Imagine walking into an elite networking event at a posh hotel, private club, or top restaurant. You walk right up to a CFO or COO from a prospect company of yours and start talking about yourself for the next three minutes. How well do you think you'd be listened to and received?
Next imagine seeing a CEO that does not know you and suggesting to him that you should connect online - for no reason other than that they are a person you trust?
Every week I talk to executives that receive bad requests from sellers. I implore you in the sales profession - don't think that LinkedIn is an instant sales strategy! If you heard that it is, you are wrong.
LinkedIn IS a wonderful virtual room of 93 million+ North American professionals that you can connect to. However, the premise of LinkedIn is to connect to people you have some type of already existing connection.
This is not the place to try out hacks or workarounds - it IS a place to build your personal brand, which should demonstrate:
- trust (you are who you say you are)
- follow through (you do what you say you'll do)
- focus on others (helping others get connected and getting what it is they need)
Stop Being Lazy with Generic Introductions
Right now in my LinkedIn inbox is the following request:
Mike T. has indicated you are a fellow group member of xoombi.com ·Since you are a person I trust, I wanted to invite you to join my network on LinkedIn.
What This Type of Request Does
- I have to do extra work. Since I don't have any clue who Mike T. is, I have to do work to see if in fact I know him or those in my trusted network do. Work - that is not a great way to start a relationship, is it, Mike T?
- I have to think about the value of the group. Since this particular group has 38,985 members, I'm not inclined to connect to anyone simply because we are in the same group.
- I see there is no value added. Mike T. hasn't given me any good reason to connect other than that we share a group of about 40K people. Not enough, Mike T.
- I decline.
Be Careful with Your Smartphone LinkedIn App
Last I checked, the LinkedIn App on tablets and smartphones skips over the step where you can personalize a connection request. That means that you could have every intention of personalizing the ask, but the app won't let you. My suggestion is to wait until you are at a laptop or desktop and send all your requests from there.
Where's the Value?
When you reach out to connect with me or with anyone, show some creativity or connection! Unless you are new to LinkedIn, where in that case I do think it is wise to connect with any and every business professional you know (or kind of know) most people are turning down the generic request. If enough people say they don't know you after you send out many requests, LinkedIn will see you as a spammer - not as a value-added member of the community.
LinkedIn and many bloggers have written about what DOES work within LinkedIn - make sure you read up before you begin your new "sales strategy".
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute" newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.