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By David Harder on February, 2, 2018

Why Pitches Don’t Work on LinkedIn

“You cannot underestimate people’s ability to spot a soulless, bureaucratic tactic a million miles away. It’s a big reason why so many companies that have dipped a toe in social media waters have failed miserably.”

– Gary Vaynerchuk


Social media is today’s single greatest marketing resource for building a business or a career. But, for many, that kind of impact remains in the realm of potential rather than day-to-day results. We accept connections only to never hear from them again. Another starts showering us with lengthy sales pitches.


The purpose of social media was to build relationships, not make sales pitches. That purpose hasn’t changed. When we get “pitched,” most of us back away instantly. Making pitches on the Net is simply an extension of that old sales method of making a pitch and overcoming objections. That practice is stressful for both the salesperson and the recipient. For me, pitch selling became obsolete when I attended the Xerox Sales Intitute training years ago. The purpose of the institute was to define the psychology of selling and reinvent sales practices to fit the way our brains actually work. The behavioral scientists uncovered the fact that humans are hard-wired to be able to think about something other than themselves for a maximum of 15 seconds. So no matter what we are selling, the buyer is interested in only one outcome and that’s fulfilled expectations. On LinkedIn, I believe the window is more like five seconds, because time is are most valuable asset.


Effective and modern sales techniques are not about us. The best are about paying full and respectful attention to the indivdiual in front of us. During that rather important exchange, we ask the kind of open-ended questions that uncover their truth. There is no pressure.


For years, I have offered fifteen-minutes to most of my new connections. Some are quite distrustful that I’m going to jump on them with a pitch. But, the fifteen-minute call is an opportunity to learn more about who I have connected with. Out of those conversations, I have found many new friends, clients, vendors, mentors, employees, and partners. For example, I connected with USC, which became a client. Their chief talent officer is now a business partner. Jess Todtfeld, the gentleman who delivers our presentation skills training programs, came from a 15-minute call. A month after that interchange, I was giving an Inspired Work Program to a number of their clients. The room looked out on the Empire State Building. 15-minutes is no big deal. But, it can turn into a remarkable investment. Jess and I just celebrated ten years of working together.


In 2008, the recession wreaked havoc on our business. As we looked for ways to generate new business, we looked at social networking and realized it offered the ability to connect with people at the speed of light. But, the outmoded practices that came into the platform simply don’t work. The basic practices were impersonal, somewhat like junk mail in feel. We couldn’t find adequate training on the market that would bring high-touch business development to the experience. So, we designed, from the ground up a new way of connecting with people on the Net. Today, social networking is our biggest source of new business, employees, intelligence, and friends.


To summarize, here are a few suggestions:

  • Don’t make pitches on LinkedIn. Get to know people.
  • Take the time to understand who you have connected with.
  • Learn everything you can about their needs and expectatons.
  • Build a community that supports your mission, vision, and purpose.
  • Develop a laser-like online brand and be consistent in living up to that brand.


Social Media not only helps us build relationships with wonderful new people, it allows us to build relationships and continuity on the Net. Today, when someone comes to one of our programs, many of feel they already know me. From that point forward, my primary responsibility is to know them.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc.


(C) Copyright, 2018, Inspired Work, Inc. – (All Rights Reserved)


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