There is an old saying, “If you want to catch fish, fish where the fish are.”
In the world of professional networking, the “fishes” could be found on LinkedIn.
According to Statista, LinkedIn has 396 million users as of Q3 of 2015.
Now THAT is a huge fishing pond.
But also because of that, LinkedIn is becoming saturated with template InMails and Nigerian scams.
I lost count of the number of times I was told to inherit a billion dollar from some government officials in a third world country– and not forgetting the messages from connections, notifications from groups and random invitations from strangers.
Getting their attention to you
Despite all that, LinkedIn remains a powerful source of people you could benefit from. You might be looking for mentors, business leads or simply to conduct a reference check – it is the place to go to.
The key is to stand out from all the noise that is buzzing in the background and be the musical melody that draws their attention.
1.Sending invites to their corporate email
I used to send out hundreds of invites per day because I realized many wouldn’t reply and accept my invitation. Needless to say, I was just spraying and praying.
So if my target is to add 10 connections per day, I would send out at least 100 invitations because the acceptance rate borders around 10%.
It was a stupid approach. Even though you could get that 10%, you are annoying 90% of the people you are contacting and some of them have no qualms marking you as spam.
I had my LinkedIn account suspended 3 times because of that. I don’t think they will let me off so easily if I were to do it again.
So I looked at the whole process flow and realized why the acceptance rate is so low.
Most users would register their personal email addresses with LinkedIn. They might put in their corporate email address, but chances are these would be listed as secondary emails.
Which mean they won’t receive alerts via those inbox.
Instead, they would get them in their Gmail.
How many of us actually check our Gmail on a regular basis?
I have a friend who has about 20,000 unread emails in his. If you were to send him an invitation, he should get back to you by the year 2020.
A better way to reach out to your target is via their corporate email address instead. And this is where Email Hunter will come in useful.
Email Hunter gives you direct access to all the web’s email addresses. With their Chrome extension installed, you could see a new Email Hunter button at every profile page.
A click on that shows you the potential corporate email address of the profile.
With that information, you would send a connection invite as you normally would. But instead, select the Others option. That allow you to key in an email address.
Put in the corporate email address you found and your invite would go straight to your target corporate inbox which I believe they would be checking every other minute.
2. Sending direct messages via Groups
Another way of connecting with your target is simply to bypass the connection process altogether.
You could do so by monitoring closely the groups that your target is in.
Get into those groups as a member.
Once you are approved, you would have access to the entire members directory.
Find your target within the director and you would see a Send Message option made available.
This would allow you to send a direct message to your target without waiting for them to accept your connection invite.
3. Ego-bait InMail
Despite all that you have done, your target might be inundated with similar invitations and messages.
Your message has to stand out from the rest and the best way to do so is via an ego-bait.
An ego-bait InMail would carry a significant amount of praise and awe of your target, with strong reference to their current success that you identified on LinkedIn.
A typical message would look like:
I was doing research for CFO on LinkedIN and I stumbled on your profile. I am so amazed by your career trajectory and how you’ve managed to achieve so much over your career!
I am currently working as a Financial Controller and is looking to better equip myself with the skill sets required to prepare myself for CFO opportunities.
I hope I could learn from you a tip or two. Coffee’s on me. :)
4. Using referral system
If all that isn’t working for you, you need a connector to act as your bridge.
You might be targeting someone with major trust issues. These are people who are very cautious about adding new people to their circle, even if the circle is virtual.
LinkedIn has a referral request function that allow you to send a dedicated message to a profile you are connected with and have them forward your connection request to your target.
Importantly you want to explain why you want your 1st-degree connection to forward your request to their connection.
Make sure you write from the target’s benefit in connecting with you. So instead of telling your 1st-degree connection it is because you wish to “sell the target your product”, you want to phrase it as “the target could solve their procurement bottleneck with your solution.”
End it off with another brief paragraph about your background and how it would be relevant to your target.
5. Creating a group for your target
The final resort is to start your own LinkedIn group.
Assuming you are targeting HR Directors. What you want to do is to start a group catering to HR Directors which allow them to join and share their domain expertise.
Give it a prestigious name like HR Thought Leaders in Singapore.
Now your target won’t find out and gravitate to the group automatically. Your best bet is to hustle at a few influencers in the HR space and convince them to join the group.
They will act as your magnet to draw the rest of the crowd in.
The best part about this strategy is you are the group owner. As the owner, you could send a message to ALL members at the same time instead of individually, as we covered under point 2.
Featured photo credit: Businessmen shaking hands/reynermedia via flic.kr