How To Contact New People On LinkedIn

Whenever I do LinkedIn trainings or talk to people about LinkedIn, I get a few recurring questions. One of these is by business developers who want to connect with new potential customers, partners and investors. Although I believe LinkedIn is a tool for actually connecting with people you know already, it can certainly be very useful for finding new contacts. This is especially true when you are doing business in a new industry or geography.

Use common connections

My advice is normally to connect via someone you both know, someone you are both connected with on LinkedIn. The quickest way to do this is to pick up the phone and as this common connection to make an introduction in person, on the phone, via email or LinkedIn.

When you have no common connections…

But what do you do when there is no common connection and you have no idea how to introduce yourself to someone on LinkedIn? You probably have to find some common ground, such as having worked at the same place, gone to the same university or having an interest in collecting stamps from the South Pacific.

Here is a compilation of ideas from Anthony J. Johnson, see what you think:

Please share your best LinkedIn introduction tips in the comments!

  • Raz Chorev

    Completely disagree with the notion of contacting people you don’t know, or had no contact with, via the “add to network” option.
    If you had not met a person, and would like to, you can send other types of messages (for example – InMail, or if you belong to the same group, you can send a message directly as well). This doesn’t put the other party under any commitment, if they don’t wish to be.
    In BizDev, when you find a potential prospect – you can reach out to them, and once you’ve met, you can add them to your network. Any other way will make your network absolutely useless, as you don’t know your network. You won’t be able to use these contacts for recommendations, introduction, or any other useful interaction.
    I’ve expanded further here

    • Jorgen Sundberg

      I agree with you Raz, ideally you would only network with people you know, like and trust on LinkedIn but in reality lots of people use it to find new contacts.

      InMails are good but cost a little bit, LinkedIn have recently stopped allowing us from sending direct messages via Groups.

      Sending an invite to someone you don’t know is risky and not advisable unless you really have some sort of common ground and you are useful to the other person.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Fredrik Johnsson

        LinkedIn havent stopped the opportunity to contact people when you share the same group. If you use the free search function, yes. But is you go in to just that group you have in common with the person and search for the person you willl be able to chose “message” instead of “inmail”.

        • Jorgen Sundberg

          Right you are Fredrik, thanks for that!

  • Mark

    Don’t you need to find a connection in order to send that person a message? I thought you couldn’t message someone if you don’t have common ground.

    • Jorgen Sundberg

      Well yes, you have to find them but they can still be a new contact as you haven’t connected or even interacted yet

  • Anonymous

    Some good reminders here. Especially important to which the above touches on is to personalize your invite greeting. Changing the standard form takes 45 secs to a 1 min, tops and shows someone who’s worth networking. I’ve been guilty of watering down my network and am in the process of cleaning house. Making it a rule to first use and get to know my network before adding more. Helpful post Jorgen.

    • Jorgen Sundberg

      Thanks Jacob and good luck with your spring cleaning :-)

  • Saul Fleischman / KdL Group

    Yes, as Raz wrote, when you don’t actually know the person – leave it alone. Or build a real connection before sending a connect-request, or you actually can count on them for nothing.

    • Jorgen Sundberg

      Agreed, in an ideal world you’d only network on LinkedIn with people you know really well.

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