8 Common Types of LinkedIn Request Lines That Flat-Out Don't Work (& What to Say Instead)

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Aja Frost
Aja Frost


Most prospects have tens (or even hundreds) of pending LinkedIn invites to respond to — which means that when they finally get to yours, it’s only getting mere seconds of attention. And in such a short span of time, a single bad line can condemn your invite to the “ignore” pile.

ineffective linkedin request lines being used

If you want your invites to make it all the way to your prospects’ inboxes, never use these eight clunkers again.

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8 Common Types of LinkedIn Request Lines That Don't Work

1. “We’re both members of [LinkedIn group].”

You always want to find common ground with your prospect — so mentioning a LinkedIn group you both belong to seems like a no-brainer, right?

Not necessarily.

Being part of the same LinkedIn group isn't a particularly special draw. A user can belong to up to 100 groups on the platform, and many groups of hundreds of thousands of members — making this line pretty uncompelling and leaving prospects wondering, “So what?”

What to Say Instead

You can still allude to LinkedIn groups when making requests on the platform, but be as locked-in as possible — that means joining smaller, more focused, exclusive groups and connecting with prospects based on their engagement within them.

For instance, if your prospect belongs to a group with fewer than 100 people, hone in on it. Request to join, and once you‘ve been approved, try to find a comment or post they’ve made. Then, reference that contribution in your opening line.

Going with, “I appreciated your helpful [comment, post] on [topic] in [group name],” will yield better results than the vague line at the top of this section.

2. “Would you be open to a quick phone call to discuss how [product] can help you?”

A phone call is a pretty big ask to lead with — it‘s a classic case of "too much, too soon." You need to develop some kind of rapport with your prospect before they’re willing to give you that kind of time and attention.

Asking for a phone call in your LinkedIn invite is like trying to greet a first date with a kiss. If you lead with this line, you might wind up being denied or even reported for spam. Strike this phrase from your LinkedIn vocabulary and have a little patience.

What to Say Instead:

At this stage of the game, you have one simple goal: Convince the prospect you’re worth including in their LinkedIn network. From there, you can start to develop the kind of trust and rapport you need to schedule a meeting, down the line.

Give them a reason to accept — and that might include a bit of flattery. Ask to keep up with their career. For example, you might write something to the effect of:

  • “I'm hoping to become a part of your network so I can follow your work in biotech.”

3. “I know we don’t know each other.”

If you‘ve never met someone, odds are they know that too. There’s no point in pointing out the obvious — you don't want to waste precious LinkedIn request real estate leading with a fact that both of you know.

You‘re also giving them cause to not accept your invitation — if you’re a total stranger, why should they trust you? Similarly, you want to stay away from statements like “We’ve never met, but … ”or “Although we’ve never spoken before … ”

What to Say Instead:

Rather than acknowledging you’ve never crossed paths with your prospect, explain how you found their LinkedIn account in the first place. Not only will this make your request seem less random, it also gives you the opportunity to compliment them. Again, a little flattery usually helps your chances.

Here’s an example:

  • “I came across your profile while looking for experienced corporate communications specialists, and was impressed by how much you’ve accomplished in the last eight years.”

4. “I saw your profile and wanted to connect.”

This is the most obvious line you can drop on a prospect. You seeing a prospect‘s profile and wanting to connect is literally the sequence that brings everyone to connection requests. If you didn’t do both of those things, you wouldn't be sending a request in the first place.

It's also completely focused on your actions and desires. Prospects don‘t care about what you want — especially if you’ve never spoken to you before. You want to keep things prospect-centric when trying to connect via LinkedIn, so this line is particularly useless.

What to Say Instead:

Focus on what the prospect wants, and that might not always be obvious — it might require some detective work. For instance, you might want to do a little digging on their Twitter to see if they‘ve mentioned any challenges they’re facing at work, or you could review their company's career page to find positions you could recommend some of your connections for.

You could also use that insight to help you find a relevant resource for them. One of those lines could look like this:

  • “I noticed BiggerPlanet is looking for a data scientist — we just filled a similar position at my company, and our team found this hiring guide extremely useful [link].”

5. “I’d love to explore how we can provide value to each other.”

Unlike the last line, at least this one focuses on the mutual benefits of connecting. However, it’s still highly problematic. If you’re not already clear on how you can help the other person, then why reach out?

Furthermore, this comment assumes the prospect has the time, energy, and interest to sit around figuring out how you two can help each other. If that’s how sales worked, you’d already be at quota for life.

What to Say Instead

Don’t wait to “explore” your options: Provide value to the prospect starting from your first interaction and kick off the process yourself. If you’ve done your homework and you still can’t think of any way to enhance their life, focus on creating rapport instead.

Here are two examples:

  • “I also hail from the great state of Nebraska — Huskers for the win! It would be great to connect on here.”
  • “I noticed you listed ‘roller derby’ under your interests — that’s pretty darn cool. How true-to-life was the movie ‘Whip It’?”

6. “I’d love to have you join my webinar. Register here: [link].”

Lines like this are far too self-serving — you’re clearly attempting to drive webinar traffic and get the prospect into your funnel without understanding if they could actually benefit from the discussion.

Second, it begins with “I’d love ... ” Databox CEO and former HubSpot VP of Sales Pete Caputa advises reps to cut “I’d love,” “I’d like,” or “I want” from their vocabulary. As he puts it, “Who cares what you want? Your prospects don't care about you. They care about themselves, their needs, and their own agenda.”

Harsh, but true.

What to Say Instead

Fixing this invitation killer is easy: Highlight it and press “Delete.” Once you’ve connected with a prospect and familiarized yourself with their unique situation, interests, and potential pain points, then — and only then — you should send the link to a webinar you’re sure is relevant to them.

If you’re tempted to use “I’d love … ” in a different section of your message, Caputa recommends swapping this expression out for “Would you be interested in … ?”

7. “You’ve got a great profile — let’s connect!”

Unfortunately, reps throw this meaningless line into their connection requests all the time. Flattery can be effective when trying to connect with prospects — but it needs to be more specific. This line could apply to virtually anyone on LinkedIn.

What constitutes a “great” profile? And why is it a good reason to connect?

The world will never know — so please, don’t include this one in your invite.

What to Say Instead:

Again, praise is persuasive when it’s both specific — and even more when it's genuine. With that in mind, look for something you truly admire about the prospect’s career, list of achievements, and/or company.

To give you an idea, you might write: “I started using the HubSpot CRM a month ago, and I’m never going back. It’s powerful but easy to use -- thanks for building a fantastic product!”

If you wanted to commend the prospect themselves, try something like, “Three promotions in six years? You’re on fire.”

8. “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

This phrase is LinkedIn’s suggested default message when you request to connect with somebody -— and if your prospect sees it, they’ll know you made exactly zero effort to customize your outreach.

What to Say Instead:

Almost anything is better than this — except for the seven lines above, of course. Reference how you know the prospect, comment on a piece of content they’ve posted, and add a substantive bit of value.

Once you've replaced these cringe-inducing lines from your requests, prospects will be much likelier to click “accept.” After that, you can slide into their InMail like a pro.

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