This is a guest post by Ted Jenkin from oXYgen Financial and Your Smart Money Moves.

Now that you have hit that magic 500+ number on LinkedIn, what should you start to do next with your new LinkedIn connections? Most people don’t just want a large number of connections on LinkedIn, but new appointments or centers of influence. After all, isn’t that why we connect in the first place?

The challenge is that most advisors don’t understand the key steps needed to convert their 1st-degree connections to an appointment!

If you’re ready to start converting 1st-degree connections to new appointments for your practice, check out these key tips:

  1. Start with a KILLER subject line

How many emails and messages have you ignored because of their dull subject line? On LinkedIn, you make connections through various forms and fashions. When reaching out, try to remember how you actually met the person. Here are some examples:

  • Keep it simple: “Great to meet someone as successful as you!” or “Appreciate you connecting with me today.”
  • Reference meeting them IRL: “So cool to have met you at yesterday’s Rotary meeting” or “I was so glad to hang out with you at the chairman’s conference in New York City”.
  • Butter, butter, butter: “Loved your article and take on digital marketing!” or “Loved your post the other day on successful entrepreneurs”.
  • Shock value: “Here’s something 99.26% of people don’t know…” or “I’ll put a new client in your pocket in 30 days… or I’ll do a shot of Tequila”.
  1. Find common ground

Many people don’t know how to start a simple dialogue with people on LinkedIn. Treat these conversations just as you would one over a cup of coffee with a prospect! Open the conversation naturally with a common interest, common group, or a common article you have both read. The key is to establish some footing of comfort for the two of you to open up a conversation. You would NEVER ask someone over a cup of coffee for their business in the first sixty seconds, yet people do it all the time on LinkedIn.

  1. Discuss something of interest to them

The key here is not to sell right away, but rather open up an interesting concept that will lead to an appointment. An example I’ve used would be, “Did you see the note Trump put out the other day on possibly making another tax adjustment this year?”. Keep the message open-ended so you can create a more meaningful dialogue just as you would on the phone or face-to-face.

  1. Give something of value

Want to get a reaction from your 1st-degree connections on LinkedIn? Give them something of value. You could offer a free guide, free eBook, copy of your book, introduce a referral, or anything they’d find of value that opens up the door for a relationship. Naturally, if you can put something in the pocket of your future client, you’ll have a better chance of setting the appointment. You may also want to invite them to a local event, a webinar, or someplace where you can meet face-to-face.

  1. Extend the conversation

If all seems to be going well and you have at least THREE messages that have gone back and forth, consider asking for the appointment. This could be a phone or face-to-face meeting, but after THREE messages, you’ve likely established enough of dialogue to say it’s time to connect for a meeting.

Do you have other techniques you use on LinkedIn to set appointments? Let us know what your best messages or tips are in the comments below!