January 28, 2023

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It happened to you. A notification appears indicating that you have a direct message. Someone wants to connect. You open your DM to see a comment from a stranger on your social media post or a compliment on your recent win to engage in a seemingly innocent conversation. These banter are short-lived when suddenly the details of their offer start coming to you faster than the ninja stars.

What are you doing? I block and delete these messages without flinching. Spammy cold slots are one of my biggest pet peeves and they are not welcome in my space.

Online platforms have opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect with people who would not have been in their orbits before. That’s a good thing, but that doesn’t mean you should throw good manners and etiquette out the window. You wouldn’t directly approach someone in person and immediately start pitching your products to them, so don’t do it online.

Related: The Art of the Client Pitch

The problem of blind cold locations

The cut-and-paste version of your sales pitch that you blindly send out to the masses is completely lacking in personality and sincerity. Worse still, it shows that you are only interested in selfish gains. If you haven’t done your homework to learn more about your prospect and understand their needs, they won’t want to spend their time listening to what you have to say.

My time is precious! A cold pitch shows me you don’t value my time. I am loyal to people who take the time to build a great relationship with me and develop the knowledge, appreciation and trust factors. They are the ones who will be my collaborators for life. Your approach is key. You lose your credibility when you send out a cold pitch without establishing a rapport first.

It takes time to cultivate a lasting business relationship, but the return on investment is far more important than the “spray and pray” method of getting your wares out there. Your time is best spent building lasting relationships with someone who will need you in the future and who will be happy to recommend you multiple times.

Related: 5 Psychology-Based Tips for Gaining and Maintaining a Prospect’s Trust

The right approach

For best results, approach connecting via DM the same way you would in person. At this point, it’s not about making money with that first sale. Keep brand alignment in mind and determine if the person you want to connect with is the right person for your business. Find the people who resonate with what you do and leave your agenda at the door. This will ensure that you approach the relationship with authenticity, and not with “command breath.”

Look for opportunities to develop a genuine connection with them. When you genuinely care about others as a human being, that’s where the magic happens. Knowing their business is important, but also take the time to look at what interests your prospect outside of work. Do you have hobbies, groups or friends in common? Details like this can be found on their online platforms and make it easier for you to connect with them on a personal level.

After you’ve done your research, send a message that offers the other person a benefit. Lead with value! Affirm your acquaintances in a friendly way to start laying the groundwork for your relationship. Also recognize that not everyone will be interested in connecting, no matter how sincere you are.

An excellent relationship between me and a (fitness professional?) I know started in my DM. This person saw a flaw in one of the yoga poses I shared on social media. He wanted to help, so he messaged me. Her request was too direct and personal, she caught me off guard. He’s a generous person and he sincerely wanted to help me, but without knowing him yet, my spider senses kicked in. Fortunately, he pivoted from that first comment and took the time to build my confidence in him.

Over the next few months he was active on my social media, encouraging me through my yoga journey and helping to engage my page. He provided value by sharing tips with me that I could use to improve my poses. Very quickly, I asked him questions. He invested time in developing our relationship and showed me that he was an authority in his area of ‚Äč‚Äčexpertise.

Related: The 6 Worst Opening Moves to Start a Business Relationship

Prioritize quality over quantity

Always prioritize quality over quantity. You don’t need to spam everyone with a thoughtless message that will likely be ignored or blocked. Spend time making genuine connections with the people you align with to build lasting relationships and build effortless long-term business.

People work with people they know, like and trust, no matter where they meet. Technology and online platforms provide valuable benefits to grow our network and work faster, but genuine relationships will always be the key to lasting success.

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