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Why connecting with everyone may cause you to lose out.

The other day, I was meeting a client for coffee, and he seemed very excited. You’ll never guess how many new contacts I got this week, he said. 72! In a single week! Well, that might sound impressive, but is it really?

When I asked my client who these people were, his answer surprised me. “Well, I don’t really know” he said. “But who knows? They might come in useful one day.”

This kind of approach to using LinkedIn is very common as people think that the more people they get their message to the better. Is this right?

No. The foundation of LinkedIn is to know the people you connect with. Your new contacts must meet four important criteria:

  • You have spoken to them
  • You understand what they do
  • You know how you can help them
  • You know how they can help you

If you start connecting with people you don’t know you, how do you know if they are good people? Being connected to them might not reflect well on you. They might spam you. They could exploit your connections or embarrass you.

Picture the scene. A total stranger turns up at your house and rings your doorbell. When you open the door, the stranger says “Hello, I just thought I’d come round for a cup of coffee.”

Without hesitation, and asking no questions, you usher the stranger in. You ask him to sit down in the living room, and leave him there while you pop into the kitchen and put the kettle on.

I’m guessing if a stranger did try to get into your home, that’s not what you would do. And yet, in effect that’s what many people do on LinkedIn.

We trained a Managing Director who was sure he was very boring. He didn’t believe anyone would read his profile. So he didn’t believe he could get a result. He trusted our judgement and our experience of helping over 100 UK plc’s and he reduced his connections to just the people that he knew and trusted in real life. After that, more people read his updates, and almost 50 times as many people looked at his profile. He got more success in one month than from all his past years on LinkedIn. Another very happy client.

So if you want to get your message out on LinkedIn, unlock referrals and secure sales opportunities, don’t accept every invitation.

Your success from LinkedIn is proportional to the number of real relationships you have with your connections so think twice before hitting ‘accept’.

If you’d like to find out what else you should be doing to get the success you deserve, have a look at our LinkedIn Essentials course or get in touch for a chat.