By Steve Moran

I got this LinkedIn message today:

In my first draft of this article, I did not include the person’s name, but after I got no response from her, I took a look and realized that we have more than 100 connections in common, and I suspect a fair number of them got this same message.

Did you get it too?

I assume Melinda wants a response and wants to sell me something. They are likely sending dozens or even hundreds of these messages every week. They are trying to break through and get me to respond, and I guess in some sense they had success, because here is my response:

And I am going to confess that after writing that, I am slightly embarrassed because it is sort of demeaning to janitors.

The Problem With All This

Here is the problem I have with this kind of approach:

  1. This person clearly has some agenda, but I have no idea what it is. And what is funny is that they might even be trying to sell me something I need or could use, but I have no idea.
  2. LinkedIn in this context doesn’t get anything right or wrong. I am the person who put “founder” in my profile, and so what she is really asking is if I am telling the truth about who I am — which is kind of insulting.
  3. Third, and this is the most dishonest part: In her post, she starts with the term “LinkedIn Connection.” Except she is not.
  4. It feels like this message is something that is automated or nearly automated.

The only redeeming thing about this message is that I get to write about it as an example of how not to behave. I have a sense this is like someone trying to be too clever on a dating site, and so ultimately that cleverness backfires.

Doing It Right

There is nothing wrong with using LinkedIn for prospecting, even cold prospecting, but tell me who you are and what you want. Tell me why I should interact with you, be respectful of my time. This is really not much better than those annoying spam phone calls we all get a few times a day or week.

Please don’t be one of these people.