“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” ~ Mark Twain

I am an office manager. I have had a LinkedIn for years. And I use it for “networking”. I keep in contact with past co-workers, keep up with industry news and information, update my skills and basically use it as a live resume in combination with the networking function.

What I don’t use it for is business solicitation. I don’t use it to try and sell my business, to garner new clients. Because in my mind, business solicitation is different than networking. In business solicitation, you are attempting to solicit business from someone with the intentions of making money. In networking, you meet new people, talk shop, send out feelers for possible new employees and collaborations. Networking isn’t cold-calling or cold-emailing. At least, in my mind it isn’t.

Which is why I am still so irritated with an email I received via LinkedIn this past Monday morning at 5:30 am. Yes. He messaged me at 5:30am on Memorial Day…a day when no one is in the office because we are busy honoring those who fought for the many freedoms we enjoy as an American people. This gentleman sent me a message indicating he had sent an advertising request to our dedicated email for advertisers last week and had not received word back and he wanted “someone in the office to reply to the query”. Um…no.

Maybe I am being uptight about this. Maybe I am too staunch in my beliefs on how you conduct yourself professionally, but to me, sending an email at 5:30am on a holiday requesting a reply from someone who has NOTHING to do with what you are asking about is pretty unprofessional. And after doing a bit more digging, I became even more irritated. This man was not requesting to advertise with our company. He was trying to sell us email services.

No…just…just no.

Prior to my research, I refrained from responding to him in the way I wanted to, but after I found he was simply trying to sell my company services under the guise of requesting advertising, all bets were off. Don’t worry-I kept it professional.

“The email that you sent goes to our advertising company, which is not in house, of whom I do not work with, nor do I have access to those emails. And emailing me via LinkedIn at 5:30 in the morning on Memorial Day to request a response is not going to end with successful results. Should you need to contact anyone with (my company), or our advertisers, again, please refrain from contact via LinkedIn. Rather, pursue contact with emails to the appropriate parties.”

I never received a reply, so I am assuming he knows we are neither amused nor interested in his attempts to garner our business. What galls me the most, though, is his lack of honesty. Had he been honest about his intentions, had he simply said “Hey-I have this great email company. We can be bad-asses with your email. Use our service. Let’s set up a meeting.” I would have had so much more respect for him professionally. Granted, the answer still would be no, but at least there would have been an indication of integrity and professionalism in the exchange. As it is, I think he is no better than a crooked car salesman, using all the tricks and being less than honest simply to make a quick buck.

I guess my point in all of this is when soliciting new business, don’t lie. Be honest. Even if it means an automatic no, be honest. Because if I ever meet anyone who mentions this company, I will have zero issue in letting that person know how this “consultant” attempted to use dishonesty to get a foot in our door. Someone who is willing to flat out lie about their business intentions is not someone I would want to associate with professionally.

“To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.”  ~ Edward R. Murrow

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