How to Reach Out to Potential LinkedIn Connections

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Having the right connections—whether investors, customers, partners, suppliers or employees, etc.—can make a huge difference in company success. LinkedIn, the Facebook of professional networking, was purposely built and marketed as a great way to develop and maintain these connections. And it works if used effectively.

We’ve effectively leveraged LinkedIn for ourself and our B2B clients by being very strategic in our approach to building an audience.

The Secret Weapon

It can feel like an affront to some to have a connection request come out of the blue. It’s like the invasion of one’s personal space in a face-to-face setting. This might seem a bit ironic for a network designed for making connections, but it’s the truth. The challenge is that networking—whether online or in person—needs some kind of “in,” something to keep you from a complete stranger. “Each time you ask a stranger to connect on LinekdIn, expect skepticism,” says Adrian Dayton in an article for Forbes. “The secret weapon to combat this wall of skepticism: a custom comment.”

Dayton offers some tips for getting more responses from such connection requests, which can be remembered by the “PEN” acronym.


The key here is finding some common ground. It could be shared groups, interests, connections, etc. This helps reduce the feeling of a random, out-of-the-blue request. “Building on commonality also increases the chances they will connect to you because it helps them relate to you,” says Dayton.


In short, find a non-selfish reason to justify your connection request. “Perhaps you share information from time to time or meet people in certain circles that would be useful to introduce to them,” he writes. Dayton also suggests expressing an interest in aligning with people that have similar values or passions. The ultimate goal, he says, is to not come across as overly self-interested.

N-Never Pitch

Nobody likes getting cold-called by salespeople. LinkedIn is no different. Someone simply reaching out to people they don’t know in an attempt to sell them something is going to end up with a very low hit rate and will be unlikely to secure any meaningful long-term connections and partnerships with the people they contact this way.

LinkedIn might be a relatively new platform for facilitating networking. But, the same basic rules that have always applied should be followed when seeking out new connections. Find a way to relate, think about how you can help the person you’re trying to connect with, and definitely don’t be too pitchy.

How are you building a strong network on LinkedIn, and other, social channels?

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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