The “I’ve ignored you but now I need you” request.
• “Hey Ron, I know I you’ve sent some notes saying hi over the past few years and I haven’t responded…but I’m searching for another job. Can we hop on a call and talk?
I do my best to reach out to as many as my contacts as possible and without needing anything from them. Just to say hello and wish them well. If there comes a time of need for me, I hope I will have established myself as genuine and will have earned their support.
The “Wow, you’re very impressive” request.
• “Ron, I see you’re a marketing executive who’s done great things in your career. You’re the kind of person I’d like to be connected with.”
If I accept this type of request, it’s often quickly followed by a sales pitch. I understand that people need to make connections to sell, so just sell! LinkedIn requests that make it clear that they want to offer to sell me something usually get some genuine engagement from me. Don’t hide the fact that you’re selling something.
The “void” request.
• (no message offered, just a connection request)
From my perspective, this is someone who’s a serial connector. When I receive these requests, I typically reply by asking “Thank you for the connection request, but what makes me so darn interesting that you’d want to connect with me?” If they respond with sincerity, I connect. If they don’t then I don’t.
Networking is about being real, honest, authentic. It’s about staying in touch with people “just because”, not because you need something from them. It’s about making it clear why you want the connection.