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Direct Messaging Mistakes You Won't Want to Make on LinkedIn (example included).

Updated: Sep 14, 2019

It’s happened to us all. You accept an invitation to connect with someone on LinkedIn whom you don’t know but think may be reaching out to inquire about your own product or service.

Instead, you get SLAMMED with an auto-generated sales pitch.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail
LinkedIn is an oven, not a microwave. It takes time for trust to be built before you can start selling.

This recently happened to me (again) and I know it happens every minute on social media, which means there’s a big opportunity for anyone who does business online to improve their sales methods. And maybe I’m fortunate because as a copywriter, I’m on the inside of the online marketing world. I know the rules, what works, and what turns off a prospect or connection faster than a blink.

Now, keep in mind that with the example I’m about to share with you, I did what everyone should do, which is check out the person’s profile prior to accepting the connection. In this case, this profile was of interest to me because it was severely flawed. Meaning:

  1. Her headline and summary didn’t tell me anything relevant about her

  2. Her about section was generic and didn’t provide any value

  3. Her profile picture was a selfie that looked like it belonged on her personal Facebook page

  4. She didn’t have a banner image

And since I specialize in SUPERCHARGING LinkedIn profiles for my clients, I thought she could really use some help and that I could be of value to her.

But that wasn’t the case. When I read the message that came through, I cringed, knowing how this tactic - if you can even call it one - makes a terrible first impression. I often roll my eyes when these come to my inbox because they are 100% unauthentic junk mail and offer nothing in the way of a personal connection. And they almost NEVER lead with value. So even if I was interested in the product or service, I wouldn’t have acted because the approach was so off-putting.

Think of it this way - we all know that nobody in their right mind is going to accept a marriage proposal from someone they don’t know. Now, if you get nothing else out of this post, I want you to at least walk away with this:

LinkedIn is an oven, not a microwave. It takes time for trust to be built and relationships to form before you can start selling.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to use LinkedIn for social selling. And the example I’m about to show you is without a doubt the WRONG way. In my experience, it’s also lazy, makes a negative first impression, and slaughters your credibility.

Keep in mind this is an actual conversation that I copied and pasted to show you what happened the instant I accepted the connection. I added my comments to point out what went wrong and what should have happened instead. I also replaced the person’s name with ANONYMOUS to protect her identity.

Here's the feed:

JUN 7 ANONYMOUS sent the following message at 9:02 AM

View ANONYMOUS’s profile


Hi, my name is ANONYMOUS, and I represent COMPANY, a Public Relations agency. I found your profile searching for your company and I would like to connect with you. Thank you.

WHAT WENT WRONG: The area of opportunity in this message would have been to add something personal she learned about me from my profile. Overall, it wouldn’t have been the worst start if it wasn’t scripted, which of course it was. Otherwise I may have thought she was a LinkedIn rookie, brand