lead generation the wrong way

Remember that old scene from the movie, Mr. Mom where the father, Jack, has to drop off the kids at school for the first time and everyone is honking at him and telling him “you’re doing it wrong”? It’s as if you can feel his embarrassment and horror at driving in the driveway incorrectly when it’s pouring down rain.


Fast forward to today and you know how you receive daily cold LinkedIn messages or emails that begin with a pitch? Don’t you just want to tell them, “you’re doing it wrong”?! I do. Every. Single. Day.

In this day of “give value first” these cold pitches seem even more annoying. Some of them don’t even make sense or are downright rude.

My Favorite Lousy Cold Pitches

Here are some real messages I’ve received recently from people I don’t know:

“We’re accepting 3-5 new clients this month.”

“You haven’t answered my email”

“I am available to call you Thursday at 10:00 am.”

“I a excellent writer” (typo intended – this email was sent from a non-US writer trying to get my business)

“I haven’t heard back from you – this is my last attempt to set up a time to talk on the phone” (oooh, scary!)

“Are you in the market for a new website? We’re an India based web design company…” (uh…really? Selling websites to a web design company??!!)

Seriously – these are messages I’ve received from strangers trying to sell me something. Now, I believe in social selling – in fact, it’s the number one way I get new clients. When I first started using LinkedIn for lead generation, I was a little over-zealous and listened to one salesperson’s suggestion for how to pitch via direct message as soon as someone connects.

I carefully wrote my “thank you for connecting” message, including a link to my calendar. And it did work – I regularly had 5-7 new appointments every month. I got the occasional flaming response, but I felt the upside response was worth it.

This was several years ago and today, LinkedIn messaging has been oversold by gurus who want you to buy their programs. Everyone seems to have the same messaging and it’s all a sales pitch right out of the gate.

Being on the receiving end of these LinkedIn messages AND direct emails from people who have connected with me on LinkedIn, I can say to 90% of the senders that they are indeed, doing it wrong.

how to fix bad social sales pitches

How to fix your bad pitching

Here’s how to fix it.

  1. Don’t do it. At least not that way. Start with a simple “thank you” and leave it there for now.
  2. Look at their profile and endorse or recommend them for the skills they have listed. View recent posts they’ve shared and like/comment on them. This will not only help their SMO, but also make them aware of you.
  3. Next, come up with something of value to your new connection…something that helps them be better at their work or as a person. It could be a link to a download, an article you’ve written or a resource you enjoy using.
  4. Finally, when the time is right, you can pitch. A little. You might say something like “let me know if you’d like to learn more about our XYZ program that is designed to help you XYZ”

A few things to remember:

  • You’re building a relationship. You don’t go to a networking mixer and immediately pitch, do you? No – you ask about the other person, exchange business cards and consider getting together over coffee if it makes sense. Social selling is similar to this concept, except the business cards are LinkedIn connecting and coffee would be a phone or video call.
  • Giving value is a good way to build trust and familiarity with what you have to offer.
  • Creating and sharing high quality content directly on your social media accounts will also help set you up as an authority in your industry.

Make sure you’re not “doing it wrong” and you should see much better results from your lead generation efforts! Want our help? Click here to learn more about our LinkedIn Lead Generation service.

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