Top mistakes made using LinkedIn
By Leanne Hoagland-Smith February 5, 2012 8:42AM
Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 5, 2012 11:29PM
In the book “People Buy You,” Jeb Blount writes about how LinkedIn is probably the most important business networking tool in history. Jeb also details the “pump and dump” behavior of some sales people. Not sure about this phrase? Does “throw up and show up” ring a bell?
After being an active user on LinkedIn for several years, these are three of the top five consistent errors I have observed business professionals consistently making when using this incredible business and relationship building tool. The “pump and dump” philosophy in sales may be behind many of these mistakes. In next week’s column, I will share mistakes four and five.
Mistake No. 1 – Collecting names
Possibly with many in business been conditioned to collecting business cards, this may explain why so many connect on LinkedIn through the initial invitation and then never reconnect with that individual. Business networking is an ongoing process. LinkedIn is not a Rolodex in limbo, but an active virtual network that provides opportunities for the building of real relationships and the opportunities to increase sales.
Mistake No. 2 – Collecting names without a goal
After an invite is accepted, the name more often than naught goes into the deep dark LinkedIn void. Instead of leveraging the invite as an opportunity to set an appointment, the member clicks accept and then lets it go. This is much like casting a baited fishing line and then pulling it up before the fish bites.
Just imagine what would happen if after you accept that invitation, you immediately sent an email asking for a time to talk to better understand what the other person does? During this conversation you have the potential of learning more and determining if this person is:
• A possible customer or prospect
• A strategic partner
• A center of influence
• A new friend
Mistake No. 3 – Not being personal because the focus is on selling
Since I am active in numerous LinkedIn discussion groups and have extensive LinkedIn connections, I became curious as to the motivation behind the invitation. I started asking some LinkedIn connections as to why they wanted to connect with me. Numerous times I have received similar messages. Hmm, maybe there is a template somewhere that someone sold promising to increase sales from LinkedIn?
The first sentence usually is something like “Thanks for connecting. I’m not trying to sell you anything, just let you know about our company and what I do.”
Problem with this and similar statements is the person does not even use the other person’s first name. When the person sending the message asked for the invite and then fails to use the person’s first name is truly quite insulting. And then to add insult to injury, he or she states up front “I’m not trying to sell you anything.”
Next is followed by the individuals’ name, business and city. The problem with this is I as a first degree connection already know that or can determine because we are first connections. Tell me something I don’t know or better yet connect with me as a person not as a prospect. Oops, I forget you already said you were not selling me anything.
Next comes the “spiel” as to what the person does. I truly do not care because I can read this all on his or her LinkedIn profile. In some cases, people actually have copied their LinkedIn profile executive summaries in answering my simple question as to “Why the connection?”
Last, but not least comes the “if you would like to know more about our services or have any questions, please contact us” along with the links to their websites or websites. At this point in time, I am so saddened that I accepted the invite because this person is truly clueless about relationship selling and I am just another pump and dump contract in his or her LinkedIn Rolodex.
Any business tool can be misused and LinkedIn is no exception. To leverage this tool, consider if you are making these mistakes and then take immediate action to reverse them.
P.S. Shout Out: Livio’s Restaurant in St. John and Zing Pizzeria in Chesterton
LinkedIn Website – www.linkedin.com
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