Don’t try to sell to me on LinkedIn if you don’t know me

It’s happened to me again: someone on LinkedIn that I have never heard of has sent me a short impersonal email suggesting we do business together.

I get these kind of unwanted emails in my LinkedIn inbox almost every day. Most days I just ignore them, but today I replied back saying that I wouldn’t interact and do business with someone I had just accepted as a connection on LinkedIn and I also suggested that they should work on their online relationship building skills.

I then got a reply saying that my response was too direct and the person in question got so offended that he blocked me from his LinkedIn account.

Yes, it was a direct message but it is hard not to be direct when you have received a very direct sales message yourself from someone you do not know and have no previous relationship or history with.

If I agree to connect with a new person online I don’t then want them to try and sell me something the following day. If a person I don’t know sends me a friendly message that’s absolutely fine. I would really appreciate that. If you send me a direct sales message (which can also be called anti-social spam) and I send a direct reply please don’t tell me that I’m too direct – I am probably only saying what everyone else is thinking.

During my time as a digital marketer at a large publisher I attended hours of legal training by our in-house lawyers and digital marketing law experts. Sending a direct sales message to someone you have no previous relationship with is illegal. You may have heard that you can’t add someone’s email address to your email newsletter system without their consent.

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For me the unwelcome sales messages I get on LinkedIn all feel and smell the same. I am not a lawyer but I am sure a lawyer with a background in communications could give a full explanation of this situation. If you are such a lawyer please share your thoughts.

If you want to sell to people on LinkedIn why not share a nice, friendly message in your updates on a regular basis and ask for people to contact you if they are interested? Another way to connect via email on LinkedIn is to suggest collaborating or by sharing that you have something in common with the person you are contacting.

Now, please don’t get me wrong, I love LinkedIn more and more, especially now that I’ve cleaned out my connections and removed all of the connections that had only a company name, no profile picture and no description. But this sales thing is really annoying me. We should use LinkedIn in a soft way, not for the hard sell.


Don't try to sell to me on LinkedIn