#98: I Don't Know You
At least three times a week, I get a connection request from a financial planner or a insurance broker on LinkedIn, followed immediately by a message from them about how they'd love to talk to me about doing my financial planning or health insurance or life insurance. No hi, no hello, no let's get to know each other, just "Let me handle serious financial decisions for you, perfect stranger who just accepted my connection request!" My response is always the same: DELETE.
Sometimes, I chuckle at their hubris. Sometimes, I actually read their entire LinkedIn message because I think they have some kind of interesting angle or pitch (usually they don't.) Mostly, though, I just shake my head in annoyance. These tactics are what give salespeople a bad name, and as a salesperson, a sales manager and a sales educator, it really grinds my gears that people are still doing it.
But maybe no one has told them how icky this is. So, as a sales educator, here goes.
THIS IS ICKY.
If you don't know someone AT ALL, and your first contact with them is a cold connection attempt on LinkedIn, they are NEVER EVER EVER going to buy from you. And honestly, they shouldn't. How on EARTH are they supposed to know if you are any good at what you do? How will they know you have their best interests at heart? They don't.
Sales, especially sales of services like financial planning and insurance, is based on trust and understanding. The financial planner I use (because OF FREAKING COURSE I already have a financial planner - I'm 40 and I own two businesses) is a person I trust deeply, and with whom I developed a deep rapport before I ever handed him my portfolio. Same with my insurance guy. And I'm certainly not going to leave them for some rando on LinkedIn.
If you are working in these fields, or any other sales field, frankly, your first mission should be to get to know people and THEN sell them something IF they need it. Not immediately go in, waving around your product offerings, hoping some poor dupe on LinkedIn is going to say "OH MY GOSH, I'M SO GLAD YOU MESSAGED ME! I have this pile of cash sitting over here and I really want to hand it over to some unknown person who randomly messaged me on a social media site!"