Why is it that lawyers and legal tech company leaders do not personalize their introductory engagement on LinkedIn? Slowing down so as to use a little ettiequte can go a long way.

I receive a lot of requests on LinkedIn. None come with a note of introduction.

It would only take a couple minutes to go to the InMail icon, hit it and send a note via LinkeIn. Nothing special, just a note to say “Hi, hope you don’t mind, but I just sent you a request to connect here on LinkedIn. I ran across what you’re doing, found it interesting (or whatever’s appropriate) and would like to connect etc.”

Maybe you met a person at a meeting or at a conference. Maybe you engaged someone via Twitter or Facebook. Absolutely connect on LinkedIn. But why not a personal note referencing the meeting or engagement. It’s a nice thing to do and us old guys have a short memory and may not recall meeting.

You’ll be surprised how many nice notes you’ll get in response. I think folks are shocked that someone takes the time to be thoughtful.

When you get a request to connect on LinkedIn, why not do the same? Look up the background of the person on LinkedIn, their site or Google. After accepting the connection, drop the person a note on LinkedIn complementing them for something they are doing or have done. Something you know they’re proud of. Again, you’ll get a lot of nice notes.

People like to beat up on LinkedIn for having a crummy user interface. Maybe that’s true on non-mobile devices, but the Linked interface on iOS for my iPhone and iPad is excellent for early engagement like this.

Hitting the network tab, I see a red button next to “Invitations,” signaling that I have received some invitations to connect. Truth be told I have about 150 in there right now.

After checking who the people are, I hit the “check mark” icon to connect with them. Linkedin then defaults to a “messager” icon which I click on to send my short message. How easy is that. By the time I am through with a few, I have often received a response from someone. After all, the messages surface in their email.

Why do this? One, we’re people. Social networks are more than a numbers game, they’re about connecting and getting to know people.

Two, it’s how business is developed and sales are made. Despite all the misinformation flying around about content marketing, social networks as distribution channels for content, traffic, stats and followers, most businesses and most every good lawyer get their work from relationships and word of mouth.

Relationships come from getting out and meeting people — and being polite and endearing in the process, especially at the beginning.

I look to generate two to three solid relationships a week through introductory exchanges on LinkedIn. By solid I mean someone I believe our organization can help through the turnkey blog solution we offer.

Though I hate the word lead, the person and their organization go into SalesForce, the CRM we use, as a lead so that my team and I can stay in touch with the person.

In many cases, I have had phone calls with the person I met on LinkedIn within a week — phone calls that led to business. In other cases, it can be a ways down the road.

I don’t force the relationship or business. It comes or it doesn’t through ongoing engagement and me adding value along the way.

LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool sitting in your pocket or purse. Slow down a little and take the time to use it properly.

  • Karen Rubin

    This is absolutely correct, Kevin. On mobile devices, though, it seems easy to slip up — I also send notes when I accept invitations to link, and I’ve been thwarted when I try to do that via IPhone. But in general, unless there’s interchange, the opportunity that LinkedIn offers is wasted.

    • Thanks for the comment. I find the iOS LinkedIn app on my iPhone and iPad the best for notes when accepting an invite. I accept at the list of invited and then hit the messaged icon that remains to send the note. In any case, it’s good to hear there’s another person out there crazy enough to be nice. ;)