Is LinkedIn Bugging You?

By , Small Business Speaker, Writer & Commentator - Supporting Those Going it Alone

Solo-E Certified Solo Entrepreneur Expert

Robert Gerrish - Small Business Speaker, Writer & Commentator - Supporting Those Going it Alone

LinkedIn contact requests start harmlessly enough but can escalate into overt promotion, timewasting and distraction. It bugs me. Here’s what I do about it.

LinkedIn seems to be the latest platform of choice for marketers and salespeople who use it to trawl for opportunities and pounce on mugs like me who still think of ‘connection’ as something pleasant and meaningful.

The common approach to using LinkedIn for marketing seems to be to get a connection and then nudge it into a phone or face-to-face meeting.

As I simply don’t have the time or inclination to vet every contact request closely (and often they look harmless enough), I’ve had to create a means of keeping meeting requests at bay, or at least pushing back to find out precisely what the meeting is about.

See what you think and please tell me what works for you.

The first signal that I’m about to be marketed to is the almost instant, snappy little pitch where my new contact suggests a specific day and time as the ideal opportunity to chat further. So already we have some implied excitement and urgency in the mix and my diary is being pressured!

Well, I don’t know about you, but I run my diary and I’m rarely looking for suggestions on how to fill it.

Generally I will respond (probably a mistake?), but will ignore the meeting reference. Instead I’ll ask for more detail regarding precisely what needs discussing and why it’s likely to be of any interest to me.

Pushing back has the effect of either getting more clarity or, more commonly, an immediate cessation of communication.

The following response sends the lazy salespeople straight onto the next ‘prospect’ and helps the more genuine plan a little further: “Thank you for your interest in hooking up, but before we plan anything kindly outline the key points you’d like to discuss.” Either way, you’ve not offended anyone and your focus has not been interrupted.

For those who respond and can articulate the purpose of a catch up, I have an artillery of processes and procedures at the ready.

Generally people contact me because they know Flying Solo is a large community and exposure to that audience in some shape or form is appealing. For that reason we have developed documented procedures that explain how to advertise your product or service with us, how to raise your personal profile, how to become a contributing writer, and much more.

As soloists, we all need systems and processes … as we regularly write about.

On the assumption that LinkedIn is increasingly used as a sales tool, what strategies can you put in place to ensure you stay focused on what’s important and not spend your life accommodating the urgency of others?

If you’re successfully using LinkedIn for marketing, please share your secrets.

Pick Robert’s brain in his new course, Work your way – The complete guide to going it alone in business!

Robert Gerrish is the founder of Flying Solo (based in Australia) and host of the Flying Solo Podcast. Alongside his role as Head Honcho, he presents at conferences & events and bangs on to the media about all things micro. Along with Sam Leader and Peter Crocker, he's the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

In 2017 Robert distilled his 20+ years of experience as a Solo Entrepreneur into a truly comprehensive - and easily digestible - program: Work your way - The complete guide to going it alone in business.

© Copyright 2017 Robert Gerrish
4 comments on “Is LinkedIn Bugging You?
  1. World you like to meet up to discuss this?
    Just kidding! Thanks Robert. I do agree. And your tips are just perfect.
    Rosemary

  2. Andy Gowers says:

    Great suggestions, Robert.
    I have very successfully used LinkedIn to get in contact with people that I already know and arrange a discussion, if it is appropriate.
    It is a very efficient and handy way to track down contact details.
    However, I write every single message and it is absolutely only to that person.
    More lately, I have been reaching out to people I am either connected with but have never met personally, or someone I think looks interesting (and I’m not yet connected with) and suggest a discussion to explore what we both do.
    It doesn’t fit in with your approach but I have met some incredible people that way and I may never have met them otherwise.
    I think it depends on the way that you approach these things – I genuinely am interested in what people do and whether I can help them, either directly or indirectly.
    Not everybody thinks this way and that is fine.
    But I do recommend being open to meeting new people in whatever field we are involved.
    Essentially that is what LinkingIn is all about.
    Andy

    • I totally agree Andy – and it’s a good point you make – it all depends on the approach and you clearly put effort into your messages. Oh that everyone using LinkedIn did the same!

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