I’m pretty liberal in my acceptance of LinkedIn requests – I like people, I like to network and I’m growing that network and my business with LinkedIn as a big part of that strategy. But I typically don’t accept requests from people I don’t know who are financial advisors, insurance sales people or are selling any kind of dietary supplement.
The other day I got a request from a gentleman who just had a friendly smile (points for that) and seemed cool enough – and even though he sells insurance, I thought, “Eh, what the heck – at least he’s local.” So often these requests come from people outside our market.
Unfortunately, this person did not prove to the exception to the rule. This is the first correspondence (and my reply) that I received from him (click for larger image):
(see, I’m nice enough to redact the personal information)
In my opinion, this is the exact opposite of the tactic one should take. I really believe in nurturing the sales cycle. Contact me with info I can use first, or at least establish how you know me. I feel like the approach taken above is a way to simply check off a business development list, and not an actual strategy. And to be transparent, I’ve probably made the same mistake in my dealings before, by not making sure I had nurtured the cycle before I made the ask. Additionally, I think this is true in so many other ways – when asking for a contribution of money, or even volunteer time, or pro bono services, or sometimes even advice. Don’t skips steps in the cycle.
Below is a graphic that sums up what an appropriate and effective sales cycle might look like. It’s specifically relating to content marketing, but is applicable to every day business or fund development (click for larger image):
It definitely takes more work, but it is also a more effective and authentic way to grow your business.