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If you’re a working professional, having a profile on LinkedIn is pretty much a “must.” That said, I tend to view LinkedIn as just a necessary thing on my “to do” list, as I have yet to find an effective (but not ridiculously time-consuming) way to turn LinkedIn into a truly viable source of sales leads. If you’ve cracked the code, please share your secrets with me!


I don’t know about you, but I receive quite a few LinkedIn connection requests from people I’ve never met. Because most of these people send me the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” note, there’s rarely any context for me to guess why they have singled me out.

Accept or decline?
Years ago when I first joined LinkedIn, my policy was to ignore connection requests from strangers. I saw LinkedIn as an online forum for connecting with people I had met in person. Eventually I changed my approach, and started accepting requests from people with whom I shared an interest (in this case, children’s life-threatening food allergies, my other area of expertise) or that I thought, based on their profile, may have a need for my writing services. As a result, I am now “connected” to close to 1,000 people—and I have absolutely no idea who most of these folks are.

Get the communication ball rolling
In an attempt to make the most of these seemingly random connections with strangers, I now have a standard reply that I send after I hit the “accept” button. This reply:

  • Thanks the person for connecting with me
  • States that I want to give them a little more insight about what I do
  • Provides a three-sentence explanation of my main services and target audience
  • Asks permission to start sending them my newsletter
  • Ends with “What I can do to help you?”

While it is wonderful when this letter leads to an actual conversation, most of the time it does not. Which is why I see the permission to add the person to my newsletter distribution list as the most important part of this note. Most people say yes, thereby giving me an opportunity to demonstrate my expertise and stay top-of-mind over time.


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What Others Are Saying

"Holy mother of God...this first draft is perfect! Like perfect! It's everything I wanted to say but just couldn't! Thank you thank you thank you Linda!"

Mark McManus
President, DisasterFree