August 28, 2014 Jez

5 Cringeworthy B2B Prospecting Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs

Here are 5 cringeworthy mistakes we see B2B sales professionals regularly making on LinkedIn. These mistakes are guaranteed to get you ignored, or worse, blocked from ever having contact with your prospect again.  At the end of the article, we suggest an effective way of reaching prospects.

Cringeworthy B2B Sales Mistakes


Social Selling Mistake 1: Ask for a call or appointment on your first approach

Yuk! You need to ‘flirt’ before you ask someone out on a date!  Add value first, be an available resource and let the customer ask for the demo or first engagement. Be smart and needs-oriented when you start to engage and ‘dance’ with a prospect. Triangulate your first-close activity by getting on your prospect’s radar with a little bit of LinkedIn knowledge and then a retweet. Build that authentic, online relationship, by adding value and let THEM ask you for a demo … unless you are on your 2oth message … only then is it OK to ask!

Social Selling Mistake 2: Use LinkedIn to send your introductory message

While LinkedIn is an incredible resource for finding the right person, sending a message from within the platform is ineffective.  This is through no fault of LinkedIn: too many amateur sales people have jumped on the LinkedIn bandwagon by sending irrelevant messages.  As a result, recipients filter emails from LinkedIn, with the intention of looking at them at a convenient time.  Of course, they never get round to it, so your LinkedIn message will sit, unread, in a dedicated folder.

Instead, do your homework, find their email address and send a correctly worded email via your email client (details on how to do this are at the end of this post).

Social Selling Mistake 3: Present an incomplete or outdated LinkedIn profile

Nothing looks sadder than profiles that are unattended to and haven’t been updated in years. Remember the first thing that customers and prospects do when then meet you or take your call on the phone … they check out your social profile.  So, make a good first impression and don’t include a signficant other, your dog, your boat or a picture of a mysterious hand on your shoulder with an unconnected body.

Social Selling Mistake 4: Send a standard LinkedIn connection request

How can we do so well with engaging with someone to get to the point in the relationship to ask for a LinkedIn request … and just use the standard copy that LinkedIn provides?  (I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.)   Use this feature to personalise and strike a chord with your new found business contact. If you don’t have the time to personalise, you’re telling them how meaningless their connection is to you.  Not a good first impression at all.

Social Selling Mistake 5: Copy, paste and blast a sucky email

Most of the prospecting emails that land in my in-box start by talking about the seller’s company, product or service.

You—or your marketing department—might think this is the best way to start your email. However, your prospect doesn’t care about your company. The only thing they want to know is what problem you can help them solve or eliminate.

You don’t need to include your company’s name in your email. If you create a compelling message that demonstrates you have insight to a problem they are encountering and you can demonstrate that you might have a solution, you are more likely going to receive a reply.

Bonus Social Selling Mistake 6: No follow-up

Very few sales people follow up with their prospects after they have sent the initial email. But you can’t rely solely on that one email message to generate a new lead. Very few prospects will actually pick up the telephone to make an appointment or to discuss your solution.

It is critical that you make contact afterwards, preferably by telephone. Email can be an effective prospecting tool. However, you need to use it properly. Use the tools below to effectively manage and automate your follow-up.

How to Cold Email

So we’ve shown you what NOT to do on LinkedIn.  Here’s a strategy that works for a cold email approach:

  1. Find the correct person on LinkedIn using LI’s advanced Boolean search functionality
  2. If their email address isn’t available, guess by using the following formats: FirstName.LastName@Company (30%); FirstNameLastName@Company (29.6%); FirstInitialLastname@Company (12%)
  3. Use the template below and customise for the individual you’re trying to reach.

Email Subject: Appropriate person

I am writing in the hopes of talking to the appropriate person who handles [subject matter].  In that pursuit, I also wrote to [name1 – their manager], [name2 – their manager’s boss] and [name3 – the CEO].  If it makes sense to [talk/meet/have a call], let me know how your [calendar/schedule] looks.

Email Follow-up Tools

Use these cost-effective apps to manage and automate your cold email follow-up.

  • – FollowUp is a reminder service for your email / gmail / task management
  • – Yesware is an email tool for salespeople. Track emails, create templates, CRM sync, and more. Yesware helps you close more deals faster.
  • – ToutApp is the leading Sales Communications Platform offering salespeople email tracking, templates and real-time analytics to increase productivity.

Cold Emailing on Steroids

While the cold emailing template we’ve provided will work in many cases, when you need to reach the absolutely perfect prospect and you don’t want to blow the one chance you might have, we highly recommend the Magic Mail approach.  We’ll be covering the exact steps you need to take to send a Magic Mail in a series of webinars starting on Thursday 5 September for BVC consultants.  We call them Magic Mails because they work like magic, almost 90% of the time.  We’ll also help you eliminate any B2B prospecting mistakes you might be making. We’ll be teaching all of the principles, strategies and techniques to use LinkedIn collaboratively.  No-one else teaches this approach, and it simply works.  You can find details here