No Stranger Danger: How To Connect To Someone You Don’t Know On LinkedIn

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Using LinkedIn for sales  and B2B lead generation is built on connecting with people who can use your help. While connecting with a new person on LinkedIn can feel odd at first, there’s no sweat to it when you follow a simple process. 

Let’s talk about it:


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Do you remember that?


In the last days of the twentieth century, these things called chat rooms were having a heyday. They were social media without all the images, just text.


I would check the wall phone to listen for the dial tone. If no one was on the phone, I’d log-on from our family desktop in the living room, using the dial-up internet connection with all the screeching.


One was never certain whether internet access would be granted on the first go. Internet connections at the time were super finicky. But once the blue globe logo lit up in the bottom left corner of the desktop, I knew I was ready to rock and could get into the chat rooms on Yahoo!


And a/s/l or age/sex/location was a quick way to filter the sort of folks you wanted to chat with.


What I remember most about that time, being both in middle school and at the cusp of a new technological evolution, was how exciting it felt. I was using something in my home, a digital interface,  to connect with flesh-and-blood people from all over.


Sometimes we even called each other (if we could grab a free phone line)!


Depending on who it’s with, connections on LinkedIn can also feel a bit exciting.


Because of our primitive brains and their inherent reward centers, new information in our environment feels exciting (and can be addicting). 


Enter LinkedIn notifying you of new connections and connection requests.


It feels good to have people asking to be connected with us (even if only for a brief moment before you realize it’s another spammer who doesn’t know you from Adam). 


Who You Should Connect With On LinkedIn And Why


That said, not all LinkedIn connections are created equal. Building business relationships online can be tough. So you can keep from wasting your time or looking like a spammer, here are some questions and tips to quickly run through before reaching out to busy people via LinkedIn:


What sort of impact do I want to have?


Example: “I want to work with the world’s top business coaches because I believe that’s how I can make the biggest impact.”


You’re reaching out to people on LinkedIn because you believe they can help you somehow, whether with sales or otherwise.

Now, even if they were willing and able to help you, you want to make sure they actually can help you accomplish the desires of your heart.


What 2 sorts of people could help you reach your goal?


Considering your desired impact or goal, who would it make most sense to connect with


Thinking about reciprocity, How might you be able to help them?


No one likes to help the desperate man or woman. One way to avoid the perception of neediness is to offer some kind of benefit to people who can help you.


Can you introduce them to someone in your network? Consider your special strengths and levels of access to resources.


List 2 reasons you might want to connect


Are you looking for work opportunities? New clients? Projects?


After those questions and considerations, you need to be sure you’re targeting the right person to begin with


You’re likely on the lookout for directors


“LinkedIn recently released a study that showed about 70% of the deals started on the platform were led by directors. Directors have this good mesh of availability and power. That’s what makes them such a force in the B2B business world.”


— From the Ultimate LinkedIn Sales Lead Generation Guide: Use LinkedIn For B2B Sales 


But align your B2B lead generation with your business model 


In different industries, for example, directors are not always the best people to hit up cold. In some cases, the best person to message is the project manager, like one company found.


When business owners and executives don’t align their B2B lead generation efforts with their business models, they’ll just end up getting frustrated, blaming their sales professionals and threatening their marketing agencies for not delivering results — when a simple self-reflection could reconcile things.


The basic business models/distribution models include


 Popular. Encouraged by the proliferation of the internet, this structure occurs when the supplier manages all the moving parts in the value chain, selling directly to customers.



A company works with a “middleman” or distributor in order to reach its customers



When potentially thousands of distributors service the customers suppliers (you) are trying to sell to.


Different business models can affect your original point of contact. I’ve written more about this here.


Track specific titles that make your life easy


I love when customers know the specific titles that make their best target customer. When they say,  “I am looking for decision-makers with the word ‘innovation’ in their title” or “I’m looking for ‘digital something-or-other VPs’ as my top target,” I know they’ve given the LinkedIn Lead Generation process sufficient thought”


— Learn more in the Ultimate LinkedIn Sales Lead Generation Guide: Use LinkedIn For B2B Sales


How To Connect With 1 in 3 Execs Via LinkedIn


Let’s talk about connecting with executives or your new customers via LinkedIn.  I’ll be honest here and say that this is probably one of the least difficult parts of your whole entire LinkedIn Lead Generation process. It’s because there is  a very low barrier here, the person in question just has to hit the “accept” button. And typically people are willing to click it.


It’s just not that hard to do.


You just have to make sure your connection request is un-skippable. That’s something adding a note is going to help with. Don’t send your LinkedIn connection requests into the world blind and naked.


In order to add a note, just click the option that reads, “add a note” after you hit the “connect”  button. 


Here’s what you should add in your note: things you have in common such as location, past employers, career field, etc. You also want to give a reason for connecting. You should be honest. If gearing up for a sales pitch, signal that.


I might mention something like, “I am looking to expand my business.”  This way people can’t be surprised when I pitch them later.


This is the basic connection template I use:


Sample connection template


Hi [First Name]! [Who You’re Connected With And Why] I noticed your profile: you’re a fellow [Points Of Familiarity]. [Share Why You’re Connecting]. Hope to connect on LinkedIn.

-[Your Name]


Now here’s an example of what it might look like

Sample connection message


Hi Dimitri! I’d just connected with Mary S. and Tom W. (2 of our 12 mutual contacts) when I noticed your profile: you’re a fellow marketer and entrepreneur in Denver. I’m new here from the Southeast and looking to build new connections. Hope to connect on LinkedIn.

-Jean-Marc Saint Laurent


…And it’s that simple. This simple template, on average, gets one in three executives connecting with us. 

By the way, if you’re looking to do LinkedIn Lead Generation that produces amazing results for you and your business, I’ve created the “Ultimate LinkedIn Sales Lead Generation Guide” so could better use LinkedIn for B2B Sales.


You’ll learn:


  • How to find the right decision makers at qualified businesses
  • The free hack that melts sales call resistance with almost any prospect
  • The number 1 sales mistake people make on LinkedIn
  • The strategy a local family-owned business used to land a six-figure deal with a major tech company.
  • How to contact almost anyone by mining LinkedIn (and other sites) for accurate contact information.
  • And more


Fill out the form below for your free guide.