The LinkedIn “Invitation”

I’m receiving a surprisingly–and disappointing—large number of “unusual” invitations to connect in LinkedIn. Here’s one I’ve had sitting in my Invitation “Inbox” for a couple of days. I’m confused, I don’t know how to handle it, so I’m seeking your help:

“ [So and So] has indicated you are a fellow group member of [This Group]· If you are a VP of Sales who understands [this aspect of sales tools] and desires to stay-in-the-game, but stay off the road, this email is for you. Become a reseller of our [sales tools] software and process. Investigate us at [Company Website] and click on reseller program. Call [So and So and his phone number].”

So, I’m confused and need your help.

I don’t know this individual, but he’s connected to a large number of friends that I respect. Surely, they would only accept “trusted” people.

I wonder about the message. Why is he asking me if I’m a VP of Sales? My profile clearly indicates I’m a consultant and CEO of a few companies. I have been a VP of Sales, I count hundreds of VP’s of Sales as friends and colleagues, a lot are my clients. But it should be pretty clear that I’m not a VP of Sales, so why is he asking me? Perhaps he misunderstood my profile–I’m sure he read it. Maybe it isn’t really clear that VP of Sales isn’t a current job title, maybe I should re-write my profile to clarify it.

I certainly understand the sales tools he is talking about. In fact, my profile indicates that I have a very high degree of expertise (I say somewhat immodestly). I think I’m already in the game–but I’m always wanting to keep my competitive edge–so that’s a little provocative.

As a sales strategist, I’m confused by his offer. It seems the majority of VP’s of Sales, particularly of this group, would be interested in buying-not reselling his stuff. So why is he asking them to resell. In fact, consultants might be more interested in reselling his solutions. If he had addressed me as a consultant wanting to “stay in the game,” it would at least be more accurate and targeted at a better set of potential resellers. But I consider it, clearly he’s demonstrating his process and methodology in his approach in this invitation. I wonder, “Is this approach one I would recommend as a leading practice to my clients……Hmmmmmmm”

I also consider, “This is odd, I thought the purpose of an invitation is to extend or build a relationship. I didn’t think it was for a full court sales pitch to someone who is apparently the wrong audience. Am I missing something?”

And the invitation message ends there. He doesn’t ask me to connect with him, he’s just asking me to buy from him. The guy’s profile is interesting. If he had just said, “I’m a cool person, you look semi-cool, would love to connect” I probably would. But he isn’t asking me to accept his invitation, he’s just asking me to buy.

So clearly, if I “Accept” his invitation, I’d be doing the wrong thing and I certainly don’t want to piss him off. So I’m in a real quandry how to handle this. I could ignore him. I could “report as Spam,” I could let it just collect digital dust in my Inbox.

What should I do? I’d love your advice.

It’s becoming a real problem. I get 2-3 of these types of invitations a week. Currently they are accumulating in my Inbox. What would you do?

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