What you are about to read may shock or surprise you… it did both to me.

A couple of weeks ago I received a connection request on LinkedIn from someone, that’s not unusual, I get them quite often. This one stood out. For two reasons.

The first was it was beautifully written and made me want to accept it immediately, and I nearly did. This is what they put;

Hi John, I hope you don’t mind me sending you a connection request. 

I fully understand if you don’t connect with people you have never met.

I look forward to connecting and helping you further.

Regards,  K

I loved that they anticipated my potential reluctance to connect and dealt with it. But “help me further”? I’d not knowingly received any help from them.

The second reason was the profile photo, it was beautifully taken and lit, my potential new connection also had beautiful teeth and perfect skin.Rather than just accept it which I often do these days (I used to be much more protective about my LinkedIn connections) my gut feeling was that something just wasn’t right.

So I investigated…

I wanted to find out more about this person so I ‘googled’ their profile photo.

It turned out that there was a reason their teeth looked so amazing; they were featured on the website of a dentists in New York.

Their skin looked amazing because they have had CIT Skin Therapy at a Holistic Doctors in California.

Either that or … drum roll … they had used a STOCK PHOTO for their profile photo.

So I messaged ‘K’ back to build on the conversation prior to accepting the connection, but heard nothing back.


The thing is that ‘K’ works for a pension investments company.

If I was looking for a pension company, I’d be looking for a company that’s trustworthy, ethical, and transparent. I’d want to feel like I can trust it, that trust is initially built with a human being. Starting a relationship on the basis of a lie isn’t a great way to start a relationship; much less if you are trying to get people to invest their pension with you.

What’s the learning?

I apologise that I go on about this all the time but it’s so important; when we are selling services, we buy from people that we know like and trust. If the relationship starts with a ‘lie’, that relationship is doomed from the start. And if you work for a company, you are potentially tainting the companies reputation too.
If you hate photographs of yourself, please, please, please, never use a stock image … it’s better to have no photo at all.

Additionally, be mindful that not everyone on LinkedIn is who they say they are. 



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