I received the following email on Saturday:
“I’ve been surfing around on the Internet and found you up at LinkedIn. I’m excited about the benefits you are offering in your area. I offer a mitigating identity theft service and every business owner must have what I’ve got and they must give me the audience of EVERY employee!! It is really amazing. We give you a success system to use and do all the training you will need to be successful.”
This is probably one of the 1st spam messages I have received that involved LinkedIn. Now when I say involved I should clarify that this message did not come through LinkedIn. Someone simply found my profile on LinkedIn, jumped to one of my websites and captured my email. (maybe I should go exclusively to forms to contact me).
LinkedIn came in to the equation because the person tried to reference it to build credibility. She didn’t even ask me to connect. I don’t mind people using LinkedIn to prospect, although I would prefer that the prospecting be confined to their network. But there is a process that is expected to be followed at least somewhat.
If you find me and feel I would be a good prospect, try to find someone we have in common to connect us. Send me a LinkedIn invitation telling me why we should connect. Or take it offline and call me to see if we have a reason to connect. LinkedIn is about first connecting, building trust, and then we get to the business. This is no different then traditional networking. You have to build trust to get my business.
If you try to speed up the process and skip a step, red flags go off and you’ve lost your opportunity. People do not want to be sold. They want to be educated by someone they trust. It can all start with the connection.
You build trust or credibility on LinkedIn several ways:
1. You connect through a mutual connection that the person knows and trusts
2. You participate in LinkedIn Answers (quality answers not one-liners)
3. You build recommendations from client’s, business partners, and colleagues
4. You have a well thought out and executed profile
5. Give to others through introductions, answers, recommendations, etc.
You’re building your online brand so everything you do on LinkedIn either adds to or subtracts from your credibility.