LinkedIn is a powerful prospecting tool. That fact is beyond a shadow of a doubt.
What IS somewhat in doubt is exactly what that means in terms of how it is used. My personal position is that LinkedIn is great for identifying potential leads, getting introduced to those leads, and nurturing an online relationship.
What is NOT a good use of LinkedIn is something like this:
“Hi Chuck, I came across your profile on LinkedIn and was quite impressed by your profile. I think it might be a good idea for us to connect on LinkedIn.”
A connection is accepted based upon the hope of a mutually beneficial online relationship but followed up within 24 hours by:
“Hi Chuck, thanks for connecting. I represent XYZ corporation and we have a killer lead gen system that might be a good fit for you. How about if we set up a call for Thursday to discuss?”
There are so may reasons why this strategy is flawed that I am not even sure where to begin but here a couple.
1) You just connected with me and immediately are trying to sell me something. Clearly you are not interested in a nurturing a relationship beyond what I can do for you. Next time step up to plate and send me a cold call InMail if you must but don’t try to trick me into connecting with you first.
2) This strategy is going to kill LinkedIn as a networking platform because that approach involves ZERO attempt to network. Busy decision makers are going to simply stop accepting LinkedIn requests from people they don’t know well, and LinkedIn is going to become nothing more than a glorified e-mail blast platform.
I realize this is only my opinion but when I raise the question in sales training classes about how people feel about this tactic the overwhelming response is “I hate it”. So at least I know I’m not alone in my disdain for this approach.
My request to individuals and third-party marketing firms who are automating this approach is PLEASE STOP. You are going to screw LinkedIn up for the rest of us.
Whew, at least I feel better having gotten that rant off my chest!