant ideas to brainstorm! There are so many people and priorities fighting for “just” 5 minutes of my time.
So instead of asking me for something right off the bat, be a resource instead. Shoot me a quick message with some tips that will help me run my agency better or a thought on how to reduce costs. Instead of hopping into my inbox the next day with a “hey did you see my message?” try a different strategy. Check in with me every two weeks with a “here’s some info you might find helpful.” Sure, it may not lead to an instant phone call or an instant sale. But neither did your “just 5 minutes” approach. You’ll have a much better shot at success if you can show me that you’re in this to build a long-term professional relationship, not just a quick sale.
3) Avoid the never-ending novel
A pattern I’m noticing in these unsolicited messages is that they start out with a vague, “How are you? I’d love to learn more about your business!” and then turn into a four-paragraph long novel all about the sender. You mentioned you wanted to learn more about my business, so why, oh why, is it buried somewhere in the four paragraphs below?
Time is valuable (see above) and you want to catch my attention quickly. But if you’re sending a message to a stranger all about yourself, you’re most likely going to lose them by the second paragraph. Think short and sweet. All you need is one or two lines telling me why you’re reaching out (i.e. “I read your recent Forbes article – so interesting!”) and 2 to 3 bulleted tricks I might find useful for running my business. Keeping it simple gives you a better chance of me making it to the end of your message – and then responding! Success.
Bonus: Be A Human Behind the Screen
Things have changed a LOT in almost every area of business. And they’ll certainly keep changing as the world keeps spinning. One thing that won’t? We’re all human. So, let’s treat each other that way whether we’re face-to-face or connecting through a screen.