I love LinkedIn. I think if it is used properly it can be a powerful tool to network, market and build your business. The idea that I can peruse new connections at any hour of the day or night whilst in my yoga pants with no make-up on, is nothing short of a modern day miracle. Yet I continue to be amazed at how many people just don't get how to use it properly.
For example, last week I got what at first glance appeared to be a personalized email from someone who apparently I "share a group in common" with. Don't ask me which group. The writer did not get that personal.
Still he asked if I might like to connect further.
The next paragraph told me what he did, his closing ratio and how big the deals averaged.
Nice information. But why should I care?
The paragraph after that was the real kicker. He asked if I have "considered or are considering going into consulting?"
This was when I knew - with absolute certainty - that this was a form letter and I don't connect with form letters.
Not that I don't suggest having a good, well written piece on hand with which to introduce oneself. The key is to remember to personalize it.
He didn't. If he had he might have noticed that my title in my LinkedIn profile includes the word "consultant." He might have read my summary which talks about my "consulting."
But he didn't.
The underlying message of his note was that he doesn't do his homework very well. There are no excuses for that - especially in a world where it is as easy as a Google search.
At this point I saw this as material for a blog so I went nosing around on his website. It confirmed my suspicions that he was trying to sell me something. In this case becoming licensed by his consortium.
As I have written many times before - we are all trying to sell something. That is not my issue with this. My issue is - if you are going to do that start by doing your homework.
He didn't have to read too far to see I was already consulting. In that case his pitch should have been something to intrigue me why a connection with his group is going to help me.
But he didn't.
My guess is one of two things happened.
He relied on an automated system that probably pulled my name out of the pile through keywords.
He (or whoever he assigned this task to) didn't bother to think.
In an increasingly automated, digital world the need for humanization increases proportionately.
You want to make a new connection?
Tell me something that makes me feel like you care enough to at least read my LinkedIn profile first. Or perhaps, listen to this new Soundcloud audio version of what I do. In either case, do your homework first.