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10 Ways People Behave Badly on LinkedIn

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It might be the silver bullet of prospecting.

LinkedIn is the social media site for professionals.

(Related: Social Media Bolsters Advisors’ Work During the Pandemic)

You can target audiences. People come to you! It has enormous potential for raising your visibility and establishing yourself as a subject matter expert. It’s also very easy to annoy people.

1. The Generic Invitation

You get these all the time. “I admire what you do. We share connections. Let’s connect.” A couple of days ago, I actually got one that included the text “Insert name here.” Clearly, this was untouched by human hands.

2. Vague Geography

Most LinkedIn profiles list the person’s city and state. The location might be a little general, like “Los Angeles area.” That’s fine. But I get suspicious when persons show their location as “United States” and their work history lists no cities.

3. Conflicting Geography

Recently I came across a profile of a person showing New York, New York, as the location, yet the location of the firm, where the person has worked for years, was in Singapore. Is that person in New York or Singapore?

4. Catch and Release Prospecting

Before you accept a LinkedIn connection, you review the person’s profile and make a decision. I’m open minded. I might not need a person’s product or service, but we can learn from each other. I connect. I might message, “I don’t see a business overlap, but I’m happy to connect.” The next day, you are dropped. That’s not relationship developing; it’s cold calling via social media.

5. The Persistent Salesperson

Once you connect, you often get a sales presentation in message form. That’s pretty standard. I might respond: “I’m OK in that area, but I’m happy to be a connection.” You get a message back the next day, “Why wouldn’t you want to make more money?” You respond. You get another, “I can’t believe you would turn down this opportunity.”

6. The Assumptive Invitation

Sometimes invitations come with personalized text. The text might be polite, like a comment about how many connections you share. Other times it might read: “We supply high quality leads. If you would like to learn more, please accept my invitation to connect.” By connecting, you are also indicating you have an interest in their product. We are getting away from professionals connecting with other professionals.

7. The Brief Messages

Sometimes I get invitations to connect from people overseas. We share connections, or we belong to the same LinkedIn groups. I connect. You get short messages like: “Hello, mate.” Or “How are you?” Another one that doesn’t belong on a site for business professionals is “Hello dear.”

8. Commenting on a Post and Not Hearing Back

Many firms make it easy for advisors and agents to post regularly. They have an archive of compliance-approved articles. They can schedule posts. Imagine the following situation: You see an interesting post. You click on the article. You take the time to read it completely. You like it so much you type out a comment, asking a question. You never hear back. The object of posting an article is to get a dialog going, develop a relationship, and transition the relationship to a business relationship. You should answer people who take the time to comment.

9. The Edited Message

I don’t know what this means, but it sounds suspicious. I’m in the initial stages of a messaging dialog back and forth with someone. I get a message back, that might only be a few words long, but the word “(edited)” follows the message. I can’t figure that one out, but I suspect it’s not just him and me in this dialog.

10. The Generic Question

You want to get a dialog started. I get that. The person’s LinkedIn profile gives you lots of data including school, previous jobs and city. You can figure out some intelligent icebreaker questions pretty easily. Why do some people send messages, like “How are you?” as conversation starters? Why aren’t they using my first name? You get the feeling there isn’t a real person at the other end.

In my opinion, you can get a lot of conversations started on LinkedIn. People do business with people they like and can relate to easily. Try to avoid the mistakes that cause distrust.

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Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.