Salespeople sometimes treat LinkedIn like just another cold prospecting tool, and they end up engaging their prospects in a pretty abrasive way.

A few weeks ago, I received a LinkedIn message from a user (let’s call her Sally) that I had never met, didn’t know, and wasn’t remotely connected to.

Here’s what she had to say:

“We provide an inside sales solution that is tailor-made for your particular needs and objectives. We identify your potential customers, contact their decision makers, qualify them, and put you right in front of interested prospects to make the sale through our professional inside sales solution. You can view our basic package here.”

Sounds like a typical email prospecting campaign, right?

I’m sure that was Sally’s intent. Unfortunately for Sally, however, she didn’t really do her homework, nor did she consider the medium she was using to reach out to me. As a result, her message ended up annoying me more than it interested me.

The truth is, LinkedIn is a personal network, not unlike meeting someone at your local Chamber of Commerce. You wouldn’t go into your monthly Chamber meeting, walk up to someone you’ve never met, and say:

“Hi! My name is Michael Barnhart and I wanted to see if you needed a marketing solution to generate warm sales leads and set business appointments with potential clients. Here’s my card with a link where you can view our basic package.”

Unfortunately, however, I’m seeing more and more people take exactly that approach on LinkedIn. They treat the professional network like just another cold prospecting tool, and they end up engaging their prospects in a pretty abrasive way.

While I firmly believe you can (and probably should) use LinkedIn for prospecting, it’s critical that you tailor your approach to the medium.

About the author

Kendra Lee

Kendra Lee is a top IT seller, sales advisor and business owner who knows…

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