A few weeks ago, I received an email from a client that asked a question I’m sure all of us have pondered at some point.
If you send a LinkedIn connection request to someone and they don’t respond, what does it mean and what should you do?
Here’s the short answer: It depends.
Truthfully, there are a number of reasons why people don’t respond to LinkedIn invitation requests, and many of them have little to do with their interest in connecting with you.
For starters, people are busier today than ever before and connection invitations often build up in their LinkedIn in-box. I’ve seen as much as 45 days go by between making an initial connection request and first hearing back from a contact. Sometimes, you never get a response — particularly if the person doesn’t have many connections and isn’t very active on LinkedIn.
Another reason connection requests get ignored: Lack of social networking savvy. Some people set up new LinkedIn profiles whenever they change jobs or companies, and they forget to monitor the in boxes of their older profiles. Connecting with those folks can, at times, be frustrating and fruitless.
3 Tips to Make Your Connection Requests Stand Out
While there’s not much you can do to make the people you’re trying to connect with less busy or more social media savvy, there are a handful of practices you can implement to help your requests stand out:
- Make the most of the space you have: Rather than just clicking “Connect” and “Send invitation,” write a brief personal note that brings an otherwise static invitation to life.
- Give a good business reason to connect: While many people will simply accept any invitation they receive, senior managers and executives will be choosier about the invitations they accept. Be sure to provide a clear “what’s in it for them” proposition in your request.
- Mention mutual acquaintances: If you share a connection (and not just a mutual LinkedIn connection), mention that person’s name. Referrals are still an excellent way to pique interest and drive responses.
Ultimately, you want to avoid the standard invitation verbiage at all costs because it doesn’t include any insight into why you want to connect.
Instead, do your best to personalize the message without going overboard. Include a clear reason for connecting and keep it brief. If your personalized message is too long, prospective connections aren’t likely to read it. (And if it’s really long, you’ll exceed LinkedIn’s word limit!)
What to Do If You Still Don’t Get a Response
If the three tips above don’t help you break through, it’s probably an indication that the person isn’t seeing what they stand to gain from connecting with you. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to reach out one more time with a new invitation that has a stronger value statement.
That advice comes with one caveat, however: LinkedIn accounts are limited to a lifetime total of 3,000 invitations. LinkedIn’s customer service team has been known to grant additional requests to users who contact customer support, but there is no guarantee they will grant your specific request – especially if they discover a history of high rejection rates for your invitations.
So, be aware of who you’re sending connection requests to. Many people today are more open to connecting on LinkedIn, but there are those who remain cautious. To appease those folks, make sure that your requests clearly convey a compelling reason for connecting with you.