One common complaint voiced by LinkedIn members is receiving unsolicited sales pitches. Most offensive to them is receiving a pitch from a salesperson right after agreeing to connect with them. Some LinkedIn members feel it’s intrusive and violates the true nature of networking.
To sales people on LinkedIn, the complainers might be seen as lightweights. After all, LinkedIn was initially developed to create networking opportunities for businesses who were trying to…well, sell their products. They really don’t see a sales pitch as intrusive, and they don’t expect to be shamed for doing what they think is good business.
A salesperson shamed on LinkedIn
On a recent quiet Sunday, I came across an example of what I would call one of worst cases of shaming I’ve seen in years, if not ever. Without using names and being as neutral as possible, I’m going to use third-person point of view to briefly tell you the story.
A LinkedIn member received a sales pitch in a message right after accepting a salesperson’s invite. The recipient of the message took it upon themselves to announce to the world through a post, which described their abhorrence at receiving the sales pitch, provided the salesperson’s LinkedIn URL, as well as a screen shot of the interaction.
Seeing this post prompted me to write a post of my own (link at the end of this article) describing my reaction to this shaming and providing some solutions to deal with it. A large majority of the people who read the post responded with a similar reaction.
How can shaming be avoided?
The first step to avoid shaming on LinkedIn begins with the offender; salespeople need to understand their connections and only approach those who would appreciated a sales pitch. There are many LinkedIn members who engage in the sales arena and welcome unsolicited pitches.
For instance, one of my close LinkedIn connections, Kevin Willett, said he welcomes people reaching out to him to offer their services. Kevin is the founder of Friends of Kevin, which is a networking group for businesses. He believes LinkedIn is a vehicle to generate business.
On the other hand, someone like me doesn’t appreciate being approached by a salesperson trying to peddle their services or products, especially in an initial invite or the second correspondence we have. I don’t stand alone on this, as you will see from reading the reactions from people who responded to my post.
What should you do if you don’t appreciate being approached?
This gets to the heart of this article. So you’ve been approached by a salesperson and you’re angry. Is shaming that person the answer? There were many suggestions from the people who read and responded to my post. Here are some of them: