Every day, I get dozens of connection requests through all sorts of channels. Early on, as I was building my networks, I didn’t scrutinize the requests very closely. If someone seemed nominally interesting, I was glad to connect.
Over time, I’ve become much more careful, primarily because accepting many requests opens a flood gate of unwanted emails, phone calls, and meaningless solicitations.
I’ve started developing these rough screening rules, but have a lot to learn, so I’d love to hear your tips
- I connect with people: Somehow, I get a lot of requests from “companies.” I don’t know how to connect to a “company.” People are putting up profiles of their company, who their company is, what their company does. I see some companies even have endorsements. I’m interested in people, I want to know who you are, I want to see a picture, I want to know what you’ve done, what your goals are, and all sorts of things. People connect with people, not companies. If your profile is your “company” and you are hiding behind that, you are cheating your connections and yourself.
- I connect with people: Yes, I’m repeating myself a little. I’m amazed with the number of people asking to connect whose total experience can be summed up in less than 20 words. They may have a few words, “I’m a sales person,” or “I work in this industry,” or “I can help you generate leads.” That phrase represents the entirety of their profiles. Like I said in the previous paragraph, I like to know who I’m connecting with. If you don’t take the time to develop your own profile, how will you take the time to build any kind of relationship with the people you are connecting to?
- I like connecting with real people: Yes, there are fake people trying to network with real people. There are those with well developed, fictional profiles and stock pictures pulled from the web. One week, I got two invitations. The profiles were word for word identical, the names and pictures were different, but the pictures were stock photos. Another time, I had just bought some picture frames, they were sitting on my desk. One frame had one of those stock photo pictures in it. I happened to get an connection request. You guessed it, apparently that person has either licensed her picture to be used in picture frames or the inviter had purchased the same picture frame somewhere else.
- I like connecting with the real person (not someone spoofing that person). A couple of years ago, I was very flattered to get a connection invitation from an Under Secretary Of Defense. The picture in the profile was that person’s, the profile matched, word for word, the bio at the Defense Department’s site. There were some clues the individual was not that person came in the invitation to connect–1o spelling and grammar errors in the 2 sentences in the invitation. Fortuitously, I happen to know another Under Secretary of Defense (that’s why I initially thought the request might be genuine). I forwarded the invitation to him, he checked it out. Needless to say, that profile is no longer in LinkedIn.
- If you are a Greek Banker or a Middle Eastern Investor, don’t bother sending me an invitation, I won’t accept it. I feel terrible about painting whole professions and nationalities with this image. I happen to know some great Greek Bankers and have done some interesting deals with Middle Eastern Investors. However, 100% of the requests I’ve gotten from these categories, after I accept the connection, come to me with pitch after pitch of the latest way they can put my money to their use. So as a result, even if you are a legit Greek Banker or Middle Eastern Investor, I’m sorry, I won’t accept your request.
- If you are an Inbound/Outbound Lead Gen Person (particularly located in Encino, CA), and your profile only talks about how you can help me generate 1000’s of leads, then I’m not going to connect with you. Yes, painfully, I connected with a couple, and got deluged with calls and emails about the 1000’s of leads they could generate. If you understand my business, we aren’t a 1000’s of leads business, plus you never will be able to talk to the people I need you to talk to, regardless how pretty your picture is. I’m cautious with lead gen people (particularly sales people) in general. There are a lot that I’ve developed great relationships with, but if your first communication comes within a day of my accepting your invitation, and it’s a pitch about how you can improve our lead gen, you’re toast.
- If you are a LinkedIn Marketing Expert, I’ll be hesitant, I’m not likely to connect. If you are a LinkedIn Marketing Expert sending the standard LinkedIn connection invitation——well then how can you be a LinkedIn Marketing Expert? You’re toast.
- If you’re a LION, well, I’ve written about you before, Any Idiot Can Be A LinkedIn Lion. Enough said.
- Twitter Follow/Unfollow/Follow/Unfollow: I don’t know if it’s just me, but there are lots of people that I see repeatedly following me, then unfollowing me, then following me again, then unfollowing me again. I’m not sure what’s going on, are they indecisive, are they trying to catch my attention and get me to follow them in return. Today, I noticed a particular company account. Since I know the company well, I take notice of them. They’ve followed and unfollowed me about 4 times in the past 2 months. What’s this about?
- Bad Twitter Prospecting: There are a lot of people “pitching me” on Twitter. You know how that works, @davidabrock, try this to get around gatekeepers [Link]. I wonder, “what do they know about me, do they think that I have problems getting around gatekeepers?” More likely they are trying to attract a number of my followers to click through. There are all kinds of pitches, I’ve learned to ignore most of them. I did click on the gatekeeper one and tweeted that it was the worst method I’d seen–hope my followers saw that. Maybe I don’t get it, but I struggle with understanding how you get real engagement in a 140 character pitch to a stranger.
What are some of the annoying behaviors you see?