LinkedIn could be perhaps the greatest connector tool of our lifetime, thus far.
It could quite possibly be the most annoying, too.
On almost a daily basis, I receive a LinkedIn connection from someone I don’t know. A few things I typically notice:
- They have some sort of sales characteristic in their title, which isn’t the worst thing, considering my business offers solutions for b-to-b marketing activities.
- They are typically not overly connected through first, second or third degrees to my contacts.
- They have that special sales face that says, “connect with me because I have something glorious to sell you”.
On occasion, even with the qualifying “avoid me at all cost” factors, I still click “connect” – figuring more exposure is good. People who are in sales can make great franchisees, so the connection could have some value. Plus maybe, just maybe, they will play the soft sell and not try getting me to take just 10-15 minutes of time to hear what they have to offer.
Most of the time, though, I evaluate the individual and push “reject.”
But, when I do allow the connection, I then monitor the follow up:
- Do they immediately send me a message?
- Do they immediately email me because my email address is on my profile?
- Do they call me at the office, telling the person who answers that they “had a call scheduled with me”?
- Or all of the above?
Within the last month, I have had four all of the aboves, 17 immediately send me a message and 50+ emails thanking me for connecting and most of those offer me the chance of a lifetime to take a call with them too.
When any of the above happen, I remove them.
I removed one of them in the last week who then connected with me again the following day, clearly mass messaging as many people as possible.
I get it, though; salespeople are trained that it’s a numbers game. But are sales people missing the facts of the power of LinkedIn?
- Connections, emails are sent through LinkedIn’s messaging system, which, most likely, connects with your email. When an email comes in from LinkedIn, we, as people, rarely peg this as spam. Thus, most connections, companies and people are evaluated.
- Connections can write content in the form of statuses and stories. This is an easy way to constantly get a message in front of a specific to the audience you are trying sell.
- While the immediate result of sales doesn’t come through, the soft, light sale can lead to business, connections and more business through referrals.
So, why are salespeople so pushed to write you right away offering to sell you their service or product?
- They don’t know better.
- Someone actually responded to them, so, it’s a numbers game – X results for every X attempts.
- They are way under pressure and need this sale.
LinkedIn can connect you with the exact matches in the exact markets you are trying to sell. My preference is the soft sell – from me and by me. Maybe LinkedIn needs to add contact preferences – what you want and how you want it so that the beauty of the tool remains golden.