The Dangers of Prospecting on LinkedIn

Ari GalperAdvisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

LinkedIn is where most advisors attempt to “network” and generate leads, given the dearth of options available to find new prospects. Remember the “numbers game” sales approach from the 80s and 90s? It is still alive and well inside of LinkedIn. Many advisors are either hiring LinkedIn “experts” to set them up with a list of what appear to be ideal prospects, or they do it themselves. Then off they go to ping as many people as they can (remember the cold calling days), hoping for a warm reception. The difference between cold calling and LinkedIn is that, in LinkedIn, you don’t feel the emotional punch of being personally rejected. Why? Because there is no conversation to initiate the sales process. It feels painless when your invite is not accepted or when your message is not replied to. It's as if you’re playing a video game. You’re just playing in an artificial simulation, never interacting toe-to-toe with human beings. It's a simulated illusion of hoping that playing the numbers game will create enough qualified human beings to agree to a one-on-one meeting with you. Tons of activity, lots of invites and messages sent, and a very low rate of effectiveness. Is that your experience? Maybe you’re on the other side of the equation, seeing more and more people you don’t recognize trying to connect with you, along with an increasing number of unsolicited messages arriving in your LinkedIn inbox. Most likely, you’re experiencing that more and more. Both sides of the equation create a zero-sum game, where there is no net gain for anyone. That’s what happens when a platform reaches the commoditization stage. By prospecting on LinkedIn, you only commoditize yourself and your positioning. Platforms like LinkedIn have normalized agenda-driven behaviour to such an extent that people have no self-awareness and are out of touch with how they’re being perceived in their approach to selling.

It used to be relatively easy to affordably generate a consistent flow of prospects with these types of online platforms.