You wouldn’t start off a conversation with someone you just met by telling them how awesome you are, how many thousands of dollars your business makes, how you can help them make mega-bucks, too, just say the word.

At least I hope those aren’t the first words out of your mouth.

Hyperbole doesn’t work

Especially when you know little to nothing about the other individual or their business. A cursory scan of a profile or website isn’t enough to understand what their needs or wants may be. Or if you might be the ideal solution for them to consider.

Yet, somehow, on LinkedIn, many consider it the fast-track to success.

It’s no exaggeration to say the majority of LinkedIn invites I receive to connect are followed immediately by an “Ooo-Lookie-What-I-Can-Do Special-For-You sales pitch. Let’s talk. Here’s the link to book a call.”

Worse are the ones whose invites include such a vainglorious pitch.

LinkedIn is not a used car sales lot

Leave the bold and bawdy, arrogant and stereotyped used car salesman behavior where it belongs … in a comedy script, or better, the cutting room floor.

By the way, serious thanks to all the awesome car salespeople out there who know how to do sales and customer service right. It’s been my pleasure to deal with you!

Here’s what I’m tempted to reply to 98% of the self-proclaimed business and marketing experts who reach out to me on LinkedIn:

If your Relationship Marketing starts with YOU bragging on how much YOU can help me … then you’re doing it wrong.

  • I don’t know anything about you yet
  • You’ve made it abundantly clear you know little to nothing about me
  • You’ve just flunked the Know – Like – Trust trifecta of successful relationship marketing

What to Do instead

  • Tell me why you’re genuinely interested in connecting
  • Get to know me a little
  • Share some insight into your background (forego the hyperbole)

Bottom line, never start a conversation in person or online by insulting your new contact by assuming YOU can help them. The opposite just may be true.

Relationship marketing requires keeping the ego in check and genuine interest in providing service to others. Making a sale … and sales pitch comes later.

Try something this: (Actual LinkedIn messages I received)

Hi Kat,
I noticed we have mutual connections and I was impressed by your profile. I frequently share marketing tips and healthy recipes. I thought it would be nice to connect.

Talk to you soon, [name]

Hey Kat, It looks like you’re doing some cool stuff in your space. I’d love to connect and find ways we can bring value to one another.

Not this: (Incidentally, I’ve been self-employed full-time since 2007!)

Great Connecting Kat!
How would you feel if I helped you see drastic growth in your career in less than a year? I ask because I help coaches like you better strategize and fully develop their business. In the past I have helped many coaches leave behind the corporate jobs they were unhappy with and pursue a business of their own I know I can get you some great results, When can we schedule a call?

My reply: No thank you.

Felicia Slattery published an excellent book to help you rock those introductory conversations. It’s called, Kill the Elevator Speech: Stop Selling, Start Connecting. Highly recommend it for improving your skills.

Interested in connecting with me on LinkedIn? Click here.

I’d love to know about the best and worst types of introductory messages you’ve received on LinkedIn.

  • Hey Kat, I love the blog picture, that kid is awesome. Great article, unfortunately, those who need to hear this won’t recognize themselves as a pusher.

    • I’m afraid you’re right about the “pushers.” About that photo … I fell in love with it, too, and completely changed the angle of this post when I got it…with permission to use, of course!

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