Sales on social networking sites like LinkedIn can be tricky for people who are accustomed to the typically aggressive interruption style approach because online communities disdain overt commercial messages. Over the past several months, I’ve collected some of the ineffective ways people have used LinkedIn messaging to reach me and I include 12 of them here together with commentary on each.
Unlike social networks that people use to keep up friendships, LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals and make them more productive and successful. LinkedIn is a great way to network with others in your industry and to meet buyers of your products and services.
Sadly, many people use LinkedIn as a way to send SP*M messages, either by connecting with somebody first or by using the InMail feature of the LinkedIn Premium accounts.
I usually accept connection requests on LinkedIn from anybody who asks as long as they appear to be a human. As general guidelines, I don’t accept requests from people whose profiles are in company names, I don’t accept requests from people without a profile photo, and I don't accept requests from people whose profiles showcase a product or service over the individual. Outside of that, most anybody else who asks I accept even if I do not know them. I have accepted many requests from people who have seen me speak at an event or who have read one of my books and often we’ve developed a fun virtual friendship.
Here are the LinkedIn approaches people used that I found to be ineffective.
I’m redacting any recognizable information. Note: When I get messages like these, I immediately unfollow the person.
1. Hello, David Meerman Scott Enter your email now for a chance to win. [URL]
Really? A contest? And with no information about what sort of contest it is? I'd be too scared to go to the link and I have better use of my time.
2. Ciao @FirstName, oggi lancio la landing page della mia nuova casa editrice e mai come oggi ho bisogno del supporto di chi ha creduto in me in questi anni ma anche di chi non mi conosce
Sorry, I am unable to read this language, which I'm guessing is Italian.
3. Thanks for accepting! Do you have anytime to chat? Long story short, I've got this product [URL] which has grown decently well with little to no marketing. Starting literally last week I've gone heads down and am attempting to simply spread the word. I could really use your advice. I need to find affiliates/channel partners/influencers who would be willing to spread the word a bit.
No I do not want to pimp your product.
4. I’m trying to get to know my local Boston Metro/New England connections on LinkedIn a little better so that we both might benefit from being connected. We’ve been crossing paths on LinkedIn for the past couple of weeks and I’d love to schedule a quick call. Would you have a few minutes to chat next week? Let me know what dates/times work best for you.
I don’t schedule calls unless I know what it is about and if you don’t tell me in the first message, I assume you are trying to sell me something.
5. Thanks for connecting. [Company name] wants to PARTNER with leaders like you. We have a proven model that I am sure you will love. Here it is in a nutshell. [Lots of bullet points] This is a way to really stand yourself further apart from those in your field. We have done this very successfully for many years and would love to work with you and take your brand to a new level. Send me your skype address or connect with me on [Skype address] with a note saying: I want to be a Pied Piper, or simply Click through on the attached flyer
Saying “stand yourself further apart from those in your field” indicates this is a copy and paste that is likely used thousands of times.
6. Greetings! Just wanted to share my new article with you. Do read it and give your remarks when you get time. [URL] See you around...
I’m not going to open something like this unless I know what the article is about and why I should care. But to then say “give your remarks” is really pushing it.
7. Hope you are doing well! Impressive profile to visit, Just want to know more about your company’s expertise, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn Let's connect to explore business synergies.
This person didn’t read my profile even though they say they did since my "company" has nothing to do with what my profile says I do.
8. Hi David, I know you're a major influencer. Kindness is a theme that is so important. I have a new book out [book title] and I would like to ask if you'd be interested in including it to your or interview me perhaps. Looking forward to hearing from you. Warmly, [name]
I’m tolerant of bad grammar because I’m guilty of mistakes too when I write quickly on social networks. But “including it to your or interview me perhaps” is a sloppy. Sharing a new book is fine, but the “ask” is too forward for my taste. When I like books I talk them up, I don't need someone to tell me to do so.
(And as if I missed it the first time, this came a week later.)
9. Hello David, I'm glad to connect with you here. Thought you might be interested in kindness. Kindness is a theme that is so important. I have a new book out [book name] and I would like to ask if you'd be interested to include me or interview me. Looking forward to hearing from you. Best, [name]
I like kindness too. But not when it is part of a drip campaign on LinkedIn.
10. Hi, may I ask you for a little support? Thanks! [URL]
No you may not.
11. I am acquiring information from elite realtors and brokers in North America to better serve the real estate community including yourself by providing solutions to the most frustration problems in the industry. 1. What are your top 3 daily frustrations in real estate? 2. What keeps you up at night in real estate? 3. What trends are occurring in real estate and will occur in their business or lives? 4. What do realtors or brokers secretly want or desire from their business or industry? Sincerely, [name]
I’m not in the real estate business thank you very much.
12. Thanks for the connection. Free chapters of my award-winning book [book name & URL] Also attached the free chapters. I would appreciate if you could post your kind review on Amazon and share with your connections on social media platforms
I’m surprised I wasn’t asked to donate ten grand to this person’s favorite charity too.
LinkedIn and other social networks are terrific ways to get noticed and establish relationships. But these approaches simply don’t work.
Effective selling on LinkedIn
I suggest that you approach LinkedIn and other social networks like you would a cocktail party.
- Do you go into a large gathering filled with a few acquaintances and tons of people you do not know and shout "BUY MY PRODUCT"?
- Do you go into a cocktail party and ask every single person you meet for a business card before you agree to speak with them?
- Do you listen more than you speak?
- Are you helpful, providing valuable information to people with no expectation of something tangible in return?
I recently joined the advisory board of Vengreso, a company that provides social selling services. If you want more information on selling via LinkedIn and other social selling tools, please do check them out.