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Truly, I don’t know what we did before the advent of the PC and the internet. There is now so much at our fingertips … we can reach potential customers anywhere in the world these days … and social media can be our biggest ally, or our biggest curse.

So forgive me, but I’m about to vent my frustration.  Why is it, that people in business automatically assume that, if they’ve come across me in their online search, I’m immediately ready to buy from them? I understand that they are in business and they are looking for customers but really, have they never heard that in order for someone to buy from you, they first have to know you, like you and trust you?

Just about every day I get requests on social medial to be connected with people from all around the world that I have never met.  Perhaps you are more discerning than me (and maybe that’s the issue here!), but I will pretty much accept invites to connect from anyone who’s profile looks interesting.  After all, if I went to a networking event, I’d probably take their business card – I might not do business with them (and certainly not immediately), but I might file the card away “in case” I need their services in the future.  I might arrange a coffee with them to find out more about them and look for ways I can support them in their business goals. But unless they are offering a service I happen to be looking for right now, I doubt very much that I would buy from them. If the networking event I went to was a regular meeting, there’s a fair chance that over time I’d get to know them and find out more about their business offering.  I might get to like them, and I might trust them enough either to engage their services myself, or recommend them to my friends. But it takes time to build a relationship face to face … and even longer online.

So why is it that on a regular basis business owners all around the world feel it’s ok to invite me to connect with them and the moment I do, take that as permission to sell to me?  I wouldn’t mind if they were original in their approach, but it’s as though there’s a pre-written message that they cut and paste, and they all take the same format:

” Dear Jan,  Thank you for connecting with me.  I like to use (insert whichever social media platform they’ve contacted you on) for its intended purpose, i.e. networking and information sharing, I hope you don’t mind me sharing what we do.” Then follows heaps of information about their services, ending with “I look forward to hearing from you shortly to take this conversation further.”

NO!!  I don’t KNOW you. I don’t know if I LIKE you, and at this early stage, I certainly DON’T TRUST YOU!!  Why on earth would I do business with you, a stranger?!!!

In contrast, are those who, once I’ve accepted their invitation to connect, who ask me to tell them more about what I do, and how they can support me in my business goals.  Some send me articles or tips on how they have been successful using their chosen social media platform.  You don’t need to be a genius to know which approach I prefer … and which ones I am likely to do a “virtual coffee meeting” with!  Who knows … I might even send you a referral or two, or even use your services myself.

Am I alone in feeling this way?  What are your nightmare approaches?  What are the approaches that really work for you?  I’m really interested in your thoughts.