Just Stop, Please!

I’m willing to bet you’ve experienced the following: Someone reaches out to connect on LinkedIn, you accept and immediately you’re hit with a sales pitch.

  • Want to impact more people? I’ve helped thousands of people on LinkedIn…
  • Hey, your business is interesting and I can help you reach more people by…
  • You really should consider building a video training platform.

Maybe you’ve experienced a subtler approach. Your new connection will ask you to tell them more about your business or yourself. Excuse me, if you read my LinkedIn profile or bothered to visit my website you’d know all about me and exactly what I do.

This approach is a lazy way to get you into a drawn out conversation by asking you a constant stream of questions. The questions are not to understand you or your business but rather so the person can pitch his or her products or services.

If you’re someone who does this I have some advice as someone who’s worked with salespeople for more than two decades: Just stop, please!

We know LinkedIn is designed for business. We expect to make connections and build networks of people we can help and that can help us. However, trying to make a sale as soon as you connect is as tactless as meeting someone for the first time then asking them to marry you. Maybe you’re not that ambitious so you just shoot for getting them in bed with you. Sorry for being so crass but that’s how yucky it feels when you attempt to “sell” someone as soon as you meet them.

The law of large numbers predicts you’ll land a few (dates or clients) but it’s not likely it will be a long-term relationship. Maybe I’m old fashioned but when I work with a client I want a relationship that persists. I want to have an impact on clients at the office and at home. I want them to enjoy more success and happiness as a result of their time with me. It’s not a wham-bam-thank you for the deal but time to move on.

To Do This Week

If you’re on the receiving end of the pitch here are your options:

  1. Remove the contact. It’s a good bet if you knew they were going to do that you would not have accepted.
  2. Don’t answer their questions. Rude? Perhaps but not any ruder than trying to sell you on the first date.

When you connect with people on LinkedIn

  1. Do not attempt to sell yourself, products or services right away. Let your new connection get to know you. If what you do provides value let them see that through the content you share and because of what others say about you.
  2. Spend time getting to know your connections. Show you’ve paid attention by pointing out what you’ve noticed and how what you do might help them.
  3. Finally, make sure your LinkedIn profile shows who you are and what you do. One of my biggest clients came about because they found me. They had a need, searched LinkedIn and realized I was the person with the skill and experience to help them. Invest in your profile because it’s an investment in yourself.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was name one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by Book Authority. His LinkedIn Learning courses on sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 100,000 people around the world.

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