LinkedIn doesn’t have the numbers that Facebook does.

It’s not as sexy as Instagram.

It’s not in the news as much as Twitter.

But man. It’s still the best damn platform for networking with other professionals. And if you’re a salesperson looking for more prospects and a broader network, it can be your best friend.

I’ve written about LinkedIn before. You can read my guide on how to write a fantastic LinkedIn summary, and the differences between LinkedIn Sales Navigator and LinkedIn Premium. But you don’t need a subscription to take advantage of the most important benefit LinkedIn has to offer: the ability to connect with other professionals.

If you want to expand your network, you have to reach out to new connections.

And yeah, it’s kind of a struggle.

Not only do you have to convince this person you’re worth connecting with, you also have to stand out from the crowd—God knows they get 20 new requests a day.

If only there was some kind of guide to help you write the best possible LinkedIn connection request message…

Oh wait, you’re already reading it! 😉

In the sections that follow, we’ll summarize the qualities that make a LinkedIn connection message great, and review some LinkedIn connection request message templates you can use to send some introduction messages of your own.

Why Reach Out to New LinkedIn Connections?

Reaching out to new LinkedIn connections can help your sales strategy in a number of different ways.

Let’s start with the obvious. More connections = more sales opportunities.

This is a great way to meet new prospects and talk to them. You can chat them up, learn about them, and hopefully sell to them in the future.

It’s also a great way to expand your secondary and tertiary network. Even if someone isn’t a good sales prospect, they may know a good sales prospect. That means every new node in your network can get you one step closer to a potential sale.

Also, LinkedIn doesn’t publish your number of connections anymore 😕

But that’s okay. Because the size of your network can still help you in other ways. Having more connections means you’ll have more mutual connections with more people, which can boost your reputation. That means a higher success rate for future connection attempts, and possibly, a higher rate of closing sales.

Very cool.

6 Decent Reasons to Send a LinkedIn Connection Request

So sending LinkedIn connection requests is a good thing.

For the most part.

However, if you reach out to people randomly, you’re probably going to get a lot of angry messages in return—and not a lot of new connections.

Instead, it’s usually better to start with a reason for why you’re reaching out.

These are some excuses you can use, in order from best to worst:

1. You met them in person.

This is by far the best situation. You meet someone in person, at work, at a networking event, or at some other shindig. You say “hey, we should connect on LinkedIn.” Then you send the message. Easy peasy. The industry term for this is a “slam dunk.” As long as you make a decent impression, the connection will likely be successful.

2. You met them online elsewhere.

You can also increase your chances of successful LinkedIn connection if you met this person online somewhere. For example, you might be members of the same paranormal investigation group, or you might both be on the same side of a debate in a Twitter thread. In any case, you’ll have some rapport to call upon, and some familiarity to back your connection request.

3. You want an introduction to someone they know.

If you have a mutual connection, consider getting a warm introduction. Your mutual contact can vouch for you, and give your prospective connection a reason to reply to your message.

4. You share a connection.

Even if you can’t get a warm introduction, the fact that you share connections could be valuable. The more mutual connections you have with a person, the more likely they’ll be to receive your connection request warmly. After all, they know people you’ve connected with in the past, and all those people seem okay.

5. You’re pursuing a similar line of work.

You can justify a connection request if you’re both in a similar line of work, though this isn’t always welcomed. For example, if you’re both working in the same industry or if you have the same job title, you might be able to set up a warm self-introduction.

6. You want to expand your local network.

You might find a valuable prospect who lives in your area, but doesn’t share much else with you. Though not as strong as some of the other commonalities on this list, you might use your geographic location as a connection point. Like, “Yo! We both live in Seattle, isn’t that cool?”

The better your reason for reaching out, the more likely you’ll be to have a successful connection. Choose your approach carefully, and don’t spam random people with messages.

Keys to a Successful LinkedIn Connection Request Message

Okay, now to the real meat of this article. How can you write a successful LinkedIn connection message?

LinkedIn populates new connection requests with a default message, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Bleh. This isn’t going to cut it.

If you want your message to be well-received, your message needs the following qualities:

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Originality.

I’ve gotten about 100 connection request messages that all say, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” And every time I get it, I want to type a snarky response. But this is LinkedIn. A place for professionals. So I bite my tongue. But seriously, people don’t want to see the same message over and over. If you want to stand out, write something original.

At this point, you might be thinking, “wait a minute, aren’t you about to show me a bunch of templates to copy and paste?” And yeah, kind of, but not really. I don’t want you to copy and paste these LinkedIn connection request message templates. Just use them as a point of inspiration—a jumping-off point, so you can make an original message of your own.

Conciseness.

People are busy. Or if they aren’t busy, they at least need to preserve the image that they’re busy. That means long messages are going to get deleted.

Keep your message concise! People aren’t going to read more than a few sentences, so don’t waste your time writing more than that. Unless you have a really good joke.

Motivation transparency.

Cut the BS. Explain why you’re reaching out, in the clearest and most concise terms. People can detect ulterior motives, and they’re not going to tolerate someone who seems insincere.

Personalization.

Ideally, your message will be personalized for the individual to whom you’re sending it. In other words, this message wouldn’t make sense if it was sent to anyone else. If you can copy and paste this message to almost anyone, it isn’t personalized.

Leading with the person’s name is a good start, but it’s also helpful to include a few personal details with the message. For example, you could acknowledge a cool piece of content they’ve written, or make a reference to their current job title.

Flattery.

Along with personalization, it pays to include a bit of flattery in your message. It doesn’t have to be flowery or take up the whole message, but a short compliment or implied flattering statement such as “I’d love to hear more of your thoughts” can go a long way.

Friendliness.

Shelve the idea that you’re a salesperson trying to close a deal. You’re going to get far better results if you’re just a friendly person trying to meet another friendly person. Show off your personality a bit, and make it seem like you’re a fun person to know.

Correctness.

For the love of God, proofread your message. It only takes a couple seconds, especially if you’re following my advice about conciseness. If there’s a stupid spelling error or a bad grammatical mistake, it’s going to look bad. Nobody wants a new connection who can’t be bothered to fix the word “opprotuinty.”

LinkedIn Connection Request Message Templates

Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for. LinkedIn connection request message templates! Sweet, easy to copy templates!

But wait. Before you get too excited, you should know these aren’t intended to be copied and pasted mindlessly. For starters, there are blanks you’ll have to fill in for yourself (like, you know, signing your own name).

But more importantly, you shouldn’t be spamming the same message to different contacts over and over. Remember my points about originality and personalization?

Part of being a good salesperson is making things your own. Instead of grabbing and overusing these templates, use them as a starting point. Flesh them out, tweak them to the individual you’re contacting, and really make them your own.

Trust me. It’s worth it.

That said, let’s take a look at some templates you can (mostly) use for different types of LinkedIn connections.

1. Someone you’ve met in person.

If you’ve met this person in person, half the work is already done. You just have to close the loop. Make sure to point out how you met—just in case they forgot.

Hi Jerry!

It was fantastic speaking with you at the tech innovator’s meetup. I’d love to grab coffee sometime next week, and connect on LinkedIn in the meantime!

Talk soon,

(-Your first name)

2. A coworker you’ve never directly met.

Do you work at the same company? Have you never met in person? Awkward. But don’t worry. Something like this ought to do fine. Directly acknowledge the situation, then explain why you want to connect.

Dear Sherry,

I don’t believe we’ve gotten the opportunity to meet, but I’ve heard great things about your work in (department). Maybe you could teach me a thing or two? Thought I’d reach out on LinkedIn and connect either way.

See you in the break room,

(-Your first name)

3. A new coworker.

Reaching out to a new coworker is a bit easier. Be as welcoming and inviting as possible in your message.

Hey Todd!

I just wanted to reach out and welcome you to the (company) team. Feel free to message me with any questions or concerns you might have, and hopefully, we can connect in person soon.

Thanks,

(-Your first name)

4. A former coworker.

You shouldn’t have trouble reaching out to a former coworker and getting an approved connection request—as long as you don’t have a long-standing feud in the way. Try to be as personal as possible here, since you have a bit of history between you.

Dear Jeanie,

It was a pleasure to work with you back at (company). How are you doing now? I wanted to reach out and reconnect with you. Let me know if you have time for lunch next week!

Sincerely,

(-Your first name)

5. A casual acquaintance.

This format is best for people you’ve met a few times, but whom you don’t really know. Think neighbor-across-the-street level familiarity.

Hi Mark,

We’ve met in person a few times, through (shared contact/location), but I noticed we weren’t connected on LinkedIn! I’d love to hear more about what you do at (company) and see if there’s a way we can help each other out.

Thanks,

(-Your first name)

6. Someone you found elsewhere online.

The trick here is to make it clear where you’ve seen this person before. Call out the point of previous contact, and add some flattery if you can.

Hey Holly,

I saw your post in (LinkedIn Group) and found it fascinating. Where did you get the inspiration to write it? I’d like to hear more of your thoughts when you have the time.

Talk soon,

(-Your first name)

7. Someone with mutual connections.

If you’ve gotten an introduction or if you share mutual contacts, you’ll have a good starting point. Use that as the introductory basis for your connection.

Hi Tom,

We haven’t had the opportunity to meet directly, but I saw we have a mutual connection in (name). I’d like to hear more about your work with (company) and see if there’s any opportunity for us to benefit each other.

Thanks in advance,

(-Your first name)

8. Someone in the same line of work.

It might be a harder sell reaching out to a total stranger who just so happens to share the same line of work as you. Try to be specific with your request here, and make them feel good about the interaction.

Claudette,

As a fellow (line of work), I wanted to reach out to you and get your thoughts on (topic). Do you think this is going to change the industry? Is this going to change the way you do business?

Hope to hear from you soon,

(-Your first name)

9. Someone in the same geographic area.

Here, your only point of commonality is the city in which you live—so use it. Mention the weather, sports, or another current event to make yourself seem even more like a local, and consider positioning yourself as new to the area so they feel like they’re doing you a favor by connecting.

David,

I can’t believe it’s already snowing here! I’m new to the (city) area, and have been looking to expand my network. Do you have any tips for a new professional in (city)?

Thanks for your time,

(-Your first name)

10. Someone who could use your product/service.

This is a much harder sell. That’s because you’re actually selling here. I don’t recommend this for an introductory message, even if sales are your bottom-line goal; I think it’s much more effective to start relationships with a warm message. But I’ve also heard of people using this approach and finding strong results. If you decide to go this route, try to personalize the message as much as possible and make it clear how the recipient will benefit from pursuing the connection.

Hi Meg,

Do you ever struggle with time management? I know I did. But I’ve recently found a system that has helped me save 3 hours every week. Would you be interested in hearing more?

Thanks,

(-Your first name)

Transitioning to Email

LinkedIn is awesome, and so are these LinkedIn connection request message templates. But if you’re like most salespeople, you’re still heavily reliant on email to communicate with prospects, leads, and clients.

So tell me. How’s your email game?

Did you just sigh or roll your eyes? I don’t blame you. Email’s tricky, even if you’re experienced.

That’s why we built a platform to help salespeople (and realistically, all professionals) better manage and understand their email effectiveness.

It’s called EmailAnalytics, and it could help you take your email game to a less eye-rolly level. Use it to analyze your peak email times, your email thread development, and even your average response time, then take advantage of data visuals to keep track of your progress.

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