How to Approach a New Connection

Do these 11 things to make more successful new relationships

Image of handshaking cyber hand extending from computer screen
Treat your sales prospects on LinkedIn by professionals by doing some homework with respect for their time to build more successful relationships.

This post was inspired by a thread on LinkedIn by Jeff Molander. The problem was that folks solicit new connections without learning anything about their target. It seems assumed that everyone wants their services.

I get it. I’m amazed how these process continues unabated.

LinkedIn is made up of 660 million professionals and a lot of us prefer to be treated with a modicum of respect.

This is not SnapChat.

Treat LinkedIn's audience of 660 million professionals with a little respect and your outcomes will most likely be a lot better. Click To Tweet


Check their website, blog and social media to learn about your contacts. Identify what you have in common. Find the people they hang out with and try to connect with them. If they are not on social media, look for co-authors, vendors, family and friends on social media. Note their colleges, sports teams, hobbies and charities.

Follow, Register, Read, Join

Be their best fan. Sign up for their newsletter, join their Facebook group, read their book or take their course. Absorb their content. Show up for livestreams. Contribute in their communities. Use your talents to help. Join LinkedIn groups that they are members of and reach out to them through the group.

Comment and Review

Comment on their content. Review their books. On LinkedIn, endorse or recommend them; give them kudos. Be helpful to their audience. Retweet and share their messages. Mention them by name in social media messages.

Give First

Send them a lead, referral or tip. Send them an article that ties with their interests. Take a screenshot of a comment or review before you hit submit and send it to them.

Ask to Connect

Don’t just hit the Connect button on LinkedIn. Add a note and share what you have in common. Don’t make any other request yet. Connect with their connections and ask for an introduction.

Simple Ask

Once you are connected, do a simple ask. Demonstrate your knowledge from your research. Send an article you’ve written that lines up with their audience’s interest and ask their opinion. Ask to quote them on their comment. Ask to repost one of their posts.

Demonstrate Your Research

Show that you have done your homework. Refer to something they have written or said. Pay attention to their social media conversations and join in.

Send Handwritten Notes

Surprise them with a handwritten note or letter. Any snail mail is truly unexpected and memorable. Perhaps an oversized card?

Send a Small Gift with a Tease or Call-to-Action

Mail a small premium with your request. A shiny penny asking “A Penny for your Thoughts” about a topic or article. Send a Starbucks gift card and ask for a virtual or in person coffee break. I’ve sent whistles, chocolate, keys, musical greeting cards, swag. Anything that creates a “lumpy” package is intriguing and sure to be opened.

Leave a LinkedIn Video Voicemail

In the LinkedIn mobile app, you can send a video voicemail that will stand out once you are connected to your prospect. Keep the message short. Thirty-seconds is best. You have up to a minute.

Request an Interview or Collaboration

Now that you have shown your genuine, shared interest in similar topics and connections, reach out to make a slightly larger ask, say for an interview or collaboration on an article or blog post.

If you want to learn more about how experts network and develop long-lasting, profitable connections, you might be interested in my Dream Networking Program or on Etsy.


See bio at or