Trust, Deception, LinkedIn


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I guess it’s the new standard.  Great tools end up being subverted for deceptive—or in the very least tragically bad practices.  LinkedIn has increasingly been a channel for SPAM and other just bad marketing/sales approaches.  I’ve learned to deal with the unwanted pitches coming through InMail, invitations, and some group communications.  It’s an annoyance, but hitting delete is very fast and easy.

Every once in a while, I get something from someone that is even more innovative in it’s execution of the worst possible sales and marketing practices one could imagine.  It’s especially odd when it’s inflicted by a so-called “expert and best selling author on ‘winning sales and marketing strategies.’”

The whole chain of communications has been odd.

It started in mid November with one of those strange invitations.  You know the kind, “You and I have many common friends and interests, it would be great to connect and establish a relationship.”  But it went on about how great it would be to become a partner of their so I could sell their sales consulting products.

So it was one of those, “I want to connect….” with a not so subtle, “I want to sell you something..” messages.  Normally I reject these types of invitations outright.  But the guy had an interesting profile.  I lot of colleagues who I really trust were connected to him, so I thought, “I’ll accept.”

Time passes, today I get a response to my reply thanking him for the invitation.  This time it’s a full court press on “I’d like to talk to you about why you should be our partner and sell our stuff.”  Oddly, it’s not signed by Jeff (oops), it’ signed by Brian, his VP of Sales (oops — what’s happening to my fingers on the keyboard).

Now I start looking at the original email stream.  Turns out, I suppose, that Jeff really was never interested in connecting with me—at least he has never communicated with me.  Apparently, he has delegated his LinkedIn profile and LinkedIn SPAM techniques to Brian.  Brian is using Jeff’s profile and sending messages to me and lots of others, signing Brian’s name.

Hmmmmmmm………..  What’s up here?

Actually, Brian has a very interesting profile himself.  I would have been glad to connect with him directly, in fact, perhaps interested in learning more about their offerings.

But that’s not what they did.  Instead, they had some sort of convoluted logic, of using Jeff–who apparently cares so much about our relationship, and those of others, that he has completely delegated his profile and relationship management to Brian.

Hmmmmmmm………  Is this what networking is and establishing relationships is really about?  Maybe I should take LinkedIn’s messages about accepting relationships with people you know and trust a little more to heart.

Is this an example of the “new and innovative ways sellers must sell” that Jeff espouses.  Is deception, lack of caring about relationships, blind pitching about “buy my product,” the secret to success that Jeff, his books, and company espouses?

But again, sometimes it’s just me.  Too often, I don’t get it.  I had always thought cornerstones to selling were developing trusted relationships, caring about the value you create for the customer, integrity, and so on were important.

I guess I’m behind the times.  Suppose I ought to buy Jeff’s best selling book and get on board!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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