How to Tick Off a Buyer on LinkedIn (and What You Should Do Instead)  10/6/2019

Here's a quick-and-easy way for suppliers to tick off a buyer on LinkedIn: Start pitching them as soon as they accept your invite to connect.

Here's a recent example of this happening to me -- and though I'm not a buyer, the same principle applies. Someone sent me an invite to connect, and since we had approximately 50 mutual connections on the platform, I accepted the invite. Immediately after accepting his invite I received a LinkedIn message from him pitching me his services -- services, by the way, which weren't even relevant. Needless to say, I removed the connection, and now I scrutinize my connection invites much more closely.

When I posted a video about this, a buyer friend of mine commented, saying that he no longer accepts any new connection requests, because this happens to him all of the time. Plus, the people reaching out to him for the most part aren't even pitching products relevant to the category for which he buys (see image).

Yet even if you do have a product or service that is relevant to a potential LinkedIn connection, leading with a pitch is clearly starting off the relationship on the wrong foot. Ninety-nine times out of 100, you're going to tick them off.

If you just met someone at a networking event, you wouldn't launch right into a pitch; at a minimum, you'd chat with them for a bit and learn about their business and what their current needs are. But for some reason, when people are on a digital platform they throw all decorum out the window.

Buyer comment from my video on the topic

Instead of diving right into your pitch, try following these steps:

  • Read the person's profile: Make sure that the person you are planning to connect with is in fact, the correct person for buying your product or service.
  • Follow them first: While LinkedIn members must accept your invite to connect, you can follow anyone, so follow them and spend some time reading their content, get a feel for where their interests lie, and what their need are.
  • Engage with their content: Add thoughtful comments to their posts; contribute to their conversations on the platform. Let them get used to seeing you and interacting with you. In some cases, if your comments resonate with them, they may even send YOU an invite to connect.
  • Send an invite with a note: Once you have engaged with the person for a bit in this way, then you might want to send a connection invite -- but be sure to include a note referencing their previous posts, and your engagement with them on these posts.
  • Start a dialogue: Once you are connected, you still don't want to send them a pitch right off the bat. Instead, start a dialogue with them. How about thanking them for connecting first? You don't see that too often. Maybe dive deeper on a topic related one of their posts. Again -- I'd use an in-person networking event conversation as a guide. Have a conversation.
  • Finally - the pitch: Once you have a dialogue going with your new connection, eventually you'll be able to steer them into a conversation related to your products and services. By this time they will be much ore receptive to it, and at a minimum, most likely will not get pissed off by it.

All too often people forget the "social" aspect of social media. Just because we live in a world of quick emails and text messages, it doesn't mean that you can skip the warm up. It's all about engagement, and having a conversation that adds value for both parties. And while this takes a little more time to do, it will result in better LinkedIn relationships, relationships that over the long term will help you grow your business.


Joseph Tarnowski

VP Content

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