5 Worst Sales Tactics Salespeople Should Stop Killing LinkedIn With

LinkedIn has become the definitive social network for forming business connections. As a result, we’ve gotten to know the downside of having more people on the platform. It leaves the door wide open to bad sales habits. Some salespeople can’t seem to let go of their spam-style sales tactics, and plenty of them have migrated to LinkedIn.

It doesn’t stop at sending unsolicited, spam InMails, although that’s bad enough. Unfortunately, there’s a multitude of ways to abuse the platform for sales. And once that abuse reaches a critical point, active members might leave. Here are the five worst sales tactics salespeople should stop killing LinkedIn with:

1. Requesting to Connect without Reason

Random and non-customized connection requests can work with people who are not taking LinkedIn seriously. However, sales folks trying to pursue prospects without bothering to customize their connection requests signal that they hadn’t done their homework. Moreover, that kind of connection is always cold, and unlikely to yield any value even if accepted.

Salespeople who still do this should take a moment to consider a few things. First, why would that company leader or head of an inbound marketing agency accept that kind of connection? You’re not making it clear why you want to connect and what’s in it for them. Additionally, you’re showing that you didn’t do your research. When you give a prospect no reason to connect, you can be sure they won’t.

What you could try to do instead is make yourself visible before you request a connection. A small interaction with the prospect should do the trick. Place a comment on their blog or add dialogue to the conversation when you see they commented elsewhere. Then your prospect will be more likely to accept your connection request.

2. Blasting Unsolicited Sales Pitches

Immediately blasting your new connection with an InMail isn’t a terrible crime on its own. However, if you combine that with message content that only talks about your fantastic business or services, there’s a problem.

Can your business serve everyone you connect with? Why would you assume your connection would be interested in your services? Some salespeople even suggest prospects to drop everything they’re doing and call them right away. It’s safe to assume that no one ever did that.

Imagine a company leader who gets 20+ LinkedIn requests every day. If 15 of those connections blast the prospect with spam InMail, how long until this person stops connecting with salespeople? Ultimately, this practice is bad for the business, and it discourages meaningful connecting.

Replace this tactic with observing your new LinkedIn connection for a week or two before you message them. A sales pitch should come after you’ve gotten to know your prospect. Make sure you have something relevant to offer them, and if you don’t, don’t bother them.

3. Spying from Fake Accounts

With LinkedIn’s option to see second-degree connections, there is a possibility a salesperson will become the victim of client stealing. Most of them will be smart enough to reject a connection request from a competitor, but that’s where fake accounts come in. Some salespeople put in a lot of effort into creating a believable phony to trick a competitor. Once the connection is accepted, they gain access to their network, where they can contact all the clients they want.

This practice is extremely harmful to the industries it occurs in. More often than not, these are the salespeople who send unsolicited pitches and cold requests, and they need to be stopped. Even in extremely competitive industries, salespeople shouldn’t have to be faced with the possibility of someone stealing their clients.

4. Burying Group Discussions with Self-Promo

Managing a LinkedIn group can become a hellish experience when enough spammy salespeople find it. Where once was a fruitful discussion, now you’ll have mountains of unrelated self-promo. It annoys both the people who manage the group and the members who keep discussions alive. The truth is that this tactic doesn’t work because no one likes unhelpful people. The whole point of LinkedIn groups is the valuable discussion, so joining an industry group to toot your own horn won’t work.

If you’re posting your content, make sure it’s relevant to the discussion at hand. What you post has to be helpful, without the intention of self-promoting. Whatever you do, don’t hijack threads in LinkedIn groups — people will like you better if you’re not sleazy.

5. Treating Everyone Like a Qualified Prospect

Marketers and salespeople tend to do this if they’re new or they failed to learn better. Not everyone you encounter on LinkedIn will be interested in what you have to offer. In some cases, they might not even be able to make use of it. Your product or service is not for everyone — so why would you try to push it on everyone? Pursuing a third-degree connection without knowing whether they’re a qualified prospect is often a waste of time and effort.

If you wish to warm up a distant prospect, you’ll have to engage in some carefully planned activity. Find the groups they are a part of, see where they post, get a read on their opinions. If you can contribute to the discussion; join in. Once they’ve communicated with you in a group or a post, that’s when you can send them a message.

Don’t immediately ask them to schedule a sales call. Respond in kind, thanking them for the interaction, or perhaps returning the favor they’ve done you. Yes, it’s much slower than blasting them right away — but it’s also more effective.

LinkedIn Doesn’t Need Spam

Spamming people on LinkedIn goes against everything the platform stands for. It’s no wonder that the number of InMails is getting more limited, even for premium members. With the value LinkedIn offers, and the wealth of information on prospects and leads, it’s going to gain more members. That is if the existing members and the platform manage to keep the spammy salespeople under control.

Members are already reluctant to connect with new people because of all the spam. Once it becomes too much to handle, LinkedIn will lose its active, engaged members and the platform will be useless for reaching out to prospects. Ultimately, it’s up to the community to keep LinkedIn a treasure trove of insights and the best tool for sales prospecting.