How I connect with sales prospects on LinkedIn and get a response almost every time.


Please never connect with people on any platform and then send them this right away:


how not to connect with people on LinkedIn

Gag. There’s no way I’m clicking “see more” or “Reply”…


This doesn’t work… at least not in the long run.


You may get responses, but not nearly as many (or nearly as high quality) as you would get if you slowed down and put in a little time to initiate a real relationship.


And make no mistake, relationships are what it takes to make sales. People buy from those they know and trust… simple as that!


The good news is, connecting with people in a way that makes it easy for them to get to know you and trust you is not that hard.


It takes more work, yes. But the return is so worth it.


Here’s the simple step-by-step process I use to make my connection requests sing… and get a response almost every single time.


1. Always have a compelling reason to connect.


I can’t tell you how many times people connect with me and don’t even bother to send me a message at all.


And I’m always like “What’s the point? If there’s no reason to be connected, why bother reaching out to me?”


This actually works against them… because now I’m suspicious of their intentions.


Don’t be that person… have a reason to connect and make it compelling. Something that connects the dots between you and them and positions you as what I like to call “a likable expert.”


Here’s an example of how I did this in my own sales process. In this case, we’d been very loosely introduced via email first:




I’m excited to get to know you better from [MUTUAL CONNECTION]’s introduction.


Congratulations on your remarkable growth in less than a year, I can’t wait to hear all about it!


Cheers to your road ahead,




Once he accepted the connection request, I followed up with another note:


“Thanks for the quick acceptance [FIRSTNAME] and welcome to my network!


I’m looking forward to learning more about your mega growth. In working with other leaders on the same kind of rocket ship you are, they’ve struggled with getting sales hiring right. I have some ideas that can help and happy to share.


In the event you’re facing the same challenges along with [MUTUAL CONNECTION]’s lovely introduction, shall we find a time to chat?


Many thanks!




PS, knowing you’re on fire right now, thought this might help as a pre-cursor:


He got back to me and we scheduled a time to talk.


Notice here how my messages didn’t focus on me. They were all about his growth and things to be aware of regarding hiring for his team!


As a recruiter, I’ve worked with a lot of startups at this stage and seen some stuff.


So when I learned he wanted more information on pitfalls to avoid when he was trying to scale his team, I used that nugget to connect the dots.


This made my message much more compelling than a straight pitch like the screenshot above.


How to find a compelling reason to connect.


I had a leg up in this situation because the introduction gave me the heads up as to what this person was after.


So how do you get this information without that? Here are some ways I do this regularly:


  1. Create a contact for the person you’re targeting. This helps me keep an eye on what’s happening with him, his industry, and other things that help me stay on top of his situation and look for the perfect time to connect (more on this in a sec).
  2. Add a person in LI Sales Navigator to stay ahead of the details. With Navigator, you can save prospects as a lead and then have it give you updates on what they’re commenting on, sharing etc.


These two things give me insight into my key prospects’ lives.


And when I find the right moment/idea/issue/nugget to connect over, I reach out and try to start a conversation about that nugget!


2. Nail the timing.


How to connect with people on linkedin at the opportune time


True story… I’ve been at the top of the sales pile most of my career with just about every company I’ve worked with.


But at one, in particular, I was setting records and beyond thrilled with what we could do for our buyers. Or in other words, happily employed!


Then they switched my comp plan up because I was “making too much money.”


That same day I found out the fruits of my labor would diminish, a recruiter contacted me about a new opportunity.


Talk about good timing on a bad day! So, of course, I took his call to hear him out.


Well, it turns out the recruiter and the CRO had a well-crafted plan to lure top performers into a place that had an 80%+ turnover rate and he knew ahead of time that he was bringing a toxic role my way wrapped in a pretty package.


My first week on the job, I learned the sobering news that I was the 16th rep they’d hired in 3 quarters.


Sadly, this was before Glassdoor reviews and the like were the norm.


All that aside, I tell this story so you understand how powerful timing really is – not to support dishonest practices.


Imagine had that contact come the day before I got the news I was getting a pay cut… think I would have responded?


This is why I use tools like Nudge… they help me nail the reason for connecting AND the timing by alerting me of changes or updates for people I’m following.


In an honest way!


3. Forget personalization… “individualize” your message.


No, this isn’t semantics.


If you’re using things like to find a compelling idea to connect over, your reason for connecting (and thus the message you send) will likely have a lot of personalization already.


This is great! However, buyers are very aware of the use of templates these days. So anything that remotely looks like one is going to get shrugged off in a heartbeat.


So you still need to go out of your way to make sure they know you aren’t sending this to everyone if your compelling idea does not do it for you.


That’s why I’m saying “individualize” and not just “personalize”… make sure it’s obvious that you’re sending a custom-crafted, one-off message.


An example of “individualization.”


Here’s a great example of “individualization” from a connection of mine that reached out to our Head of Marketing, Scott Turner:


Social selling tips

Ok so yeah it’s about me… can’t say I didn’t enjoy seeing this 😉


Notice how there is no way to mistake this as a template even as simple as it is. They really incorporated some custom elements to make it obvious that this was only sent to Scott!


And even though there wasn’t a grand purpose behind the connection, it was totally compelling (a little bit of authentic flattery goes a long way).


How to individualize your messages.


This is really simple. Go back once you’ve written it and imagine sending it to someone else. Would it still work for them too?


If so, edit it until the person receiving it won’t be able to say that.


Final thoughts.


The right reason for connecting at the right time is everything (even beyond “individualization”). Always seek to start a conversation and initiate a relationship. And just like you’re waiting for the right time to connect, wait for the right time to pitch as well!