So for the past few months I have been changing the way I do business. Up until now, I have only accepted referrals or extremely well constructed or interesting LinkedIn invitations. However recently I have started accepting all LinkedIn connection requests. Since then, my LinkedIn profile has increased to nearly 1,000 connections.
Most of these connection requests are simply trying to increase their LinkedIn numbers, so don’t make any further contact, but around 1 in 10 send a message pitching their company or idea.
All of those initial contacts (with one exception) have been terrible. Almost all of them contain grammatical or typographical errors. Almost all of them fail to tell me who they are, or what their company does. And all but one have failed to provide me with a compelling reason to enquire into their business further.
I therefore started offering advice to these connections at a very simple level. Things like:
“Telling me your product name does not constitute an elevator pitch. I have no idea what a XXXX is.”
“You gave a lot of interesting information, but you left out the only important piece of information, what is your service?”
“May I suggest your initial message should contain an elevator pitch that explains your business in a more favourable way than an app that digs for gold.”
“Can I suggest that being located in XXXXXX is not your USP. While you may choose to mention it, explaining your USP is far more important at this initial pitch.”
However, almost all of them became extremely defensive in an attempt to cover their own lack of effort. So I am now being very selective in who I reply to. If I haven’t replied to you, then, most likely you fall into one or more of the categories mentioned above.
What conclusions can be made from this social network experiment?
Don’t tell me you are the founder of a company called XXXX and are seeking investment. Your elevator pitch needs to tell me what your business is. What its called is irrelevant at this stage.
Don’t tell me you have a blockchain company. Blockchain is a tool and a very useful one at that. But it is not what your company does. Again see the first point above.
Don’t offer me an ICO (initial coin offering) you’ve literally just created your own currency and want me to buy into it. You may be using blockchain technology (see the previous paragraph) but I am still only interested in what your company does. I am much less interested in how it does it or the mechanism by which I own a percentage of your business.
On first contact, don’t ask if I want to know more about your company without explaining what your company does. Your first contact message is your elevator pitch and you’ve just wasted it asking me if I want to hear your elevator pitch.
So in conclusion, the correct sequence of events should be:
- Request connection
- First contact message should explain who you are and what your business does and why it is unique. it should also tell me what you are looking for and what I get in return. You should also offer to answer questions and / or send a deck if requested.
So to those that have taken the time to read this article, I look forward to receiving higher quality connection requests in the future.