by Erika Cannon
I saw a post recently from a LinkedIn member who is fed up with invitations from people he doesn’t know, wanting him to immediately buy. I understand his frustration with someone who is extending his electronic hand for a shake, then immediately asks if he wants to buy.
The complaint is valid, because LinkedIn isn’t a sales platform. LinkedIn is a networking platform. While we do network to gain new business, it is offensive to ask someone for their business the minute they shake your hand. You don’t even know if they need what you have to sell yet. Just like another meme posted on LinkedIn today, we too often listen to answer instead of listening to understand someone’s problems.
That’s like sticking your tongue down your date’s throat on your first date. Gross. You don’t even know each other yet!
In our sales process, we advise clients to Link In to prospects as another way to verify that you are human, you have a work history, and a real company. LinkedIn provides another way to a prospect to get to know you, understand who you are, what your company does, and where your expertise lies.
Use LinkedIn gently; post articles, link to your website, and share other’s interesting posts. Let your prospects investigate you as you learn more about their company as well. When the time is right, and the need is clear, you can start a conversation that will have value for both of you.
Using LinkedIn is like prospecting — it’s hard work to do consistently, so make sure to stay hydrated.