Okay, you are on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., and you are a jobseeker, need some career advice, or are a business owner. How do you develop a relationship with someone you don’t know? Well, right now the way many are trying to develop that rapport is by spamming connections the moment we accept their invite, and often with multiple “InMails” attempting to sell us something or get free career or business help.
As a business owner, and as someone who provides help to jobseekers and business owners, I am sensitive to the need to cultivate business or garner valuable networking contacts. On the other hand, no one likes the person who just wants free help or tries to get you to buy their service or product from the get-go. The issue has become so obnoxious on the business side (people wanting to sell me products or services) that I have resorted to providing a free coaching moment or a very nice refusal via the particular social media venues InMail or messaging service. Here are the two things I say, depending on the situation:
Coaching Moment Email:
I know you are anxious to build your business or career and would like to offer you a free coaching tip to help you expand your network in a way that cultivates a relationship. I truly appreciate your inquiry but will tell you that networking is always and will always be about establishing a bond with the other party first. Networking is NEVER ABOUT YOU or your needs, but the other person. It works because you are offering them something of value that has nothing to do with your work or what you want. It’s also not an item or article you or a person you are in business with created. This “value” could be a networking contact you think might be useful to them (outside of your business partnerships), a referral, tip, hint, lead, etc., to open the door to an initial conversation, and then you can approach them after a real affinity is developed, but not until then.
Linking with someone and immediately asking for referrals, business or connections without the foundation of a relationship is no different than walking up to someone on the street and asking them for any of the above. It is the rapport that builds trust and gives a person the proper context to offer help, and it is both give and take.
While I understand the reason for the InMail, many won’t be as understanding, and it could ultimately work to alienate you instead of creating a connection. Since I coach people on how to network, I wanted to share this free tip with you. I am hoping this will assist you in building a dynamic and worthy network of connections and create a true rapport with others that could lead to your next opportunity. Best wishes and many blessings, Karen Silins
I am very happy in my current business, and love what I do, and do not desire to increase my workload at this time. I greatly appreciate your inquiry and wish you many blessings in your business. Karen
Believe it or not, most are very kind about it or don’t respond, though we remain connected. Sometimes they even reach back out to let me know they are changing their approach. However, I did recently get a response from someone saying. “I know you are a business woman!! But I would be a jerk for not sharing this!!! Can’t you afford three minutes to help your clients, etc., etc.” Hmm, snarky and unpleasant – not going to get my positive attention that way, oh, and I disconnected from you. This whole exchange started with a common ruse of “I need your help, can I get a few moments of your time” or something similar. My colleagues and myself must respond to these requests, as it could be a person wanting to discuss services or just has a very quick question that we can help them with, but too frequently it is a spammer. Nevertheless, the initial trick of needing my help is not an introduction to do business. No relationship has been developed.
Remember, the acceptance of a connection is not an tacit invitation to start asking people to help you without formation of at least an initial rapport. Immediately sending out an article, white paper, software trial, etc., that you, your friend or business upline/connection authored is not a proper way to cultivate a client either. The resource or other help you provide must always be external to what you want to sell or the advice you seek. Furthermore, the initial contact email or InMail saying you are looking to connect with “like-minded” coaches, business owners, or wanting to learn more about my business, etc., is not a relationship builder either, it’s just spam if all you want to do is sell them something.
Know that wanting help or business immediately and for free from a new contact is improper and will definitely get you uninvited/unfriended from many a social media connection. Finally, please consider that you are taking people’s valuable time when you ask them to read your marketing email or want help, but in no way want to repay them for the help. Furthermore, the supposed “I will pay you later after I get a new job or you just have to see this business venture I am offering you,” is not a payment. In most cases you are chasing away leads and losing links to others because many of my colleagues, clients and acquaintances just delete you. That is no way to run a business or a job search. Help yourself by helping others first, and be of value, it will result in your business and/or career thriving!
Karen Silins is a multi-certified, award winning resume writer, career, business and personal branding coach working with individuals and small businesses. After graduating with degrees in education and vocal performance, she made her own career transition into the Human Resources realm. Karen left Human Resources to become an entrepreneur and help jobseekers, executives and fellow entrepreneurs achieve their goals. She keeps current regarding trends in the resume writing, coaching, HR, small business and marketing industries by working daily with individual clients on resume development and career coaching, executive/career management coaching, consulting for small businesses in business plan development, marketing, blogging, hiring and overall HR processes, and providing 20-50+ seminars and workshops annually to a variety of organizations in the greater Kansas City area. She can be reached via her website at www.careerandresume.com.