I received the following invitation this week from Ed Jones of Atlanta:
“Sean, good perspectives on LinkedIn! I am in Atlanta but we work world wide assessing ROI on events. My business manager will call you regarding our health insurance search.
I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn for several reasons. We have several common contacts. Take a look at my profile and associated websites and blogs, then add me if you find common interests. http://constellationcc.com”
I write a lot about personalizing invitations when you wish to connect. It’s even more critical if you’re trying to connect to someone you don’t know. I didn’t know Ed before receiving his invitation. But after reading it was there any doubt that I would connect?
In the movie Jerry McGuire, Rene Zellweger’s character says “You had me at hello”. Well Ed had me at “My business manager will call you regarding our health insurance search. ” Right off the bat he hit me with value.
Now it’s unrealistic to expect that everyone can offer the possibility of being a client with every invitation. But everyone has value to offer. You just need to determine your value and then offer it in your invitation.
Ed didn’t stop with the value offer. He complimented me on my blog. That shows he’s taken the time to look at who I am and I know he’s not just trying to pad his connection stats. He also stated that we had several common connections. 37 is a bit more than a few.
Before accepting I took a look at his profile and it was well detailed, allowing me to get a feel for the type of business person he is. 30 years of experience in sales & marketing and 20 years in Event Measurement, ROI, Strategy and Effective Communications is a wealth of experience. What a great resource to have in one’s network. Take away the offer to help him with his benefits and I would have still connected.
How you personalize your invitations and how your profile represents you will go a long way in improving your invitation acceptance success.
I can’t help thinking about a couple of what if’s:
A) What if I wasn’t open to connecting to other’s that I don’t know; and
B) What if Ed had decided to wait until I connected to mention anything about their health plan
I would have missed out on a great “Unexpected opportunity”. On LinkedIn there are two types of opportunity: “Expected” and “Unexpected”.
Expected opportunities arise from the direct connections that you’ve known or had a relationship with outside of LinkedIn. These opportunities likely would have presented themselves without LinkedIn.
Unexpected opportunities are those that arise because you connected to those you don’t know. They’re unexpected because outside of your LinkedIn connection there would be no relationship and you likely would not have crossed paths.
In the last week I have had 7 unexpected opportunities present themselves. Four were people seeking my help in Georgia with health insurance needs, one was a blogging opportunity, and two were folks in San Francisco asking for health insurance assistance. I couldn’t help the two people in California find a health plan but I was able to point them in the right direction.
And that’s the point about opportunity on LinkedIn. It isn’t just limited to your opportunities to directly benefit, it’s also the opportunity to help others. I believe that a network with 100 people that you know and 900 that you are simply connected to will present more opportunity than a network of only 100 people that you know.
Ed gets it. And I think as other start to realize the unexpected opportunities they are missing out on you’ll see a little more connecting taking place.
Are you missing out on those unexpected opportunities?
***In the next post I’ll be discussing the Fallacy of Protecting Your Network.