RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

Connection Etiquette Part II

I was not the only one getting bombarded with connection requests over the weekend. We heard from a number of you with similar stories and we appreciate all the feedback. Our friend Jon Latzer, Eastern regional digital sales director at Salem Media, shared some tips for online networking from a session he attended years ago:

Start by looking at a person’s connections and see if you know any - If you do, see if one of them will introduce you with a personal note of introduction. Nothing works better than a reference. Sadly, I’ve had little success with that because most connections are superficial.

Always always provide a personal note - If you were at a restaurant and you saw someone sitting at another table you wanted to meet, you wouldn’t just go up to them, and say “Hi, let’s connect.” That would be really creepy. You would, however, introduce yourself and say “I don’t mean to interrupt your meal, I just wanted to say hello and tell you…” You must personalize your introduction if you expect a response.

Share something in common - This can be tricky, because you’re making some assumptions. However, it’s the very commonality you should be aiming for, and it has a good chance of success if you can determine from their profile what you perceive their needs/challenges are.

Never start with a sales pitch (Jeff, you also mentioned this in your tip) - NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU'RE SELLING. LinkedIn has become a spam factory for most users. Researching each person you’re trying to connect with is the only long-term way to build sustainable relationships.

Share pertinent information and post often - Use that information as a positioning tool of value when trying to connect.

Post comments on others' posts and add significant value to an issue - Provide insights based on your experiences, and be factual. Opinions are fine, but they should also be grounded assertions with facts. Otherwise, you could be perceived as a blowhard.

Be real - Don’t apologize for reaching out. If you don’t like to be pitched, then don’t pitch without value. What you think is valuable is often not so to the person with whom you’re trying to connect. It’s hard but necessary.

I accept 10% or less connections on LinkedIn, and those I accept have to meet one simple criterion. They have to acknowledge me as a person, not as a prospect. THAT’s coming from a sales guy.

One that jumped out is to send a personal note. Yes, many social sites make it easy to just click a button to attempt connection, but taking the extra few seconds to craft a personal note as to why you want to connect.

Specifically, what’s in it for the person with whom you’re trying to connect is key to expanding your network in purposeful ways. The quality of your connections, more so than the quantity, can oftentimes lead to meaningful opportunities personally and professionally.

Thanks Jon, for some great additional tips. You can connect or follow Jon on LinkedIn here. Happy networking.

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB