3 Key Ways To Engage With New Connections On LinkedIn

April 12, 2018

How many times has this happened to you… You get a connection invitation come through from someone in your target market on LinkedIn or perhaps a potential prospect has accepted your connection invite. But after that nothing eventuates.

Maybe it was because you didn’t follow up, weren’t quite sure what to say or perhaps the message you sent to them just didn’t resonate so they never responded to you. Sound familiar? Well, don’t worry you’re not alone…

It happens all the time and this exact question came up during a workshop we were running for KPMG a few weeks ago. After hearing this from so many people we’ve decided it’s time we wrote an article sharing 3 ways you can engage with new connections and turn them into lead, business or sales opportunities.

Now before we get in to all of that, for these strategies to work there are a few foundational steps you need to take to ensure you’re set up for success. This includes identifying your client avatar and who is it you’re targeting on LinkedIn. Some of the key metrics you need to think about are:

1) Job Title
2) Location
3) Industry
4) Company Size
5) Seniority Level

This is absolutely crucial and one of the BIGGEST reasons why a lot of people don’t turn connections into new meeting opportunities. Once you are clear on your target market then it’s a matter of flushing out your overall sales process and thinking about how LinkedIn can tie into it.

For example if during your sales process you have a quick qualification phone call with a prospect. Then potentially the best way for you to leverage LinkedIn is to transition your conversations here into phone calls, as that’s the obvious way to tie LinkedIn into your overall sales process. The next foundational step is to set the sales objectives you would like to achieve specifically from LinkedIn over the next 3, 6 and 12 months.

This will help you stay focused and give you purpose for leveraging the platform on a day to day basis. Now in order to know your sales goals you first need to get clear on your sales conversions.

For example let’s say you convert 50% of the leads that come through. If you’re shooting for 10 new clients from LinkedIn in 3 months that means you need a total of 20 leads to achieve that.

With your sales conversions in place, the final step is to go and develop your compelling LinkedIn profile as this is a key component and the centerpiece to all your efforts on the platform. Here’s an article we’ve written on how to do exactly that.

If your profile doesn’t connect with your target audience then no matter what we show you in this blog post your efforts are going to come up short. So invest some time in your profile as a matter of priority.

Also, the strategies we’re about to share with you are for engaging with new connections not existing contacts in your network. So you need to be actively going out there and building your network based on the client avatar we spoke about earlier.

To do that you will need Sales Navigator as that enables you to quickly and easily search, find and connect with your target market on LinkedIn. This will give you a step by step system to engaging, connecting and building relationships on LinkedIn using our award winning methodology.

As well as that you will also learn what tools and systems you need in place to make it happen. With that said, let’s move onto the 3 key ways to engaging with new connections and how to best turn them into lead, sales and business opportunities.


We think it’s crazy when we hear of people who get replies to their connection invites and don’t respond for days and sometimes even weeks. This is a perfect opportunity to start engaging in a conversation with that connection and building a relationship.

So the first strategy in order to build relationships on LinkedIn is through engaging with your new connections responses. Even if they have only got back to you with a simple thanks for connecting this is an opportunity to start a dialogue.

If you are following our system and the steps within it you will get anywhere from 40 – 60% accept your connection invite. From those you will get 8 – 12% actually replying back to it, which is your opportunity to start the conversation.

In some cases we’ve seen members achieve reply response rates of around 25% from new connections. So when you get a reply whether that be a simple ‘Thanks’ ‘Good To Connect’ or a ‘Thumbs Up’ don’t just move on to the next connection, think of some creative ways on how you can reply back to them.

Similar to what you would do at a networking function, when you first meet someone, you would find something to strike up a conversation. And LinkedIn is no different.

For example look at their profile, you might notice they are connected with someone in your network. Why not go back with “I noticed you’re connected with Cameron, how do you know each other? I’ve known Cam since high school”.

It’s a simple way to start a conversation with the purpose of building a relationship which may one day lead into business. Another strategy is looking at where that potential prospect is based and mentioning to them that you head into that area from time to time and it would be good to connect over a coffee next time.

Now these are just a few ways on how you can start a conversation, you would be surprised how easy it is to follow up once you get a little creative. It might take a few messages back and forward but eventually you will know the right time to say something like “be great to jump on a quick phone call’ or connect in person.

Again remember to keep your overall sales process in mind and know the connection between that and your LinkedIn campaigns. With that said let’s now look at strategy number two when turning new connections into lead, business and sale opportunities.

Private Messaging

So far we’ve covered what to do for those who reply to your personalised invite. Strategy number two is all about following up those who connected but didn’t reply to this connection invitation.

Last year LinkedIn made some huge changes to the overall look and feel of the inbox function making it easier to track new and old messages. Based on these changes anytime someone accepts your invitations of which you have personalised, you will receive a notification in your inbox regardless of whether they have or haven’t replied to that invite. Below is a screenshot of what that looks like…

As you can see Donna has accepted the invitation but hasn’t responded to it. If she did you would be able to see her response below mine. The goal in strategy number two is to follow up everyone who has accepted your personalised invite but not replied to you with a follow up message to spark a conversation with them.

Now if you’re sending out invitations Monday to Friday, the best time to follow up with the private message is the following Tuesday at around 2pm. Over time we’ve tested many different times and days and we’ve found 2pm on a Tuesday to be the one that gets the most amount of replies.

Obviously this works well for our industry and timezone so it’s always best to test this for your target demographic. To execute this strategy all you or your assistant need to do is visit your LinkedIn inbox look at all the messages that are unread which look like the screenshot above.

Then go through them one by one with a reply message starting from the top all the way down until there are no more messages left. The message could be as simple as:

“Great to connect (name), do you ever head down to (city location) be great to grab a coffee?”

“Great to connect! I often share content on (my profession / skill) let me know if there’s anything you want covered?”

Using similar examples as those we’ve listed above we’re seeing a response rate of around 15 – 20% of people replying and then starting a conversation with us, which in turn becomes a phone call or face to face meeting. Here’s an example of one from a campaign we launched earlier this year. The image below shows the private message follow up as well as Andy’s response.

He then got back with the message below and from there we ended up meeting for a coffee a few weeks later.

Once you have finished sending these messages, simply repeat the process week in week out. Send out 75 invitations per day, respond to those who get back to you and follow up those who don’t with your follow up script. With that said this brings us to strategy number 3 and that is all about …

Content Distribution:

If you follow and execute the first two strategies properly week in week out you should be adding between 150-200 targeted contacts to your network per week. That’s if you are sending 75 invites per day which is what we recommend.

Some of those contacts would have replied to you within the connection campaign and others through the follow up message. For those who haven’t replied to you at all, there is a reason for this such as:

– Maybe they’re not in the market for what you do
– Haven’t developed enough trust or rapport with you
– Not ready to jump on the phone or face to face meeting
– See no need for your product or service

For those connections we want to serve them with valuable and engaging content to stay top of mind, build your expertise and thought leadership so that you can start turning them into raving fans. The fact that they are now connected with you means your content will start showing up in their newsfeed so it’s a matter of being consistent with your approach and publishing content weekly.

And the best form of content to publish on LinkedIn are status updates as that is what’s getting the most traction right now. This includes text updates, image updates and video. For a comprehensive article on how to write status updates that get a huge amount of engagement and reach check out our post here for a step by step guide.

Every month we generate at least 250 leads just from our status updates, from our founder’s account alone. If you’re not sharing content and building up your influence and personal brand in the next 5 years you simply won’t exist.

We can’t stress how important this is as over time you will notice an incredible amount of inbound leads coming through. There’s no better time than now to start.

Keep it simple and just start posting up 2 status updates a week. This is more than enough to get started. Now that you know about the three strategies let us share with you the process we follow to structure this on a weekly basis so that you can run this like clock work day in day out.

1) First and foremost you need to create a saved search through Sales Navigator based on your client avatar (position, location, industry, company size and seniority level).

2) Then write a personalised connection script for those leads (just one that can be used for everyone).

3) Once you’ve done that write your private follow up message as well as your first weeks worth of content.

4) Next step is to provide all of these resources to your assistant through a meeting so they can manage the campaign on your behalf.

5) In this meeting you need to give them all the resources they need and tell them how you want the week structured. This should look like the following:

– Monday to Friday 75 connections invites sent each day following this saved search at 4.30PM.
– Tuesday 2PM send this private message to anyone who accepted but did not reply.

6) Let them know about the 2 posts you have written, the schedule and where they can find all the resources.

7) Once you have done this you need to get your assistant to execute the campaigns on a weekly basis.

Your goal each week is to reply to all messages you get in your inbox and write two to three posts by every Wednesday for the following week. Then just rinse and repeat the process. Once the connections in this saved search are finished simply do this with a new target demographic to start a new campaign.

So there you have it, a proven and systemised way to find, connect and build relationships with new connections on LinkedIn. Follow this process and you’ll be well on your way to converting a lot of connections through LinkedIn.

Lead Management Simplified

Say goodbye to spreadsheets, poor performing campaigns and hours of wasted time manually handling your leads on LinkedIn. Jayla will help you develop your overall strategy, manage your opportunities, set automated reminders to follow up prospects you’re in conversation with and track your ROI.

Still early days, but I've done just over

Stephen Brookes

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