Sales communications coach & CEO, Communications Edge Inc.
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Post-connect, most messages fail to earn response
Here's what I've learned is causing this:
1) LinkedIn: LinkedIn's system is (over time) discouraging personal-ized invitations from being read. Thus, sending “false positives” to sellers.
2) Saturation: Most sellers use Connection requests as their first “cold” touch. But requesting a Connection (by itself) is increasingly signaling “I'm a sales person looking to spam your inbox.”
3) Context: Being connected on LinkedIn is (over time) becoming a highly personal thing. It's increasingly being seen as a privilege by executive decision-makers.
LinkedIn's direction is combining with the average sales person's behavior—causing problems for serious sellers like you.
Why are they connecting—then ignoring me?
Decision-makers aren't on LinkedIn looking to meet sellers—even those representing something vital to their success. This is the ugly truth... increasingly.
It's easy to have a positive impression when a prospect accepts LinkedIn connection request. In fact, it's logical to think, “aah, great!” But what, exactly, is on the buyer's mind when he/she accepts? Why did they accept?
Curiosity about social media?
From an urge to grow their network ... by increasing their connection number?
Maybe they're in the market for what you're selling and waiting for you? ;)
Until you're on speaking terms, there's no way of knowing.
Thus, many of my students are confused: “Why am I being invited to connect—only to be ignored?”
False positives (thanks, LinkedIn!)
You may interpret acceptance of a Connection request as an invitation to start a discussion—but the other side doesn't. Why is that?
Short answer: The personal message within your invitation is often not seen.
Remember all the agonizing over the personalized message inside your request? It's squandered.
LinkedIn has, over time, updated its user interface. These changes are great for LinkedIn's network growth but not helpful for the quality of your communications.
LinkedIn continues to make it:
- easier for any connection request to be blindly accepted (in general);
- more difficult to see who sent a personalized request and read it.
In many cases, your request to start a conversation has, actually, never been seen.
Worse, it's not your fault.
You don't want to hear this
Tough love time. Here's the truth.
Most sellers using LinkedIn use Connection requests as a first “cold” touch when approaching prospects. Problem is, sending a Connection request is increasingly signaling “I'm a salesy spammer.”
As sellers rush into social selling most are taking the lazy route: Spamming marketing messages. Most send mass marketing style, un-personalized messages to prospects via LinkedIn.
This has trained prospects to accept fewer Connection requests in general!
If this practice hasn't trained them (past tense) in your business sector yet, it will.
Bet on it.
Because this is how a majority of sellers use LinkedIn. They're sending poorly-written, unsolicited sales pitches. Even if you know better, you risk getting caught-up in that crowd when requesting a Connection as your first point of contact.