One of the biggest mistakes that I believe salespeople make when prospecting on LinkedIn is that they do what I call the “Instant Pitch.” This is where the salesperson sends an invite to connect and immediately after the contact accepts, the salesperson sends a product selling email. Here is an example of what this may look like:

Step 1—Invitation to Become Connections
The salesperson sends an invite to the prospect (me, for example) asking to become LinkedIn connections.

Hello Michael,
It looks like we have a lot of mutual connections. I would love to add you to my network!

Step 2—Invitation Accepted
I accept the invitation to become LinkedIn connections.

Step 3—Salesperson Sends Product Selling Message
Immediately after I accept the invitation, the salesperson then sends a product selling email like this:

Hello Michael,
Thank you for accepting my invitation to connect! We provide ac- counting services. Are you looking to change tax and accounting firms? Are you available for a 15 to 20 minute call where I can tell you about the services we provide?

I call this approach the “Instant Pitch” because the salesperson is instantly pitch- ing what he or she sells right after becoming connections. To avoid doing an Instant Pitch, create a little buffer after the connection accept with either some time or messages. You can also decrease the Instant Pitch by using a networking message that is more around starting a networking partner type of conversation similar to what we discussed in the last chapter. If you focus on using more of a consultative selling message instead of a product selling sales message, this will also decrease how much you look like you are trying to sell something with an Instant Pitch.