LinkedIn as a Pipeline Builder

I’ve been part of the LinkedIn network for many years. Like many, I joined to connect with my professional contacts and expand my network. Aside from a couple of questionable men who wanted to join my network because they liked the way I looked, most encounters have remained reasonably professional—until recently.

Suddenly, I’m attracting all sorts of people with only one thing in mind; sell services or products regardless of fit. I suspect these are people who believe the hype of those who promise to teach you to earn a six-figure-income. They believe it’s simply a numbers game, and the more people you pitch, the more likely it is you’ll make a sale.

Somehow, the person they paid a lot of money to skipped a very important step—get to know the person you’re marketing to.

Pitching Takes Research as Well as Volume

In my opinion, a reputable coach teaches their students to spend a little time delving into the person or company they want to pitch. LinkedIn makes this fairly easy as profiles are viewable even if you’re not connected. If you’re pitching to someone via LinkedIn, that should be, at the very least, the place you start your research.

I would also recommend navigating to your target’s website if they have one, and even Facebook pages and groups. It’s simple human nature that we like to know someone is actually interested in what we do, even if it is because they want to do business with us.

By now, you’re probably wondering what prompted this post in the first place. There were two pitches in particular which made me scratch my head.

Pitches That Won’t Get My Business

The first was from a young man whose English was not particularly good as it wasn’t his primary language. Now, maybe I’m overly particular, but I believe if you’re pitching writing services to a writer, the very least you can do is use proper grammar. When I explained this little quirk of mine, his response was to tell me he was “working on improving [his] English”. If I want to edit the work that goes up on my blog, website and Social Media pages, I’ll do it myself! (Oh wait! I do!).

The second was from another young man who wanted to help me write a book. When I pointed out that I’m a writer, he said he wanted to help me, e.g. collaborate. Frankly, I’ve gotten to know an awful lot of writers in the years since I quit my accounting job. If I wanted to collaborate, be it a novel, an e-book, or any other writing project, I’d approach someone I know rather than someone who probably can’t even tell me what I write about.

Know Your Target

I don’t claim to be an expert on pitching. Quite frankly, it is my personal albatross. But if someone wants to pitch to me and stand a chance at even getting my positive attention, they will take the time to get to know what I do and what I like to write about. I have well over 1,000 blog posts they can search by keyword or topic, not to mention an easily accessible list of projects I’ve written for others.

Whether I’m pitching to a potential client or starting to work with someone who might have found me via one of my offers, I can’t imagine taking the first step without getting to know a little bit about them and what topics are important. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for getting known and trusted, but you have to take advantage of the resources offered. You also have to be willing to dig beneath the surface a bit, or you’re just another unknown trying to hawk your wares on a street corner.

To quote Jo Dee Messina’s “My Give a Damn’s Busted”, “Give me something I can use!”

Maybe I’m too hard-nosed but if I’m taking the time to figure out how I can make my potential clients’ lives better, I expect the same from someone trying to convince me to be their client. Is that too much to ask? What I’m seeing instead is more of what feels like drive-by marketing. Or what used to be described as “let’s run this up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes it”.



Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.