Personally, I still value business tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook advertising and even Twitter to a certain extent, however I am on the verge of disconnecting and looking elsewhere for that networking and community experience. This morning I received a connection request from a young "Business Account Manager" in the telecommunications industry, a fairly normal part of logging into LinkedIn these days. What happened after accepting this networking request is what really got to me and quite frankly is happening more and more each day, please indulge me while I share my experience, which I am sure you have all gone through as well.
Moments, not hours or days, but literally minutes after accepting this request a new email notification pings on my phone. Unsurprising, it's a generic email from this young aspiring sales professional. She starts with a polite 'thank you' for accepting her request, a good start to any business communication these days, and then she introduces herself, also a very good start. After her 3-line introduction she then proceeds to pretend to be impressed with my professional story "I can see you are involved with xxxxx and xxxxxx!!. I am actually hoping you will be able to direct me to the best person to liaise with and grab a coffee with regarding the companies telecommunications". Don't get me wrong, at this point I am absolutely over the moon and chuffed with myself that my 1-man consulting business AND my 1-man online start up has drawn the interest of this professional "Business Account Manager" who put two!!'s after the fact that I am involved with these very businesses. Hold on, it doesn't end there. The email finishes with "Also, I was wondering who looks after your personal telecommunication?". So, just let me get my head around this for one moment... you have literally just trolled through LinkedIn and I have stupidly trusted the great tool that it is and accepted your request. Then you have lazily tried to get a connection with a decision maker of which if you had done any research would've known from my title as "Founder & CEO" that I was probably the best person to begin your communications with and then you try and get into my personal life by asking me who looks after my personal communications... ? Some nerve you have. BUT WAIT... unfortunately, as the words echo like a badly produced TV infomercial, THERE'S MORE. How on earth can there possibly be more??
I then close this email to gather what had just happened and another notification pings on my device. "xxxxxx, Business Account Manager has endorsed you for 5 skills" 5 F***ing skills, are you serious? Business account extraordinaire by day, psychic fortune-teller by night. I know I am good at what I do but I never thought in a million years that my skills would radiate out of those I have imparted my knowledge on and then gone on to effect those I have never met... Of John Maxwell's five levels of leadership, this must be what they talk about as being a LEVEL 5 - PINNACLE leader. Comfortably and confidently, I can say I have truly made it and I sit in the company of people like Richard Branson, the Dalai Lama and the great man, Nelson Mandela (RIP) just to name a few.
So my friends, colleagues, business partners and random professionals (who still believe in the power of social networking) I implore you to stand with me and do what we can to improve the tools that we are so blessed to have in this day in age. With the unemployment rate where it is, there is no room for the lazy sales person when there are hardworking people out there who are prepared to put in the hard yards. If you cannot do the basics right then you will not succeed. If you cannot put at least 10 minutes into researching your prospective client, you will not succeed. And finally, don't insult your new connections by endorsing a skill you have zero knowledge about let alone any knowledge of my actual ability to execute said skill. The last thing I want is someone who doesn't know about "sales" endorsing me for "sales". Finally, I leave you with the 5 mistakes that I believe people make far too often these days known as "5 strengths of the Lazy Salesperson" and thank you for your time.
5 STRENGTHS OF THE LAZY SALESPERSON.
1. A pipeline built off Google searches and LinkedIn connections.
2. Coffee is everyone's friend, surely you can't say no to that.
3. Research is for Researchers and Selling is for Salespeople
4. My strength is efficiency, therefore I will not waste time in building a relationship
5. I will create Win-Win Accounts where I win twice.