For years, I told people not to connect on LinkedIn with everyone they knew. I recommended that people connect with the RIGHT people, such as co-workers, people you meet and know from other companies – especially in similar roles, and people you meet at conferences, but don’t connect with just anyone.
When someone would ask me who not to connect with on LinkedIn, the example I would always use was the pizza delivery guy. I’d say something like, “You don’t need to connect with a college student driving his mom’s car around town, delivering pizzas.” I would tell my clients and co-workers that connecting with this guy doesn’t add much value to your network, so don’t worry about it.
Recently, I’ve done a 180-degree turn on this stance for two reasons:
1) I’ve BEEN that delivery guy. 18 years ago, I delivered for restaurants in Burbank and Studio City, CA areas. That was my night job as I followed my dream of building a consulting company from scratch during the day.
Connecting with me at that time (if LinkedIn existed) could have potentially added a lot of value to folks from a digital marketing perspective. Also, since then as my career has matured, I have been in a position to help out a lot of people in many ways from a networking, hiring, digital marketing, e-commerce and social media perspective.
The pizza boy may be a delivery guy now, but he’s working, he’s hustling, and he’s going to make something of himself. Someday, the big tip you gave him, or the connection you made with him, may pay dividends, and worst case scenario, you may help someone out, and that’s never a bad thing.
2) On LinkedIn, you can only view profiles of people in your network (1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections). If someone outside of your network appears in search results, the result looks like the screenshot below, and the profile is blank when you click on it (unless you have Sales Navigator Team, where you can view out-of-network profiles).
Currently, I’m working with a lot of restaurants in the certain area, many of which are pizza joints. You know who be helpful to know right now? A BUNCH OF PIZZA DELIVERY GUYS! They could connect me to different restaurant general managers and/or owners of local restaurants. But, alas, I have never connected to a pizza delivery guy due to my shortsightedness.
Now, I’m not saying you should accept every invitation to connect your receive, or to start sending out mass invitations to connect to strangers and people you hardly know. What I am saying is to not discount the people you know and interact with on a daily basis simply based on what they do now. You never know where they (or you) will end up!
So, the next time I order a pizza, I’m going to ask the delivery guy to connect with me on LinkedIn. Sure, he may be a little weirded-out, but hey, he’ll probably be my boss in a few years, so I need to start learning about him now.
About the Author
Robert Knop is Founder and CEO of Assist You Today, a company dedicated to helping companies transform their social media programs from driving engagement to driving revenue. He’s a proud member of the Wave3 network of consultants, and always happy to talk strategy, digital and social selling.
If you’d like to learn how to set-up a sales-driving social selling program at your organization, contact Robert at 323-972-3566, or simply complete the short form below.
Photo: Yoshihide Nomura