Silly LinkedIn prospecting mistakes that you must avoid at all costs

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LinkedIn is in danger.

Danger of what I hear you ask?

Well, what was once a very strict place for professionals and where LinkedIn etiquette was always upheld is now in massive danger of turning into “SpamIn” rather than LinkedIn.

Let me explain why…

If you’re like me you most likely get bombarded each week with LinkedIn messages like this:


You accept and then you can literally start the countdown until you receive a follow up message like this:


Two minutes ago I had never heard of you and now you’re sending me a “me mail”

“Just introducing myself…”

No, I’m not interested in you. I’m interested in only me and my company.

“Our business…”

No, I’m interested in my business, not your business.

“They are great for helping…”

You’re talking about yourself and your products again!

This is a prime example of throwing some mud up at the wall and hoping that some of it will stick.

Here’s another real example. At least this guy sent me his “follow up” 3 hours after linking up with me. 


Ok, here goes.

“Please forgive the direct approach…”

Never apologise! Although I am pretty peeved of having to read this rubbish so I might let you off.

“I wanted to introduce myself and my company…”

Why? Do I have a need? Talk about me, not you.

“Having worked in…”

Not interested in this. You haven’t grabbed my attention yet to want to be interested in this.

“Our service is…”

Me me me!

Examples of poor LinkedIn prospecting emails like this are becoming the norm. They are like asking your date for a one night stand on the first date when you have just met them.

You know nothing about them, if they are interested in you or if they are in the marketplace for what you offer.

One of my old mentors gave me a piece of valuable advice:

“Sean, if you want to be interesting then you need to be interested”

That’s always stuck with me.

If you’re going to prospect through LinkedIn then don’t shoot for home runs from the outset. Build the relationship, add value and nurture your new contact.

This guy below was attempting this when he linked up with me but then immediately sent me this:


Why should I be bothered to send a reply when I know it will most likely lead into one of those other emails that I received above? Surely if he has LinkedIn up with me then he knows what my business is? Unless, of course, he is shooting fish in a barrel again.

He is asking me a question to try and get my engagement which is good but the question is all wrong and he isn’t even on my radar yet. He’s never liked any of my content or made any comments. What’s in it for me to reply?

Okay, so this post sounds like a rant and it is. But I want you to avoid sending rubbish like this.

In next month’s article I’ll be sharing with you some really effective prospecting templates that you can steal and use! But for now, please don’t send LinkedIn messages like the ones I’ve covered.

About Sean McPheat


Sean McPheat is the founder and Managing Director of international sales training firm MTD Sales Training, part of the MTD Training Group. He is also the founder of Skillshub, which is an innovative digital learning platform which provides short, focused, online training sessions in under 5 minutes. Sean has been referred to in the media and peers alike as a thought leader within the sales industry.  

MTD are multi-award winners and have delivered training, coaching and consultancy to over 4,000 different organizations and 250,000+ staff from 23 different countries. Sean leads a team of 25 of the most effective sales trainers in the world and has appeared on TV on several occasions as an expert in the field of sales development. 

Sean is a bestselling author, a much sought-after international speaker and has been a previous finalist in the British Business Awards for his Entrepreneurial achievements.

Sean has been featured on CNN International, the BBC, ITV, SKY, The Guardian, Forbes, Arena Magazine, Marketing Weekly and radio stations such as BBC WM, Insight Radio and LBC (London’s Big Conversation) and has over 300 other media credits to his name. 

He is the author of the FREE Report “450 Sales Questions – What To Ask In Any Sales Situation” which has been downloaded over 35,000 times on the internet.

Sean sends his free sales training tips via email to over 60,000 people interested in sales and management and his sales blog is visited by over 7,000 people each week.

Contact: 0333 320 2883




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03rd Jul 2017 10:19

Can't wait for next month's "really effective prospecting templates that you can steal and use" ...

Thanks (1)
03rd Jul 2017 15:30

It is a shame that consistent abusers are diluting the quality of contacts on LinkedIn.
I have to say though - I disagree about your statement "never apologise". "Please forgive me" is a personable introduction in the UK, even if it is a bit formal. For many people it's a necessity that puts them at ease.

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