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Using LinkedIn for Sales: When to Connect with Prospects on LinkedIn

“When I cold call a prospect and they have some interest in my product, for example they take a demo, at what point should I invite this person to my LinkedIn network? Now? When the deal closes? Or somewhere in-between?”

Is there a valid reason why you should both be connected?
Before You Try and Use LinkedIn for Sales, Answer these questions:

  1. Can you possibly help them solve a problem now or in the future?
  2. Are you or is what you can do for them in their best interest?
  3. Will they be better off connecting with you then you are of them?

If the answer is YES, why wait?

Make Every Effort to Get on Their Radar

There’s nothing wrong in my book with calling, leaving the right voicemail message followed by an email and a request to connect on LinkedIn.
If your voicemail and email message was spot on, they will WANT to connect with you on LinkedIn because your message got them to see that you are a value added resource for them.
If, however, your voicemail and email message was like a typical sales message (all about them and very little of WHATS IN IT FOR THE PROSPECT) then no matter how long you wait, the prospect will not see any reason to connect with you on LinkedIn.
It’s not about the timing of your connection request, its about the perceived value you bring to them.
Now what you do after sending them a connection request is a different story.
Before LinkedIn & Twitter, salespeople were left with making repeat calls and or mailing hand written notes. The last thing you want to do is become viewed as a stalker. So make sure you have a system that once you call, leave a voicemail message, send an email and a LinkedIn connection request, that you have a plan moving forward that will accomplish two things:

  1. Get results while ensuring you don’t become a pest to your prospect;
  2. Allows you to make sure you have time for continued prospecting.

You want to AVOID calling the same leads over and over again. So have a system that safe guards you from becoming a pest.
Something like:

DAY ONE: Call, voicemail, email, LinkedIn request

DAY THREE: 2nd call / email

DAY FIVE: 3rd and final call / email

If no response after that last attempt, add them to your value added drip marketing campaign (that’s a whole other subject).
But something simple like the plan above will ensure that you are being persistent without becoming a pest while making sure you still have plenty of time for your other critical sales activities.
– Michael Pedone
Michael Pedone is a straight commissioned sales person with 20+ years experience selling by phone. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – an online sales training company that shows inside sales teams how to eliminate call reluctance and close more sales.

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