Some basic rules for LinkedIn introductions in Australia
A couple of my clients recently received direct LinkedIn messages from people they don’t know and haven’t connected with. While these were laughably bad, they skim pretty close to the reality of what many of us have experienced, both with people we don’t know, and some that we do. This problem persists within our immediate communities, despite the general lack of tolerance in Australia for overly salesy or self-promotional communication in business conversations.
Obviously I’ve omitted names but otherwise it’s word-for-word.
Good morning Ms X
Thank you for connecting with me. Please call me on (mobile number) if you would like to come in for a coffee.
Come in for coffee? For what? A date? Ms X not impressed.
Subject: Please add me to your LinkedIn network
I’m the new Business Development Manager at (Unheard Of Business Name). It would be great to meet for coffee when you’re available to discuss how (A’s business) could benefit from using our services. I look forward to hearing from you.
Since A and B have never met, and A has never heard of B’s company, it’s a little presumptuous to assume that A can benefit from hearing all about someone else’s business, or that A would even want to. ‘A’ thinks this new guy ‘B’ won’t be in his Business Development Manager role long.
If a stranger walked up to you in real life and asked you to go to his office for a coffee, without giving a reason, would you go? How do you feel when someone starts rabbiting on about their business without being asked for any information… and forgets to ask you anything about yours?
This may seem like common sense, but it happens a lot. Even once I’ve connected with someone (perhaps someone I’ve met at a networking event or someone whose work sounds interesting to me), this is not an invitation to send me an essay about your business or ask me for a coffee without a clear, actually mutually-beneficial, purpose.
So some basic rules to live by when it comes to LinkedIn messaging (and many other contexts, I would say):
- If someone hasn’t asked you for information about your business, don’t give it to them. They don’t want it. NO – they REALLY don’t want it.
- If you’ve never met the person, don’t ask them if you can call them or if they will meet you for coffee – unless you have an introduction from someone and/or you have a clear purpose for the meeting – and be transparent about that purpose.
- Don’t ask someone to meet you and then expect them to work around you, your schedule and your location.
- If you’ve never had a conversation, don’t even send this person a link to a workshop you are presenting or a promotion you are running – even if you know it’s the perfect fit.
- Don’t send group messages. (Trust me, I’ve been burned by this one and have long since stopped using LinkedIn as a method for letting people know about a workshop!) Unless you are a subscriber to the ‘upset some, get some on board’ way of doing business and don’t mind how it affects people’s impression of you, you don’t want to be promoting your stuff this way!
Things have changed dramatically in LinkedIn culture, in a short time. If you visit LinkedIn regularly you will already have a feel for this. If not – remember the examples above or take my word for it: in the Australian context, you need to follow these rules.
If the first impression you give is a bad LinkedIn message, the recipient will probably never want to meet you or do business with you… so why waste your time? Go do some Facebook ads instead.