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14 Types of People to Connect With on LinkedIn

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What You Need to Know

  • Once you have a range of first-level connections on LinkedIn, you can approach second-level connections as potential clients.
  • Influencers, people who know people or those with common interests make good prospects.
  • LinkedIn is an effective, convenient way to keep in touch with prospects who don't live near you.

Isn’t everyone looking at LinkedIn as the next great prospecting tool? You need a wide range of first-level connections to raise your visibility and establish yourself as a subject matter expert. LinkedIn will allow you to invite your contact list to become connections. That’s good, but we should approach this more strategically. 

You want your LinkedIn connections to have certain characteristics. Ideally they currently do business or have the potential to do business. They might be influencers, or people who know people. Maybe they have interests in common. People do business with people they like.

14 Logical Categories of Connection Opportunity

Let’s look at silos of people who should be on your list. My strategy is to approach second-level connections, where we know someone in common.

1. Current clients. This shouldn’t violate confidentiality because they aren’t identified as clients. Your firm can clarify this further.

Rationale: They do business. You can drip-market to them through your posts and messaging. They provide the potential for second-level connections.

2. College alumni. You want a reason to suggest connecting. We roomed together. We were in the same class. We graduated from the same school. You will likely have several second-level connections. If those names look familiar, they will likely conclude you are OK, too.

Rationale: That old school tie can be a strong draw. 

3. People in your favorite local nonprofit. People list their interests on their LinkedIn profile. You might both belong to the historical society, community association or amateur theater group.

Rationale: You are a familiar name with common interests.

4. People living in the same town. You know more people than you think. You see them at the supermarket or the hair salon. Put in the name of your town, searching for second-level connections. See what’s in the net.

Rationale: In many cases, either their name or photo will ring a bell.

5. Business owners in town. This might include Chamber of Commerce members, especially if you are a member too. They are often involved as donors to nonprofits. As business owners, they have all kinds of prospect potential.

Rationale: Saying “We are both chamber members” lays the groundwork for connecting. 

6. Members of your religious organization. You see their faces on a regular basis. Build a list. Try searching for them by name. They might have come up in some of the earlier categories.

Rationale: People often share a bond with people of the same faith.

7. Your gym friends. They might (or might not) turn up in an earlier category. The key here is knowing their names. Start by trying to build a list. You probably know first names. Introduce yourself the next time you work out. They should volunteer their name when you do.

Rationale: People develop friendships at the gym, although they are often limited to that silo. 

8. Extended family members. They are ideal prospects. They are spread around the country. You want to keep in touch. LinkedIn is an effective way to do it. You can drip-market to them.

Rationale: It’s obvious. Connecting with extended family members makes sense.

9. The country club. You may or may not belong. You wouldn’t use the club directory as a starting point. You would make a list of the members you know personally. Send them a personal invitation via LinkedIn, listing a couple of other connections besides the club.

Rationale: Country club membership is a good prequalifier.

10. Parents from your children’s school. You see them regularly at meetings and school sporting events. You know each other by name. You like them. They like you.

Rationale: They like you, but do they know what you do, how you can help them?

11. Neighbors. This one’s obvious. If you live in a nice area, the people living around you probably have a similar income level. That should prequalify them.

Rationale: Neighbors are an ideal example of people you know.

12. Merchants you patronize. You contribute to the bottom line of others. Why shouldn’t they consider doing the same? They might know you well enough to recommend a wine that suits your tastes, but do they know what you do for a living?

Rationale: Once they recognize your name, they know the connection.

13. Friends who have moved away. They were great neighbors until they moved. It was because they got a better job someplace else. You think fondly of them. You exchange holiday cards.

Rationale: They like you. They would still be neighbors and friends if they hadn’t moved away.

14. People from your former career. Many people enter the industry as a second or third career. You have lots of relationships you’ve built up previously. You have a good reputation.

Rationale: Many would like to keep in touch if there were an easy way to do it. LinkedIn can provide that opportunity.

Once you start thinking about it, you realize you have many silos, each filled with relationships. You know plenty of people who would make great connections!


Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” is available on Amazon.