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Don't Talk To Strangers

Enter, the "Cold Call" debate. When I began my telecom sales career in 1999, I was a cold calling machine. I would typically set aside two days a week to make 100 or more cold calls and in those two days I would set 6-8 new appointments. I did that week after week and was successful for several years. Around 2006 that prospecting model became less and less effective.


In 2006, caller ID & voicemail became standard on business telephones. Think about it, how often do you answer your phone now if you don't recognize the number? If that person leaves you a voicemail message, how often do you listen until the end of the message? The answer to both questions is "hardly ever" (I estimate 90%) Now we have a new question. If they wont pick up the phone and talk to a stranger and they won't listen to a message from a stranger, how do you get through? The answer is simple, you borrow trust from a friend.


Borrowed trust is my favorite component of LinkedIn. I will give you an example: a friend of mine named Glenn has a little over 3,100 connections and I have a little over 3,700 connections (at the time of this writing). Glenn and I have about 200 mutual connections. What that means is Glenn can introduce me to almost 3,000 people and I can introduce him to almost 3,500 people. Think about that?! Glenn is one contact I have out of thousands and I can introduce to over 3,000 people! Let's look at a real example of how I used borrowed trust to get a meeting.


In 2013 There was an article in the Baltimore Business Journal ( a quick foot note, if you do not subscribe to the local business journal in your area, you are missing out on tons of opportunities) about a hospital near where I live in Westminster Maryland. The article featured the CEO. I looked up his profile on LinkedIn and it turns out I had five very strong mutual connections. I reached out to them and asked for an introduction. My friend Hugh got back to me and said he would be happy to help. He sent an email to me and the CEO that day. The next day, when I called to follow through and when I was asked "what is the nature of your call" I was able to say "My friend Hugh introduced us via email yesterday and I am following through on that introduction." My call goes through, the CEO takes my call and a week later I have a meeting with the right person.


If you don't have a mutual connection (or not one strong enough to make the introduction, another blog for another time) there are three other methods to make contact with the person via LinkedIn. Technically, all three are variations of the same method. You use LinkedIn to send the person a message.


First: LinkedIn does not want you to connect to people you don't know personally. If you make too many attempts, LinkedIn will restrict your account.

Second: When you send a direct message to someone, you don't say "hey lets meet!" The message needs to lead with valuable ideas for that person and then you ask if they are open to connecting or discussing further on the phone for a few minutes.


Some people have an open profile and can accept messages from anyone. When you look at their profile the blue button below their name will say "message." If they do not have an open profile, you can send them a direct message if you share a LinkedIn group with them. You can join up to 100 groups, do it. You can direct message up to 15 different people every month through groups. If those are not options you can send inmail, which is a feature of paid accounts. Depending on which paid account you have, will determine how many inmail messages you have each month.


90% of people you cold call will NOT answer the phone if they don't recognize the number. That same 90% has a profile on LinkedIn and should allow you to use one of these methods to contact them. So let me ask you, which one do you think is a productive use of your time?

Let's keep the conversation going! Please: like share and comment. You can also contact me directly. I love talking: sales, LinkedIn, public speaking, Emotional Intelligence and networking . I can be reached at 443-808-1670 or thank you.

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