LinkedIn sales tip: search for the CEO titles that spelled chief wrong

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Blogosphere News
  • email
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr


Whether you want to make a sale, get a job, or network for business, it’s a good idea to be connected to powerful people like CEOs, but it’s tough to get their attention.  Here’s a unique and original idea that might get you some positive attention from some CEOs and other Chief Officers.

Quick version:

Want to connect with CEOs?  How about finding the ones that spelled the word “chief” wrong in their LinkedIn profile, and telling them about it.  You can do that with a LinkedIn search, and you may someday get a sale, a job, or a business relationship.


This is one of my favorite original tips, and it might help some of you

  • make a sale
  • get a job
  • develop a great new relationship

I’ve been giving this idea out in recent speeches that I’ve given in the last couple of months to

  • the LOMA insurance conference in Las Vegas
  • Meeting Planners International in Washington, DC
  • the Inside Sales Conference 2010 in Boston
  • the Boston BestEvents Expo 2010 in Boston
  • the ASTD National Chapter Leaders Conference, in Washington, DC
  • Northeastern University Marketing students in Boston

so if you were in one of those sessions, you’ve heard it already, and most people really liked it.  I already gave it to my newsletter readers over a month ago, so they had a head start on you.  You should sign up for my newsletter on my web page.

If you want to see the video where I explained this to 350 College and University business officers at EACUBO, click on the video at the top of this article.

How to get the attention of some CEOs through LinkedIn

If you want to connect with CEOs, the easiest way to do it is by helping them in some way.

What if they misspelled the word “chief” in their LinkedIn profile, and you tell them about it before someone else does?  Here’s the idea:

  • Do an “Advanced search” in LinkedIn
  • Under Title, put in “Cheif Executive Officer” with the word cheif spelled wrong
  • Take a look at the 425 results, of which 200 are in the United States
  • Send them a LinkedIn invitation, and in the invitation, tell them about the misspelling
  • I usually send an introduction that says

FYI, I just wanted you to know that you spelled Chief wrong (i.e. cheif) in your profile. Just trying to help.

While I’m at it, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

– Patrick O’Malley

  • When LinkedIn asks how you know them, I usually say it’s through my current company

If you help them, there is a good likelihood they will accept your invitation, and in some cases where I’ve done it, I’ve also gotten some “thank you” replies or further discussions.  I’ve never asked for anything from them, but I could probably ask for an introduction to one of their connections in the future, or get 5-10 minutes of their time to talk about Social Media Training for their sales staff or other employees.

You could do the same type of thing  for your business whenever you thought the time was right.

Danger of IDKs

There is a danger in doing this.  If the recipient clicks “I Don’t Know <you>” in response to the invitation, you will get a black mark from LinkedIn.  If you get 5 of these, you get put on the IDK list.  This means that you can’t invite any more people unless you know their email address.

However, there is a solution.  First, if you email LinkedIn at and apologize, they usually forgive, unless you’re a chronic offender.  If that doesn’t work, I do have another radical solution, and if you email me, I will send it to you.

Regardless, I don’t think many of these CEOs would IDK you, and I have sent out dozens of these myself.

Good luck out there…

Be Sociable, Share!


1 Krista Moon { 03.01.11 at 10:19 am }

As crazy as it sounds, catching spelling and grammatical errors for other people does give you an edge. It gives you a valid reason for reaching out to someone, and shows you have read about them and did your homework. How embarrassing to have Chief spelled wrong on LI! We’ve all done similar things though – that’s the joy of being human. I recently started a great new business relationship with a woman based on finding an error in her book! She said she had three professional editors look it over, and no one noticed it before. What a great opener!

2 Patrick O’Malley { 03.01.11 at 12:14 pm }

Cool story.
If I were her, I would have considered 1) giving you a bunch of free books to give you, 2) telling the story on her blog, with lessons learned, 3) allowing you to tell the story to your friends and followers, and 4) giving you credit int he next version of the book.
I thing that these are the right thing to do, and I think they would get her a lot more attention for a marketing point of view. Given your comment about “being human”, I think people would forgive her and her editors for making a mistake, and she’d get a lot more attention to the rest of the book.

Leave a Comment