5 LinkedIn Sales Lead Generation Practices to Avoid at All Costs

Discover five of the worst LinkedIn sales lead generation practices that can kill deals and alienate prospects.

March 10, 2016


As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn has become an excellent platform for salespeople who aim to connect with and engage potential customers. While there’s plenty of great advice available, unfortunately some sales reps are still succumbing to the deadliest of prospecting sins.

In their recent eBook, LinkedIn: The Sandler Way, Sandler Training, a leader in sales, management, and leadership training, calls out five of the worst LinkedIn sales lead generation practices.

Below are the sales prospecting “don’ts” you should avoid at all costs:

Pretending to Know Someone You Don’t

If you’re using a mutual connection to encourage a new prospect to meet with you, make sure that connection is someone who is happy to be associated with you. If not, sooner or later this tactic will blow up in your face, says Sandler.

Failing to Proofread Your Profile

Proper spelling and grammar are an absolute must. Sandler encourages everyone on the sales team to read each other’s profiles to not only catch errors, but also spread best practices.

Not Maintaining a Professional Standard of Behavior and Visibility

Anything you post on social media should have a professional context to it. Sandler points out that if you’re posting something that you wouldn’t want your board of directors, CEO, or sales manager to see, you shouldn’t be posting it at all.

Pretending Everything You Do is Prospecting

Prospecting on LinkedIn involves making actual connections and having actual discussions. The best practice here is to send the person an email, leave a voice message, and then send a LinkedIn response that references the other two. Sandler promotes three different points of contact because it increases the likelihood that prospects will get back to you if there is interest.

Sending Long Sales Pitches via InMail

Because your prospects could be reading your message on their phone, and because concise messaging is a good rule in general, Sandler recommends that InMail messages be kept to no more than one or two short paragraphs. Your InMail message should feature a brief, customized request to connect on LinkedIn, along with a very short explanation as to why it makes sense to connect. Your explanation should surface common ground or convey how you can provide value that has nothing to do with your recipient having to buy anything. If your request is accepted, don’t instantly fire off a meeting request. Providing value and building the relationship should come first.

LinkedIn can be a fabulous sales lead generation tool when used correctly. If you’re guilty of any of the bad practices above, it’s time to let them go.

For more sales lead generation dos and don’ts, read LinkedIn The Sandler Way: 25 Secrets That Show Salespeople How to Leverage the World’s Largest Professional Network.