Why You Should Never Sell on LinkedIn Again


Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Management pros

Thursday, February 9, 2023

When done well, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for connecting with prospects and boosting sales. But when it comes to social selling, recent trends have caused LinkedIn users to become frustrated with the inauthentic way salespeople use the platform.

Article 4 Minutes
Why You Should Never Sell on LinkedIn Again

Have you ever received a connection request and message on LinkedIn from someone you’ve never had any contact with before trying to sell you something? More than likely, the answer is yes.

Although 89% of salespeople say social networking platforms such as LinkedIn play an integral role in closing deals and their overall sales strategy, today’s users expect their business relationships to be built on trust.

Rather than focusing on using LinkedIn as a way to make a quick sale (which doesn’t work, by the way), it’s time to leverage the platform as a tool to connect, relate to and engage prospects.

What is LinkedIn selling?

LinkedIn is a social networking platform that connects professionals. Social selling on the platform refers to using it as a tool to find, connect and build relationships with leads and prospects to drive conversions. The emphasis here is on the “build relationships” part.

According to LinkedIn, people that use social selling effectively on its platform would have 45% more sales opportunities and be 78% more likely to outsell their peers who don’t use social media.

However, many salespeople today are leveraging the network in a way that’s synonymous with the traditional outbound marketing tactic of cold calling.

Although this may still have its place in some sales strategies, recently, sending generic pitches that aren’t personalized to the user fails to consider the importance of building rapport with leads. In fact, 92% of buyers say they delete emails or voicemail messages when they come from someone that they don’t know.

Why it doesn’t work

You know how it goes. First, you receive a connection request from someone you’ve never met or spoken to. Shortly after comes the generic sales pitch that’s typically something along the lines of “Thanks for connecting. We’ve helped others just like you to [insert sales message]...” You either roll your eyes and keep scrolling or send the email straight to the deleted folder. One thing’s for certain, you don’t reply immediately or head straight to their website to make a purchase.

These types of messages are generic and lazy. They don’t show that the salesperson has taken the time to understand their audience or to genuinely discover what it is about their product or service that could help the potential customer.

Today, salespeople are showing a general misunderstanding of LinkedIn and its purpose. Yes, LinkedIn is used for networking and sharing information, but it’s important to remember that this should be done on the basis of adding value rather than explicitly selling a product or service.

Moreover, these messages are sent based on the assumption that the recipient is interested in or needs certain products or services. In other words, they are sent to unqualified leads. But if the reader has just been introduced to your company and hasn’t yet entered into the buyer journey, who’s to say they’re interested at all?

The importance of winning trust

When using LinkedIn to grow your business and increase leads, it’s important to find, relate to and engage with prospects before hitting them with a sales pitch.

Consumers are more empowered than ever before when it comes to finding information and making purchase decisions.  In the B2B world, 57% of the decision process is complete before the customer even considers talking to a salesperson. Moreover, 47% of buyers view at least three to five pieces of content before they contact a representative.

Although building a relationship and winning trust takes time and effort, it’s more effective to reach potential customers appropriately rather than sending them a generic message that they’re simply going to ignore. Nobody said social selling was easy, after all.

How to use LinkedIn the right way

With this in mind, there are some best practices to keep in mind to ensure you don’t alienate leads before they have the chance to engage with you.

Instead of cutting straight to the chase and diving into your sales pitch, take the time to “warm up” the connection by interacting with their posts and updates or sharing content that may be valuable to them. All of this helps to build up rapport and familiarity before hitting them with an offer.

This kind of engagement allows you to pinpoint any clues that the prospect is interested in your product or service, giving you a reason to reach out to them in the first place. Instead of using LinkedIn as a way to make a quick sale, take the time to nurture prospects and guide them towards making their own informed decision about investing in what you have to offer.

There’s no doubt that to succeed in the world of B2B marketing, you need to leverage the power and reach of social media. But instead of pitching at every opportunity, use LinkedIn to build relationships that are based on trust and mutual respect.

Insights for Professionals

Insights for Professionals provide free access to the latest thought leadership from global brands. We deliver subscriber value by creating and gathering specialist content for senior professionals.


Join the conversation...