Does your sales pitch cancel out… your sales pitch? How to clean up your act on LinkedIn


"There’s one word that’s an express ticket to the reject bin. It's 'leads'."

I’ve had a sudden spike in people ‘prospecting’ me on LinkedIn. Most aren’t very good at it.

So this week, a few tips so we can all waste less time — buyers and sellers.

A year ago I improved my LinkedIn experience a lot by making this the top line of my bio: ***If you connect then follow up with a generic sales pitch I’ll straight-up disconnect, thanks for understanding.***

It helped, a lot. Plus, there’s a certain satisfaction in whacking those who ignore it.

There’s more you can do with incoming connections.

Negative keywords: Instant kill

There are words that are a code red ‘don’t accept this connection’ warning. (A bit like negative keywords in SEM campaigns.)

For me, there’s one word that’s an express ticket to the reject bin. It’s ‘leads’.

Why would you buy leads from third-parties? I speak to other business owners a lot and I’ve never heard of anyone making a single sale from purchased leads.

It’s a product that reeks of phone sales boiler rooms and commission-only desperation.

Another is ‘LION’. Not the cool furry kind; it stands for ‘LinkedIn Open Networker’. It means ‘I click yes on every invite with no more discernment than a toddler buying in-app purchases’.

Their presence dilutes your network down to tepid bathwater strength.

The silent, creepy presence in the bar

You can’t get a good network banging out generic invites to strangers. If there’s no interaction; there’s not much point.

Then there’s that old friend from a decade ago who connects with you with a wordless auto-invite. You accept, then… nothing.

It’s pretty creepy when you think about it. Imagine that long-lost person seeing you in a bar, and standing right near you for five minutes, staring, not saying a word. Then walking away. LinkedIn is that in digital form.

For god’s sake say something.

You don’t need thousands of contacts. I get the most value out of about 20 people in my LinkedIn world. They comment on posts, offer useful advice, and have helped in all sorts of curious real-life ways.

Plus that activity ratchets up your algorithm and makes you visible.

Put some effort in, or don’t do LinkedIn

Either put some effort in, or don’t do LinkedIn. You don’t have lots of time, so choose your targets and focus.

If you want someone to like you, comment on their posts. Or if they don’t post, tag them into something they might find useful.

If you want to connect with a prospect you don’t know, read their profile and posts. Then write a single line that proves you’re not pasting the same tedious greeting in fifty times a day.

It should be about them, not you.

Saying ‘I really enjoyed your post on sales funnels’ is enough to show you care.

If you don’t have time for that, then use some of the time you’re wasting on fruitless bulk connections looking for the high score. It’s not a video game.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘But more contacts means a larger network and that’s good, right?’


Purge your way to an engaged network

If you connect to every spammer and grifter in your inbox, you get a disengaged crowd with no interest in your work.

You do a smart relevant post, but your network of random hustlers ain’t interested.

So the algorithm marks you down and it sinks without a trace.

Doesn’t matter what you’re using LinkedIn for: sales, job hunting, building your own legend. The number one law of marketing applies. A small, engaged audience is always better than a large, uninterested one.

I learned this counter-intuitive approach from Mark McInnes; he’s much more expert at social sales than I.

Mark recommends a Stalinist massacre of your connections once a year or so. He explains it in this video. I tried it, and I gotta say, it’s very satisfying.

Does your sales pitch cancel out… your sales pitch?

Ask yourself, are you embodying the service you offer in your pitch?

So your bio reads: ‘I help people reach key-decision makers.’

OK, you’d like me to pay you for the secret knowledge of getting to people others can’t reach. And your pitch to me is: ‘Hi Ian! I came across your profile and saw that we may have something in common. I would be interested to know more about what you do.’

Let me tell you what I do: I put generic spam contacts like yours in the bin.

A pitch that shows you can’t do the thing you want me to pay you for advice on… please, take a look in the mirror.

Kudos to you!

I like LinkedIn. You can learn a lot there compared to the financial press, which is now largely cut and pasted from lobbyists and rent-seekers.

The discussions are thoughtful and polite, by comparison to every other social platform.

However, there are just a couple of features I’d like LinkedIn to remove. Because they feel like they were coded in by non-humans.

1. Work anniversaries

I’m pretty sure work anniversaries are not a thing. Please don’t pester us to give auto-congratulations.

2. The ‘kudos to you’ button


Kudos To You Button

Who says that?

I’m picturing someone in a meeting delivering an enthusiastic ‘kudos to you, Sarah’ and everyone just falling silent and edging away.

Then ‘Kudos’ becomes their embarrassing nickname forever.

Anyway, kudos to you for reading this far.

This article was first published on Motivation for Sceptics.

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