My LinkedIn inbox is currently full of pitches from people I’ve never met or engaged with. These folk have asked to connect with me and once I press that little yes button, within five minutes too many think it’s a green flag to send an unsolicited pitch selling a product or service. It’s never targeted. It never works. And it annoys the hell out of me, because it means I don’t get to the emails that actually do matter to me.
Can I tell you a little secret – if you’re one of these people?
This isn’t how it works.
In fact, it does the exact opposite. It turns me off whatever you’re selling immediately. And I know I’m not alone here. I work with a lot of very senior executives helping them with their LinkedIn profiles, and in every case, they tell me about their frustration getting these irrelevant pitches from complete strangers.
Now LinkedIn can only do so much to help manage this aspect of the platform, because really, it’s up to all of us – as professionals – to stop and think about what we’re sending out into the world. Putting just that little bit more thought in to make sure we’re successful isn’t that hard, because, it’s the goal right?
Naturally, I take personal responsibility and when I got a pitch from a young lady recently, who clearly had no idea who I was or what I did – obviously checking out my profile could’ve cleared that up, but hey ho – I decided to drop her a little note with some advice.
It went something along the lines of this…
Dear…, thanks for your email. Can I just give you a little bit of advice? You asked to connect with me and within moments of accepting your invitation, you sent me a pitch for a product that is completely irrelevant to what I do in my day-to-day role. Now if you had really read my profile, you should have been able to work that out, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and maybe it did read like a potential prospect opportunity.
So you’ve reviewed my profile and think I’m a fit. Awesome. What’s the first thing you do? Pitch me? NO, that’s the last thing you do. What you do is you engage with me.
- You read my blogs, maybe leave a comment and tell me what you like about what I wrote
- You comment on some information I’ve shared and tell me how that knowledge will help change something you do today
- Or you disagree with a point I make – in a pleasant way of course – and tell me why, which opens up the possibility of us having a good discussion
- Or you share something I’ve shared, acknowledging me as the author/sharer and tell your community what you valued in the information. It’s good for you, it’s good for me
Say you focus on this for a month with 10-20 people who you think would be good targets for your product. Can you imagine the response you’ll get at the end of that month, when you write to everyone individually and say: I really enjoyed your blog on content marketing, or I love the information you share on LinkedIn, it inspires me to be better, or whatever else you can come up with? And then the receiver of that email will think, hey I know that name, they’re worth my time, of course I’m open to a discussion with you.
Can you see how that works? That’s what social media has opened up for you the seller. The era of cold calling thousands and snagging a few has gone, so why continue to cold call over social media? Because that’s what it is. You have a rich resource of information you never had before. Use it and target your sell. OK?
This young lady never replied. But then she’s never tried to sell me again either. I hope she took my advice.
But to all those in my Inbox, who will be deleted because you haven’t done the above, please, use these wondrous social platforms to build real and meaningful relationships. You don’t need to go after as many people when you do it this way, and I promise, PROMISE you’ll be more successful. Hey if all else fails, try it for a month and see if it makes a difference. If it doesn’t work, go back to the old way. Please just leave me out, pretty please?
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