I must confess, this mistake is difficult to post publicly. My goal, however, is to help you to avoid making this same mistake, because there is a good chance you have made the same mistake!
Nearly 1 year ago I began actively using LinkedIn, and allowed a third party service to “target” and message on my behalf. The goal was to create sales, by offering services to my LinkedIn connections.
Little did I realize that the chosen messaging was un-welcomed, unhelpful and frankly, spammy.
After getting some messages in response, it was quickly realized that LinkedIn users are being inundated with other “marketers” who are selling their services. These messages often completely miss the mark and can even offend.
I recall one connection in particular who responded quickly with a message that said (basically) “I’m in marketing, why would I want this offering? This is spam!” Imagine my horror when I realized my messaging had completely offended my connection, and made me look bad.
Before we dig into the issue, let’s look into HOW LinkedIn is supposed to be used. LinkedIn is a platform for connecting with business associates, potential clients, partners, as well as for networking.
Every single day I receive 10-20 messages on LinkedIn that are attempting to sell me services/products. If you have more connections, you probably have significantly more of these messages. These LinkedIn messages include a canned wording that makes it obvious that the sender did little or no research. Quite possibly the worst offenders have no interest in actually getting to know their connections, but only care about how YOU can benefit them.
So how can you avoid being a cold-calling (messaging) salesperson on LinkedIn?
- Get to know your connections.
What projects are they working on? What are their dreams? Can you deliver value without asking for their money?
- Quit with the canned messages.
If you are hitting “copy and paste”, merely changing the name of the message, STOP.
- Target market.
Is this person in your target market? If so, build their trust by NOT selling to them on your first point of contact.
- Ask questions.
Find out what their pain points are through conversation.
- Deliver value.
Here’s a crazy idea… Show your expertise by NOT telling people about it. Show them with value, well-researched posts, and engagement.
This experience taught me the importance of being careful about how you use LinkedIn. Stop with the cold-calling, spammy messaging, and begin creating genuine connections. Deliver value, instead of high-volume sales messages.