Dustin Wheeler

Dustin Wheeler
Dustin is a technology-driven CPA in Orem, Utah.

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How to handle a LinkedIn connection request from someone you don't know

A couple of years ago, I wrote LinkedIn Questionsabout the LinkedIn connection dilemma I face when I receive a request from someone I don’t know.  Back then, I would just hit the “ignore” button because I have no idea who John Doe is, nor do I know any tire salesmen across the country in Maine.

I have taken a different approach after reading a few blog posts by Joel Ungar in AccountingWEB.  Joel is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC in the Detroit area and a CPA who really understands social media.

Like me, Joel sometimes receives LinkedIn connection invitations from people he doesn’t know with the generic text, “I’d like to add you to my professional network.”  However, he doesn’t ignore all of them.  He has a rule for requests from the Detroit area: if he meets them first, he’ll accept.  He replies to invitations (without initially accepting them) to explain his rule and suggest meeting for lunch, breakfast or coffee.  Joel says that he has developed some great relationships from this rule.

Be sure to read Joel’s excellent advice for how to make a connection on LinkedIn.  He also has several examples of how NOT to make a connection on LinkedIn (sales pitch, not taking time to learn about a person, and starting a relationship with a falsehood).

Many of his replies to LinkedIn invitations go unanswered, which is unfortunate.  He is a nice guy and fun to talk to.  I met Joel briefly last year when he came to Las Vegas for a conference and look forward to meeting up with him again next month.

If you’re ready to make a LinkedIn connection the right way and you’re willing to meet in some shape or form, you can find me at http://www.linkedin.com/in/dustinwheeler.

3 comments to How to handle a LinkedIn connection request from someone you don’t know

  • Gosh I love this post! Thanks Dustin.

  • Laura Berthiaume

    Hey Joel or Dustin, what about second or third connections? If you can see that you know that person through some other people, does it really hurt to add them. What’s the idea behind avoiding adds if they could become a potential client or contact?


  • Laura – it is really up to you. There are a lot of people on LinkedIn known as LIONs – LinkedIn Open Networkers – who will accept any invitation. I tried that for a while and realized that, for me, there wasn’t value in being “connected” to people I didn’t know and wouldn’t every know. How could I make an honest introduction. I’m not going to say that I know 100% of the people I’m connected to, but the vast majority there is some basis for the connection.

    Dustin referred to my Detroit area rule, and I’m very firm on it. And as Dustin mentioned, I’ve made some great relationships as a result. To me, it doesn’t really matter if they are 2nd or 3rd level. But that’s me. I’m a rebel.

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