Dating is a a lot like building a business relationship. When you don’t know a person well, you don’t jump straight into trying to seal the deal. Remember the guy or girl that gives way too much information to move things ‘forward’ quickly. Whoa! Slow your roll! Or, imagine someone proposing to you after a few dates.
The same is true of businesses that ‘act’ like they know me with one touch – a passive, distant, cold email touch trying to get in my pants and reach for my…err….wallet.
What Not to Do to Generate Leads Online: The Worst Business Pick-Up Lines
This is where I have a love-hate relationship with LinkedIn. Of course, this happens in emails and notifications outside of LinkedIn, too, to be fair. For the record, most of the LinkedIn emails I get are of this bad ‘pick-up line’ variety.
I love LinkedIn; what I don’t love is all the emails I get from people I don’t know trying to sell me. I know many people feel the exact same way.They know nothing about me, they don’t know my business (and clearly don’t care), and I want to email back asking, “Do these unsolicited notifications that are all about you and your services ever work?” Or, maybe I need a funny form letter that goes out to all of these folks…(note to self: get to work on that, stat!).
Hey Baby! Is that Big Data in Your Pants or Are You Happy to See Me?
So here are some of the worst business ‘pick-up’ lines I’ve seen through LinkedIn notifications from people/businesses that I’ve never met or barely know:
“Here’s all about my services” or “We provide…..”..(Kathy’s reaction: Wow. An example of ‘Beaches marketing’ from the movie Beaches (with Barbara Hershey and Better Midler) where Midler’s character, after droning on about herself, turns to her friend and says:”That’s enough about me. What do you think of me?”).
These approaches rarely work. Just like with a bad date, it’s a turnoff.
“Just touching base”…(Kathy’s reaction: My…um…bases are personal and you don’t know me. Seriously..this adds no value for me or any sentient being on the receiving end.) What base are you touching? You don’t know my needs and you haven’t asked. Hey, the only good base-touching is baseball.
“I discovered your profile”…(Kathy’s reaction: Hmmm… was it lost?! You just discovered it and thought you’d blast me with your list of services??! I can’t hit delete fast enough.)
“I would love to explain more about how we work….” (Kathy’s interpretation of this marketer’s intent: “I don’t care about you; I’m just looking to talk about me.”)
“I’ve included a link to my portfolio…” (Kathy’s interpretation: look what I can do!!!)
“I love working with top-level executives such as yourself”…(my interpretation: If you’re going to ass-kiss, be original please. Maybe if you made me laugh like…’I love working with swell execs, just like your fancy-ness,’ I’d likely respond. Humor will grab my attention. And, by the way, does anyone have a profile that says ‘low-level exec,’ so why use top-level as a distinction?).
“Thank you for accepting my invitation to connect. I am Founder at Company X: We offer new hands-on one-day marketing trainings in San Francisco. I see you’re currently working at (my company name) and I thought you or someone in your marketing team could benefit from our upcoming workshop.” (my reaction: I literally just accepted your invite (big mistake) and now you are trying to get in my marketing pants!).
(My interpretation: are you interested in buying my crap or what?! I’ll keep bugging you with a form letter; I just need a few people to respond.”
“I invite you to join (LinkedIn group X)”….(My reaction: why?)
“Can I pick your brain?!” (My interpretation: I want it for free. No way I am gonna pay you. Like ever.) I wrote a LinkedIn post on this topic!
“We’d love to invite you to speak at our event” (note: that has nothing to do with my business). (My reaction: It would take you two minutes to check my profile first to see if it even makes sense.)
“I’d love to be considered as a guest blogger for your blog”…Here are my (note: 50 canned topics – most of which have nothing to do with anything I actually cover).” (My reaction: Doing research before you pitch is not your thing, is it?!)
“Here is the info you requested…” (My reaction: I’d know if I requested it. I’m crazy-busy, but senility has not yet set in. At least not pervasively. Or has it?!)
“We met a X event…” (My reaction: Nope; I was not there. So unless you met my evil twin / doppleganger…this is a no-go. Now, if you DID meet her, I’m interested. I have some stuff to blame on her.)
“Sorry we haven’t been able to connect…”(My reaction: Who the f&*k are you?)
Stop the Bad Pick-up Lines: Get Human or Go Home (Alone!)
Marketers, please get some better business game. These approaches alienate people; you know, actual human beings. An honest, customized, and human approach is what will set you apart. Yes, it takes time, and it’s more work. In a world of automation and noise, this stuff stinks and won’t work. And, isn’t the point to build a relationship that works for both parties?
Be human or go home alone. Being human is about taking time to know something about the person or business you are contacting. You are starting a conversation. The first touches shouldn’t be about selling if you’re doing it right.
What are the worst business ‘pick-up’ lines you’ve received? Please share in the comments!