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How NOT to use Linkedin

Ditch the pitch, make a connection

Liz Wendling //July 23, 2015//

How NOT to use Linkedin

Ditch the pitch, make a connection

Liz Wendling //July 23, 2015//

LinkedIn is a useful and powerful tool for professionals to increase sales and revenue. It offers the greatest and most efficient opportunity to identify ideal clients and customers. LinkedIn is a mighty weapon if used properly and with precision. It can also be a reputation killer when used improperly and unprofessionally.

There is no shortage of people on the internet telling professionals the best way to use LinkedIn to increase traffic and close more sales. Some Linkedin advisors offer sound advice and useful methods to use this attention-getting tool respectfully and professionally. They preach that the same rules apply online as well as offline. Luckily many people follow that simple and straight forward advice.

Sadly, others don’t want anything to do with sound and useful advice. They have no time to follow online etiquette. So they forge ahead using tactics that repel, not attract, prospects. Some LinkedIn advisors are preaching a radically different style and philosophy that is disrespectful and unprofessional. They teach professionals to barge into someone’s LinkedIn inbox with an all-purpose cold call email.  They show people how to copy and paste and launch a generic one size fits all template email to their list of connections.

Cold calls, email spam and blast messages to the masses don’t work in this digital age. Aggravating and irritating people are no way to start a relationship—online or offline.

I receive dozens of weekly emails via LinkedIn that are nothing more than a virtual sales pitch. Someone pushing their products or services. Others peddling their newest book or latest program. Complete strangers asking me to sign up for their newsletter or download their e-book. They accomplish nothing more than stuffing my already bloated inbox with an unwanted verbal sales pitch.

These annoying tactics and old-school methods on LinkedIn destroy reputations. They act as a strong repellant to clients and business. Sending self-centered emails that endorse businesses and promote incredible products and services is a perfect example of how not to use LinkedIn. This disrespectful style produces ruined reputations and lost sales.

Stop the virtual assault!

Start concentrating on your prospects challenges, problems, needs and goals. Prospects have no desire to read emails filled with the details of what you do and how you do it. They don’t care about you. They care about themselves. They don’t care about your company. They care about their own company. And finally, they don’t care about your products or services. They care about results.

Here are two examples (I have two dozen) of what not to do on LinkedIn. Two examples of a traditional cold call disguised as a “new approach” to reach prospects. Name and minor details were changed.

Train Wreck #1: Hi Bob, Hope you're doing well! Another great day in Colorado!  My name is Jan Johnson, an account executive with ABC Corporation. We are the leader in safety solutions and have developed the most advanced programs that are currently being used by companies like yours. I’d like to schedule some time to get together for about 30 min and explain some of the more successful programs we’ve created. We pride ourselves on making your business a safer place to work. We also offer the most cost effective solutions. Do you have some time next week Tuesday or Thursday to meet? Please let me know which day is better for you. (This “all about Jan” approach screams old-school and outdated.)

Train Wreck #2: My name is Martin Hillsboro, I wanted to myself and my services. I love connecting with business owners and entrepreneurs like yourself to help them discover what been stopping them from doubling or tripling, their businesses. I help them remove their roadblocks and obstacles immediately, and help them take swift purposeful action.  I am a leader in my industry and have studied under some of the best. I would love to share more about myself and help you take your business to the next level.  Here’s a link to my online calendar. Please book your free session with me here.  (This virtual pitch is an insult to the recipient. No one would opt into a free call with a stranger who knows nothing about their pains, problems or challenges.)

Here is what your prospect is thinking. “This person/company is no different than the rest. They all sound and say the same lame things. Do they think their pitch builds trust?  Do they believe their sales pitch will compel me to respond?” Once a prospect comes to those conclusions, you lose! What you say and how you say it must contain insight and interest for your prospect.

Everyone is overloaded and overwhelmed with hundreds of daily emails. When a complete stranger barges into their inbox with a virtual sales pitch explaining all the reasons they are so great, they end up in the trash. Dumped again! 

What do you think is going to get a prospects attention and deliver more impact? A virtual sales pitch that’s all about you, your company, and how great you are? Or a powerful email that shows you understand their pains, problems, challenges and issues. Expressing how you have some pertinent information and insight. Explaining how you have helped similar companies with successful solutions.

Engaging prospects on LinkedIn is a delicate dance of high value, trust and positioning yourself as a resource.

Launching into a virtual sales pitch is the #1 reason why professionals are unable to tap into the value and power that LinkedIn has to offer. They use language everyone else is using and wonder why their generic pitches are producing lousy results and ending up in the trash.

If you are willing to trade in your “all about me” message for some “all about them” language, you will be successful, instead of disrespectful. To be effective you need to be clear and concise, not pitchy and promotional. You need to start an online conversation with pertinent information customized to your prospect. Make them want to give you a sliver of their precious time.

Every email you send out is an opportunity to create interest not resistance. You have a choice! You can make a shift right now. Start sending powerful and memorable messages that pique the interest of the recipient and get them to take action in your favor.

Are you following the online golden rule?