There are some sales tactics that I really love. They work over and over again and leverage behaviorial science to quickly get past defense mechanisms to a quality fit/no fit conversation.

There are a few that are horrible though, and that people keep using and then adapting to the modern world. They need to go away and never come back, partially because they are rooted in dishonesty, but really mostly because they do not work.

One of these is the ole bait and switch. It is a horrible horrible tactic of winning your prospect’s attention by lying your way into a conversation, and then, BOOM, revealing your true intentions and going for a sale. Horrible.

Linkedin has given a new avenue to this old tactic. On a pretty frequent basis, someone asks to connect with me, dropping mutual connections and some vague message with a “expanding my network” theme, only to send me a prospecting message (usually a bad one) mere hours or a day after I accept the link up request. If you do this, please stop it. Just stop it!

Doing this starts the relationship with a prospect on a basis of deceit. That’s bad enough, but it also fails at the very basic premise of prospecting, making the reason for the meeting come from the prospect’s agenda, not yours. If you’re asking for a meeting, you’re not suggesting one.

By all means connect. By all means ask me to Link in with you. But if you’re following up with a message, at least make it something that brings value to me. Establish that network connection before you try to leverage it for prospecting. Anything else is fake, phony, a lie.