This guy was totally terrible…
Okay, so I got a new connection on LinkedIn.
The guy writes me a message there…
I don’t respond. I am judicious with where I spend my time. Although I do recognize the value of open-ended and non-goal-directed conversations, I don’t accept them haphazardly.
I looked at his profile, and nothing about it screamed that I should give this random person messaging me through LinkedIn my valuable time, either for friendship or business purposes. Especially when he doesn’t give me any more context for communication than “Hi Roy.”
Call me a jerk — I don’t care.
There was also one more thing that concerned me. The guy had almost no history on LinkedIn, but had just enough about making money easily with bitcoin and crypto that my alarm bells were going off.
The really vague intro felt like bad bait.
He was like a stereotype of the second-worst way men behave on dating apps and sites…
You can guess the worst. The second worst is the “hey,” “hi,” or some variation — usually followed by a transition to the worst.
Bringing ZERO to the table up front, totally disregarding the human being on the other end of the conversation.
Sure, he’s being “nice.”
(Although if you look up the etymology of the word nice, it was once used to basically call someone stupid, so there’s that…)
But I’m busy. My time is valuable. And I get really peeved when it’s wasted. Especially when I feel like it’s a thinly-veiled sales pitch for something I have not expressed interest in.
And so if all the effort you’re going to give me is a “Hi Roy” I’m really not responding.
And I didn’t.
Then the next day, he messages me again…
I ignore him.
He waits two days.
“Hello dear friend.”
I am not a friend and certainly not a dear one. And because I’m wary and he’s growing annoying, I actually remove the LinkedIn connection, hoping he’ll get the message.
But I didn’t account for 1) how thick this guy’s skull was, and 2) the fact that I have LinkedIn setup in such a way where he can keep messaging unless I block him.
So a few days later, he writes…
Now that’s just weird…
And at this point I’m fed up enough that I feel the need to confront what’s turning into kinda creepy behavior. (And to all my female readers, I know this is just the tip of the iceberg.)
So I call him out in a direct but relatively kind way — relative to what I could’ve said if I’d not filtered.
“You know this is a terrible way to introduce yourself? I don’t know what you want but you are automatically suspicious.”
Remember this is only after he sends me 4 messages with ZERO content or context, including the 4th coming after I’d removed our LinkedIn connection.
So he turns around and writes…
What do you mean?
I take this as an insult
I may say this is the very first time you’re replying to my chat and you are talking about suspicious
Seriously I don’t take such
Have you replied my chat and I never introduce my self? WTF!!!
If we were actually on a dating app and I were a woman, this likely would’ve been full of a ton of terrible name-calling and crude comments.
Because I told him he was behaving a way that feels automatically suspicious.
Maybe I could’ve been a bit more diplomatic, but…
I call him out, very directly — showing him how terribly predictable he is…
I ask, “So… Are you selling a crypto moneymaking opportunity?”
Here’s his reply, with identifiable details removed…
Haha sounds funny
Ok let me start by introducing my self
Am [NAME] from [European Country]
A graduate of [Midwestern US University] with business management skills
Have raised in US and still living in the country
Actually am new to this platform. I joined earlier this month. Am an investor and I also manage scout for people who are interested to earn money through bitcoin investment
I don’t know if you’re interested. Maybe we continue the conversation my dear friend?
So… Freaking… Predictable.
I read him like a book. And not only that, when I called him out on it, he just fell back into it. Even though I’d made it ultra-clear I was totally turned off.
(Side note: I discovered last night that Daveed Diggs, the rapper/actor who played Lafayette and Jefferson in Hamilton, just put out a new album titled Seven Nights in Chicago. The first track, “At This Point,” has this hook… “At this point in my life, don’t do no good to tell me lies, ‘Cause I’m gonna see right through ya, I’m gonna see right through ya.” Amen. Here’s the song on YouTube, NSFW language warning.)
I replied, “I’m not interested in Bitcoin speculation, and I will never invest based on cold pitches. Thanks though.”
At this point I was (and am) done. But of course, he’s trying to keep the conversation going. He’s asked me another question which will never get an answer, and if he continues to message me I’ll go ahead and block him.
In the end, and from the little bit I’ve seen, I don’t believe this guy is a terrible person. I do believe he is terrible at sales and prospecting and human-to-human communication.
The bad news is, so are most people — perhaps even you.
The question is…
How can you be less of an annoying pest, and get better at opening and closing sales?
First things first, you’ve gotta be self-aware.
If you’ve read this far and you’re pointing at this guy and laughing, you need to be really honest about this. Should you be pointing at yourself and laughing, too? Are you making these same mistakes? Are you coming across like a guy who is stereotypically bad at dating apps, and really doesn’t get it? Are you pushing awkward, one-sided conversations on people who really just want you to go away? Is this story a mirror to how you sell?
One of the things we talk about in the conversation plus Joseph goes deeper into is consultative selling. That is selling through conversation, rather than pitching. Aside from really simply one-shot sales, all good selling is conversation-based and consultative.
Your first and ultimate goal in consultative selling is to find a fit. You’re determining where the prospect is at. Whether they have the problem, challenge, need, or desire your product or service can solve or meet for them. What their experience of that problem is. How they’ve attempted to solve it in the past. What’s important about the solution they’ll choose. What an ideal solution looks like. If they understand your solution. If they feel like your solution would be a fit.
Most often — especially if you’re selling cold — this involves a value-first selling approach.
Meaning, for example, that you’d never lead with a completely empty intro like, “Hi Roy.” And instead, you’d offer something like, “Hey Roy, I saw [relevant detail] on your profile and it looks like you follow [X market]. I’d love to send you some info about how [people in X market] are [experiencing benefit] but I want to make you want the link first. No obligation or anything — it’s just info I found valuable and I thought maybe you’d like to see it, too.”
WARNING: Don’t just copy me. I know you will. And your results will not be good, because you didn’t think about it. But if you’re going to use this formula, read it then write from scratch.
So here’s an example, for the guy above.
“Hey Roy, I saw that you do marketing and business-related stuff on your profile, and it looks like you follow some business/financial publishers as well. I’d love to send you some info about how entrepreneurs are making money using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but I want to make sure you want the link first. No obligation or anything — it’s just info I found valuable and I thought maybe you’d like to see it, too.”
If I decline, fine. Maybe there’s a rebuttal in there, encouraging me to just look at the free information. (Perhaps you could even tactfully slip in the link under the guise of, “Well if you change your mind, you can always message me or check it out here: [LINK]”
Or if I’m interested, you’ve started the conversation on a really, really good note. Especially if the information you have to offer is legitimately valuable in sharing success stories and just enough details about your product or service to whet my appetite.
Do something to clearly get across the value you offer, quickly enough that you don’t waste my time that way. (I also get practical sales letters in LinkedIn messages that are just as unlikely to get a response.)
But then leave it up to me to raise my hand and express interest, before pushing for the conversation.
And make sure you include enough personal detail in the conversation (reflecting, for example, that you looked at my profile) that you make me feel like a human being you’re trying to speak with, not a prospect you’re trying to speak at.
If nothing else, do this when communicating online…
Imagine you’re in a room with the person.
Imagine that you’re saying whatever you’re writing to them, in person.
Think about all the details.
How would you feel if you were behaving like this in person?
If someone is busy (perhaps engaged in another conversation) and you’ve interrupted them 4 times in a row with various forms of “hi” and you’ve even called them “dear” even though they’re a total stranger… Maybe you should’ve backed off after 2 or 3.
(In person, I probably would’ve politely responded with my own “hi,” but quickly grown impatient if his main purpose was clearly to pitch me rather than forming a real connection.)
Although you’d have to have very little social sense to do this in person, it happens quite frequently online.
If you really want someone’s attention, think before speaking about how you can add value to their life. And lead with that. Respect their time and keep it brief. Then let them engage if they want more.
This is good communicating. In person. Online. In selling. In life.
It’s one of the most valuable skills you can develop.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,