Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn invitation’

Lazy Salespeople and LinkedIn

A colleague, David Brock, made an update posting on LinkedIn  sharing his frustration about people using company profiles wanting to connect with him. Then if he did accept, the next action would be a sales pitch. Beyond being a violation of LinkedIn policy, this action demonstrated how many lazy salespeople still exist. (Note:  Only a person not a company can send a LinkedIn invitation.)

Lazy Salespeople and LinkedIn Invitations

Then there are those template LinkedIn invitations from people.  I have been tracking mine recently and in the last week all 20 plus invitations used the general, template invitation. Not one person took the time to personalize the LinkedIn invitation. Several did send me a sales pitch after the invitation was accepted and I immediately disconnected from them.

Imagine how refreshing it would be to actually receive a personalized LinkedIn invitation.  The invite would educate you, the recipient, as to what prompted the invite.  Then you don’t have to rack your brains or do your research to figure out who in the heck this person is or how in the heck do I know him or her.

LinkedIn Coaching Tip Courtesy of Viveka von Rosen:  If you are using the mobile app, there are 3 little dots on the top right and by clicking on these dots you can see the option to personalize the invitation.

LinkedIn Messages and Sales Pitches

How about those LinkedIn email messages and their sales pitches? Many if not most of these LinkedIn members never truly read the profile of the person they are pitching.  Again, their desire to pitch demonstrates their laziness.

LinkedIn is an excellent social media platform to locate sales leads and then to begin to build a relationship.  Making a sales pitch right out of the gate is beyond ridiculous. This sales strategy and tactic will not increase sales.

LinkedIn Profiles and Lazy Salespeople

Possibly the most obvious laziness is in LinkedIn profiles. Beyond having a headline that looks like all the other headlines for a particular industry, the summary is usually a regurgitation of the person’s resume. Many even lack a professional photography.  The attitude is throw up anything and it will stick while the reality is throw up anything and it will probably suck.

If your goal is to increase sales, then revisit your LinkedIn profile and your marketing strategy. Yes LinkedIn can increase sales and quickly demonstrate to others if you are one of those lazy salespeople.

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What’s So Wrong with this LinkedIn Invitation?

LinkedIn is a great social media site to increase business contacts and when done well will increase sales. Yet there is a correct way to write a LinkedIn invitation to connect and so many wrong ways to write a LinkedIn invite.

LinkedIn-invitationThis morning I received this invite (I have deleted any specifics to ensure the sender’s anonymity):

Please accept my connect request. I will then scan and send you a VIP $200 **** Savings Card. Activate and it comes with 110% lowest cost guarantee on ***** and all other ***** needs as an intro to a new ***** search engine. It can become a huge fund-raiser.

Beyond not having this specific need, I am not into any fund raising activities.  After reading this poorly pitched sales pitch, I thought “what a dolt!”

This LinkedIn invitation lacked being authentic outside of the obvious sales pitch. I wonder what LinkedIn training she had that even suggested this was an appropriate message to send with the invitation?

Personalizing the standard, boring invite of “Hi (insert your name) I’d like to join your LinkedIn network,” makes good relationship building sense. However using that same invite as an obvious sales pitch stinks to high heavens.

People buy from people they know and trust.  I may not know you, but I can check out what shared connections we have as well as your profile.  Sometimes I will accept LinkedIn invitations from people I personally do not know. However, I do have a process to ensure the invitation was authentic and not just an attempt to expand the other person’s database.

When will people recognize that marketing even social marketing is not selling?  Marketing is all about attracting positive attention.  LinkedIn invitations such as the one I just shared do not in any way meet that first desired end result of marketing.

With all the emphasis on social selling, I believe it is time to redirect those efforts to social marketing because unless people buy you and your company, they will never even consider your social selling solution as exemplified by this great example of what not to do with a LinkedIn invitation.

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Two Sales Paths Emerged in the Woods and I Took the One Less Traveled By

In sales, there are many sales paths. However for most salespeople there are always two paths:


  • Quick Fix
  • Process

The quick fix path is walked by many and is probably the more traveled one.  There are ruts in the path where many others have walked.  Where there are no ruts, the path is almost smooth and free of vegetation.  Finally the road appears to become wider and wider possibly because more people are walking it.

Walking this sales path appears to be quick and easy.

Now the sales process path appears to be less traveled.  Maybe because it looks different to each salesperson.

The road is uneven and relatively narrow. There are no ruts and the path itself is not smooth.  Green vegetation is plentiful along the path. Occasionally there are branches to logs covering the path which require removal before proceeding.

Walking the process path is not quick nor easy.

When we examine sales research, we can better understand why so many walk the quick fix path and continue to ignore the sales process path.  For example when it comes to follow-up, the majority of salespeople stop after 2 attempts.  Yet to earn the sale or close the deal requires 4 or more contacts.

Then there are all those one day sales training events. Unfortunately, unless the new learning is quickly applied, opportunities for feedback and reinforcement, this “solution” delivers a poor quick fix and is not sustainable.

With technology, social selling has taken a front row seat and for some is the quick fix path.  Share a few Twitter to LinkedIn postings, send out LinkedIn invitations to complete strangers and receive solid sales leads appears to be the mentality.  Again, the sales research suggests social selling takes time and even more time than many wish to admit.

Yes being a successful salesperson is not easy nor is it quick given less than 2% of sales are earned during that first contact. However by recognizing these two sales paths and refusing to take the quick fix path, you as a salesperson will potentially have greater sustainable sales success.

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Prospecting at LinkedIn? At Least Read the Profile

Salespeople in B2B industries from the smallest firms to even some of the largest ones prospect for new sales leads, centers of influence every day through LinkedIn. However, many anxious salespeople fail to read the profiles. This failure leads them to being viewed as unauthentic.

LinkedInToday I received another LinkedIn invitation with a scripted email about “The business universe is vast and wide, who knows we might be mutually of help to each other in the future.”  I knew this was not only scripted, but the person failed to read my profile when she continued with:

“Just in case you are thinking about getting your first home, refinancing your current home loan or investing in a property, message me for a consultation. It’s FREE and we can schedule it on your most convenient time, over a cup of coffee maybe.

If you know someone who is, I’ll highly appreciate a referral.”

Sounds good except for this one, itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny factor:

This person is in Australia and I am just outside of Chicago, IL, USA.

Now if she had written “over a virtual cup of coffee” and removed the email sales pitch about getting the first home, etc., I would have been more inclined to accept her invitation. Here was another person failing to understand:

Marketing is not selling; but selling is marketing.

Her scripted email sales pitch also raised other concerns within me about her professional credibility and business ethics.  Why would anyone ask someone thousands of miles away in a different country to make referrals specific to buying a home in a foreign country?  Her pitch was not about investing in residential real estate; that would have generated a very different response from me.

Also if she emailed me this sales pitch, would she do the same with my first degree and second degree connections as she had a premium membership?

Reading a LinkedIn profile takes maybe 3 minutes as most.  Sending email sales pitches as part of the invitation message may work if the script is directed to the right person and the other necessary sales buying criteria.

I wonder if people like this individual and others realize they only have 3,000 invites and once an invite is issued your total outstanding invites decline one more number?  This individual just wasted an invite not because she was in Australia as I have many connections outside of the U.S. No, because she failed to do her due diligence by reading the LinkedIn profile and adapting her email sales script.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn


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How Marketing Etiquette Increases Two-Way Engagement

Marketing is the ability to attract attention and build relationships. Now with the various social media channels there is a return to marketing etiquette that even has influenced traditional marketing.

marketing-etiquetteFor example, social media is not just broadcasting one’s message (one way engagement), but becoming engaged (two-way engagement).  This engagement in many times can be as simple as:

  • Thank you for a new Twitter follower
  • Short LinkedIn message when accepting a LinkedIn invitation
  • Liking a social media post
  • Sharing a social media post
  • Creating or having discussions through the various channels
  • Commenting on articles posted websites (micro-blogging)

What potential ideal customers or centers of influence do not want is a constant stream of self-promotion or one way engagement. This one-way behavior is considered subconsciously (indirectly) to consciously (directly) at the best poor business etiquette or at the worse self-absorbed , all about me, individualistic behavior.

marketing-etiquetteMarketing etiquette is not new.  In cold calling, one behavior is to ask if the person has time to talk such as “Is this a good time?” What is new is the expectation by more people for respect through return engagement. By being responsive (engaged) to the social media marketing actions of others demonstrates you are not just about you, but about other people.

Handwritten thank you cards are another simple demonstration of marketing etiquette. Sure you can send an email thank you.Yet, what do you believe is remembered more, one email among hundreds or a personal or a handwritten note among a few pieces of mail?

Probably more today than ever before the words of President Theodore Roosevelt resonate loudly throughout the social media and traditional market place:

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

Social media allows you to demonstrate you care simply through positive marketing etiquette. And remember a simple thank you, a smile in your voice is sometimes all that is needed to differentiate you from everyone else.


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LinkedIn Invitation Is Not a Sales Pitch

If I could count all the LinkedIn invitations that I accepted and then received a sales pitch within 48-72 hours I would be incredibly wealthy. And what is worse there is more than enough free information in how to successfully use LinkedIn without pissing off potential clients, customers or centers of influence.

sales-pitchI don’t know what makes me madder, accepting a LinkedIn invitation when my “gut” tells me this is going to end up as a sales pitch and receive one or when one comes out of the clear blue sky from someone who I thought would know better.

Sure small businesses want to increase sales.

I want to increase sales for my executive coaching and talent management firm.

Who doesn’t want to increase sales?

Yet, there is a right way and a wrong way to increase sales through LinkedIn. And there is no gray area when it comes to how to use LinkedIn as a marketing channel.

Today I received another “sales pitch.” This person believed because I accepted his invitation, I was open to him “barfing” his sales pitch all over his LinkedIn email. Sales Coaching Tip:  Read People Buy You from Jeb Blount to learn what he calls this type of sales behavior.

Give me a fricking break!

In years gone by I was probably nicer, but now I word my responses differently because maybe, just may be, it will keep this clueless salesperson or marketing person from barfing on another unsuspected LinkedIn connection.  I won’t bore you with the email, but I will share my response.

(Name withheld to protect the guilty). Thank you.  My recommendation in the future is do not consider an LinkedIn acceptance permission to market your services. I sent you an email on 8/30 thanking you for the outreach and asking what prompted the invitation.You did not respond.

 Yet you can send me a pitch email?

 “Sales is the transference of feelings” (Zig Ziglar). And people buy from people they know and trust.

As to the transferred feelings right now, they are negative; not a good sign. Also, I do not know you and now I do not trust you. I will be removing you from my connections.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Now some may think this response is harsh and uncalled for.  My belief until these clueless and rude folks are taught a lesson they will continue being engaged in these less than desirable marketing and sales behaviors.  The person receiving this email may also considered me to be unprofessional to even the “B”word.

I have no control over his thoughts and do not worry about what he thinks.

The good news is I can share his poor LinkedIn email marketing with my clients as a teachable moment.

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LinkedIn Invitations Require Discernment

You open up your computer and there are several LinkedIn invitations sitting in your LinkedIn inbox. A cursory glance and they seem Okay, so you quickly accept. Then you receive an email from one attempting to sell you something or waiting you to share their webinar with your contacts.  Of course, the person never acknowledged your acceptance.

LinkedIn-invitationsPossibly our culture of accepting  invitations is part of the reason many professionals accept those LinkedIn invitations without any great discernment because they do not want to believe they are making negative judgements or hurting the feelings of another person.  Then again, maybe the LinkedIn member wants to get to the now magic 500 connections?

Whatever the reason, if time is not invested in researching the professional sending the invitation, this could be a recipe for disaster.

When I receive an invitation (on average one a day), I research the person respective to the following criteria:

  1. Company and industry
  2. Shared LinkedIn connections
  3. Shared LinkedIn groups or interests
  4. LinkedIn summary
  5. Recommendations

Then I ask myself these questions:

  • Is this someone with whom I want to be connected such as my ideal customer profile?
  • Will this person add value to me?
  • Is this a possible future sales lead?
  • Is this a possible strategic partner?
  • Is this person just looking at my contacts to benefit himself or herself?

If I decide to accept, I immediately send an internal LinkedIn message asking what prompted the LinkedIn invitation.  How he or she responds to this message is something I monitor and further helps with my ongoing discernment of this professional individual.

When I first joined LinkedIn, I was not a discerning as I am today.  Now, just because I know someone professionally, does not mean I will accept his or her invitation.  After all, my LinkedIn contacts are my Rolodex and not everyone should have access to those professional contacts.

Additionally, I have no problem disconnecting from someone if I believe all he or she is after is spamming me with buy this or attend that or have some “great investment” or partnership.  My thought process is if I am spammed, this person will probably spam my second degree connections if she or he connects with them.

LinkedIn is about relationships that are mutually beneficial. This is not the place for one way business to business networking or just building up 500, 1000 or more connections.

So when you decide not to accept those LinkedIn invitations sitting in your inbox, do not feel bad. LinkedIn is a professional networking group and networking should be mutually beneficial to both parties. If the other person gets upset, that is his or her problem and not yours.


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The Absolute Worst Mistake Small Business Professionals Make with LinkedIn

Just for snicks I Googled the following “mistakes using LinkedIn.” Believe it or not, I received 13,900,000 results.

small-businessYes, I agree the following are all significant mistakes made by small business professionals who use LinkedIn.

  • A LinkedIn headline that reads like everyone else’s
  • A LinkedIn summary that is a regurgitation of your resume
  • No endorsements
  • No recommendations
  • No photo

Yet the absolute worst mistake consistently demonstrated by small business professionals is this one:

A mindset where technology by its very existence will deliver me business growth (increase sales)

How many times have you received the canned LinkedIn invitation?

Then after you accept, how many times do you receive a second email wanting to personally speak with you?

From my experience and after working with my executive coaching clients, the answers to these questions are:

  • Most of the time
  • Never or almost never

What do these small business professionals think will happen after their LinkedIn invitation is accepted?

Magically, they will:

  • Receive new business?
  • Be recommended by others?
  • Be referred by others?

If small business growth was so simple, why do we need salespeople?

This change of  mindset is not only for LinkedIn, but for almost any social media marketing activity.

Since people buy from people, does that not suggest you, as a people, must personally reach out to connect with other people?

Relationship selling is between two, real, live breathing human beings not between two cold mechanical technology ports.

To expect some intermediary such as technology (think social media presence) to deliver you business growth is beyond absurd.

So get out, leave your office if possible or get on the phone and reach out and touch someone within your LinkedIn contacts.

By changing your small business mindset, you just may change your business results including increase sales.

If you truly want to sustainable business growth including increase sales, then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601 CST where you will receive:

#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process

#2 – One business growth strategy to increase results by 20% in 60 days


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Yes It Is Okay to Just Say No

Good people want to be helpful and supportive of their family, friends, colleagues and even complete strangers. They end up saying yes with some not to positive results of over scheduling to discovering that saying yes was probably not a good idea.

just say noWhat good people need to understand is that it is okay to just say no.

Of course saying no sometimes comes with the gift of guilt.  This gift keeps on giving and giving by having all those internal self recrimination thoughts of “I should have said yes” to “I probably could have squeezed the request into my schedule” or “What will so and so think of me?”

To lessen the guilt gift factor helps by having these four written foundational clarity statements:

  • Purpose – Why am I here right now?
  • Values – What are my non-negotiable behaviors and beliefs?
  • Vision – Where do I see myself going in 3 to 5 years or longer?
  • Mission – What 3 to 5 critical goals must be achieved this year to move me closer to my vision?

When these clarity statements are front and center, the ability to just say no is far easier.

For example, within my small business coaching practice, I receive requests to connect on LinkedIn as well as to write LinkedIn recommendations.  I review each LinkedIn invitation and if it does not align with any of my four foundational clarity statements I decline or ignore the request.

As to LinkedIn recommendations, I only write them if I have personally interacted with the individual respective to his or her business or role.  In some cases people change businesses or roles. When this change happens, I cannot in good conscience write a recommendation. I then send an email with this reason as to why I declined their request.

On the personal side, attending church for me is important.  Our church has a mid-week mass.  For the most part, I have learned to just say no to any event that conflicts with this time.  The good news is our church provides both a morning and evening mass. This gives me some flexibility in that I can attend morning mass leaving evening time free or vice-versa.

To just say no requires clarity of thought both personally and professionally.  Also this behavior suggests you must be firm in saying no.

We all have limited time, energy, money and emotions.  By over committing our resources does not make us good for others because we are truly not committed to each endeavor. When we learn to just say no, we can be much better for those around us and more importantly for ourselves.

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A LinkedIn Introduction Message That Raises at Least One Red Flag

Linkedin-introduction-messageLinkedIn is well known as a B2B social media site for small business professionals. Members build their B2B networking communities, potential sales leads, etc.  by sending another member (usually a second degree connection) a Linkedin introduction message. These messages can immediately create interest or more often than not raise at least one red flag.

Recently I received this LinkedIn introduction message. The name along with email provided have been removed to protect the guilty.

Linkedin-introduction-messageName: Removed

Headline: Sales and Product Marketing Executive

Hi there,

We are in the same group together and I wanted to link to you.

Please join me on LinkedIn. This link will take you to an invitation: (removed)

When you get to the internal LinkedIn landing page, click the radio button “Other” and paste in my email: (removed)

I will accept it immediately.

Talk with you soon.

Name removed

Upon reading this LinkedIn introduction message, did you receive any Red Flag warnings? I know I certainty did.

Red Flag #1 – A ghost picture

Red Flag #2 – This individual failed to use my first name which suggests a mass emailing to expand his LinkedIn connections.

Red Flag #3 – Not the usual click on to accept invitation. I must go through at least two actions outside of the LinkedIn formal network.

Red Flag #4 – I will accept immediately. Why the urgency especially when you have me going outside of LinkedIn to confirm that acceptance? Would it not make more sense to use the standard LinkedIn invitation?

Red Flag #5 – Upon reviewing his LinkedIn summary, it was blah, blah, blah, look at me.

People buy from people they know and trust. In sales, red flags are warning signs of distrust is on the horizon or even imminent.

In this instance, I have no inkling of trust respective to this sales and product marketing executive.  Actually his LinkedIn introduction message created more distrust than the usual generic messages of “I like to add you to my LinkedIn network.”

When issuing any LinkedIn introduction message, just be careful with the words you choose and at least use the person’s first name!

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