When did it all become so personal? When did common courtesy fly right out the window?
A colleague of mine posted a LinkedIn video sharing his thoughts on why using LinkedIn to cold pitch was not an effective selling strategy. I happen to agree. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the same topic and the majority of the 65 LinkedIn commenters agreed with my belief that to invite someone to connect and then immediately pounce on them with a sales pitch once they accept is not welcome.
Yes, there were salespeople who didn’t agree with my point of view. That’s okay. To their way of thinking, that is exactly how you use the LinkedIn platform. There were similar comments on my friend’s post too. One gal commented that she is passionate about the products she sells and will pitch to anyone with a willing ear. But that’s exactly the point. When someone agrees to your connection request they are not indicating that they are interested in your pitch. In other words, connecting does not equal a willing ear.
I’ve written before that ultimately everyone needs to choose what works for them. If the cold pitch is working for you, fine. I don’t believe that it is working for you but I’m not going to argue about it. You will only dig your heels in deeper. But do be aware that in numerous research studies buyers say that they do not appreciate your self-serving sales pitch, regardless how “passionate” you are about your products. You are still making it about you. Choosing to ignore what buyers have said they don’t like about certain selling approaches comes with risk. If you refuse to adapt your selling style in the face of hard evidence that confirms you should, you just make your job harder.
I noticed that unlike the comments on my LinkedIn post, which were civil and professional even if the person disagreed with me, many comments on my colleague’s post, especially from one guy, were very personal attacks. Everything from criticizing how my friend dressed, the way in which he presented his message, that he goes by his last name only, and even criticizing the fact that he filmed his post from his mountain house. Seriously?
Disagreeing with someone’s point of view on an issue is one thing. Making it personal is another. The grand irony here is that the very people making their comments personal attacks versus adding value to the overall discussion have shown themselves to be about as unprofessional as you can get. I mean, you do realize that we see your name and picture attached to your comment, right? What if I was a potential customer for what you sell and I read your comments? Do you think I’d give you the time of day after seeing how you behave? Do you honestly think that any buyer would?
Trust me, my colleague is a big boy and handles himself just fine. Unlike the trolls, he responded to the critical comments with grace. He refuses to conform to what other people deem as professional. He has chosen his own path and by his own admission chooses to be himself even if others don’t agree. I have always admired that about him. I haven’t always been that gutsy. And for the record, he is darn successful, so there’s that!
Your brand is your bond. What you say and do online and offline frames a powerful message about who you are as a person and as a professional. Before you decide to troll someone in a public forum for all to see, you might do well to remember that being an A-hole is not a good look. It certainly won’t help win you any sales!