Are you on LinkedIn? If so, you’ve probably ‘connected’ with someone or received a ‘connection request’. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn enables users to state how they know each other, with the intention of discouraging those who do not actually know each other to connect.
So, you’ve identified the person that you want to connect with, now you have to select how you know the person. Are you a colleague, either past or present? This one is fairly self-explanatory. Were you classmates? Again, this one is fairly straightforward, as is the option to connect as friends. However, it’s the option of ‘we’ve done business together’ that is slightly limited. This option, to me, is the option that suppliers or contractors use to connect with individuals that they have either worked for or appointed to work as an external supplier. However, this is also the route that prospective suppliers go down. Now, whilst I am aware of the relationship between the external individual and I appreciate that they are looking to work on a project however it seems slightly presumptuous to offer to connect because ‘we’ve done business together’, when we haven’t.
Therefore, I’m going to propose that LinkedIn offer another option into the connection field. I’m not quite sure of the wording, something like ‘we’d love to do business with you’ would better define the prospect/ client relationship. Ok, I appreciate that this could lead to a lot of spamming from agencies hoping to connect via cold connecting, however I would like to think that those receiving connection requests will use their best judgement before accepting a connection request.
Oh, and a footnote on this… just in case anyone thinks that this blog is about a specific example, i.e. them! Don’t panic, I saw someone on LinkedIn recently that fell into more than one category and I had to think twice before I selected my connect option.