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Building Your Lifeline on Inbound
Breaking into Strategic Accounts
1. Why You Shouldn’t (Usually) Lead with Connection Requests
So… you might very reasonably asking: wait, why haven’t we talked about this sooner?! It’s a great question. If you’ve done your homework and completed all the previous modules instead of just skipping this section, maybe you have a sense why connecting with accounts isn’t all that important.
You can accomplish each of the previous plays without leading with connection requests.
- You don’t need to be connected with someone to kickstart a conversation in the comments.
- You don’t need to be connected with an influencer to find their content.
- You don’t need connection requests to find conversations from interesting people, get people talking about you with good comments, or even dogpile an account
There’s one specific kind of connection request that doesn’t rely on warm-up strategies. That’s up next module! But generally we recommend leading with engagement instead of connection requests. Connection requests are higher stakes: people can ignore you, they can mark you as spam, or they can block you entirely. Why take the risk unless you’re very confident in its acceptance rate?
2. Combo Plays for Connection Requests
Remember the Vampire Sales Rule?
🧛🏻 You are not allowed to pitch unless you are invited to.
Keep that one in mind in all of these 😉 Just because they accept your connection request doesn’t mean it’s time to pitch.
Use connection requests in a combo play with another one of our plays:
Combine Influencer or Social Listening Comment Play w/ Connection Request
Here you’re going to combine either of the comment plays by obeying The Rule of 3:
Send a connection request after three back-and-forth comments between you and the ICP profile.
Combine Account Dogpile w/ Connection Request
Here you’re going to combine the Account Dogpile strategy with connection requests at different tiers of the dogpile.
Combine Blank Connection Request w/ Content Strategies
We’re going to cover the Content Strategies piece in our section on inbound, but suffice it to say – you can combine blank connection requests and then nurture them via content.
3. Options for Connection Requests
But what should you write — if anything — in the connection request?
This is our recommended option for most of your connections. After you have 3 back-and-forth conversations, send a personalized connection request. Continue the conversation in the DMs by adding a personalized note that continues the conversation. The goal is to generate good discussion in the DMs.
This is where you conduct personalized research in advance of sending a connection request. Find a news article, a recent post on LinkedIn, a podcast they were a guest on, etc. Include that in the connection request. The goal is to generate a conversation. Never just settle for a passive connect request.
Or – if combo’ing with the Account Dogpile play – use this as a way to route inside the account by adding context or names as credibility builders.
There are almost infinite variations here, but the goal is to keep it casual and credible. If you make it too professional, the mental spam filters of most buyers will block out the noise and they will decline your connection request.
This is where you send a connection request with no personalization note to a 2nd degree connection. It can work, especially when you’re starting to expand your network into new areas on LinkedIn (remember Module 5?). With the right headline and profile, it’s likely you can see 50%+ connection acceptance rates. However, you will likely have lower follow-up engagement. This is why we combo this with content and driving inbound.
The 2nd blank connection requests can also work well as referenced in the Account Dogpile play.
But there’s one more specific kind of connection request that doesn’t rely on warm-up strategies. That’s up next! 🤩
4. Withdraw Connections After 3 Weeks
Based on our benchmark data, 100% of the connection requests sent following the Rule of 3 with any of the comment plays should be accepted. But if you’re sending blank connection requests, chances are some people are going to outright ignore the request.
Automation software is a main culprit here: the software automates a certain number of connection requests, follow-up messages (usually pitches, not thank you notes), and profile views. LinkedIn has cracked down hard on these practices in order to win back the trust of users. We all hate the spammy connection requests, right?
One of the ways to keep on the good side of LinkedIn is to withdraw connection requests after 21 days.
- In our experience, >75% of connection requests that are accepted will happen within the first 24 hours.
- The next 20% happens within the next 7 days.
- The last 5% happen within 2 weeks.
- We’ve only had one or two connection requests (out of thousands) accepted after 20 days.
- Withdrawing connection requests makes you look like a real human, because you’re not stacking connection requests & endlessly spamming people. You’re being more considerate!
You can access this by clicking “My Network” and then selecting “Manage” in the top right. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and start withdrawing any names that are 3 weeks or older.