The LinkedIn workaround for salespeople: Use this stuff with caution, please

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You can access the "send message" function allowing you to communicate directly to prospects without requesting introductions or paying fees to LinkedIn for the access, by joining appropriate groups. But can this method be abused? I fear so.
You can access the "send message" function allowing you to communicate directly to prospects without requesting introductions or paying fees to LinkedIn for the access, by joining appropriate groups. But can this method be abused? I fear so.
You can access the “send message” function allowing you to communicate directly to prospects without requesting introductions or paying fees to LinkedIn for the access, by joining appropriate groups. But can this method be abused? I fear so.

Every now and then we hear about workarounds to get around the rules and systems designed to restrict access or ensure profitability for the gate-keepers. These techniques can work for a while, until the systems managers change the rules or, sadly, until they are abused to the point that they lose their effectiveness.

I have these perspectives about the LinkedIn group messaging trick, designed to give the sort of direct access to sales reps a huge percentage of the LinkedIn database, without “inMails, a premium account or connection requests” — in other words, free, effective, cold calls.

The secret: Join relevant groups (such as, gulp, the Construction Marketing Ideas group) and once you are “in”, send personal messages to anyone you want in the group using the direct messaging function.

Of course Pat Henesler, writing in the LinkedIn Marketing Strategy blog, emphasizes that you should not send mass messages without personalization and an excessively “salesey” message:

1.) Personalize the script!

Just adding in the prospects first name can be enough. But next-level people will include a comment about the prospect’s company or city or brief personal bio that connects you to the prospect on a human level – not just sales, sales, sales!

But often the prospects name can be enough to prove that you put a bit more time and thought into this message and it wasn’t just a copy-and-paste campaign.

It sounds small, but we’ve learned from a ton of trail and error through LinkedIn, that this can make all the difference.

2.) Inject Your Personality and Lighten the Tone.

Listen: the real reason people use LinkedIn or any other social media platform is to stay connected and have some fun. They didn’t join just to be pitched to all day.

Nobody is going to want to network with someone who is all salesy from the start.

Write your message in a way that will convince people that they should want to get to know you on a personal level.

I fear that most people who will try this trick will forget the personalization, and even if they do it, they will apply it without sincerity. And so recipients will get another “pitch” message and sigh, or worse, receive a message that might appear to be genuine but, when the recipient investigates it further, discovers that it is another sales pitch, just disguised as something else.

At least for now, however, there’s a way for sales reps to crack the LinkedIn database, for free.

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