Last night for the first time in 10, yes, that is a decade that I have been on LinkedIn, someone called me to actually INTRODUCE themselves. Mike Ferry, you get the kudos for being the consummate sales man. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! I am privileged to now have you as a part of my Contacts, therefore, referral base for our respective businesses.
In the last decade, we have all participated in the broadening of those who we can interact with instantly by the Internet and the World-wide Web. However, that does not mean we have to give up personal standards of etiquette or professionalism.
Since first getting on to LinkedIn my policy is to only connect to people who I have met. When someone requests me as a contact, I write a polite reply before accepting them into my Contacts. The note goes as follows:
Dear ___(always using their first name),
Thank you for requesting to be a part of my LinkedIn contacts. I only connect to people I actually have met. Shot gun marketing does not work for me.
Forgive me if we have met and I have forgotten. Can you remind me if it is the case? If not, I am always interested in meeting new people, please just give a call and introduce yourself.
In the past 10 years I have never had a phone call nor actually talked to someone who wanted to be in my Network that received this note. Does that mean anything? To me, it does! What are the chances that we would do business or that you would refer me business if you do not have the courage to pick up the phone and talk to me? Simply said, None.
My knowledge and experience have taught me that more does not mean better. Why would I want to have someone in my database, contact list, or the my public modern Rolodex if I do not know who they are and what they do? If I do not know who you are, and you do not know who I am, why would there be mutual benefit for us to be connected on a professional networking website? There is no compelling reason founded in reality.
Now, I do believe there is no random action in the Universe. I do believe that I am creating an opportunity for every person to make a new friend or colleague. One of my favorite quotes is “There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet.” ― W.B. Yeats. However, I am wanting people to not be passive in creating a relationship to me. I want professionals to be, professional!
To me it works like this:
1. You knocked on my door.
2. I ask for you to tell me who you are.
3. You reply and I open the door.
4. We benefit because we have some presence and experience with each other. And, it is there that the ultimate power lies. We become real to each other.
It is true that this rule of setting a clear boundary is not how I handle all of my public domain profiles. Here on WordPress, Twitter, Digg, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, SmugMug or YouTube I want what ever thoughts, ideas, marketing, events, wisdom, poetry, photography or art to be shared with anyone and everyone. There is a time and place for everything.
So, if you want to be in my business network, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn. If we have not met before, know that I am looking forward to having the experience of you. You are worth talking to as there is no other You in all time. Maybe in that space between us there is something we can create together for our mutual benefit.
In the meantime, I am going to give Mike Ferry recommendation he deserves. Though I have not taken his sales training nor is he my mentor, he is my Hero! He walks his talk and that is the person I want in my circle of influence. Mike teaches Real Estate professionals how to be successful. He is good at what he does, and now, I really know it.
Before the request came to my Inbox on LinkedIn, I knew who Mike was because of his reputation, marketing, and successful business working with Real Estate Agents. That did not stop me from sending him the exact email I have sent everyone else. Admittedly, I added one more thought. From my experience managing real estate agent, I assumed Mike and I both know the same truth…business does not happen to us, we create it:
“As the marketing guru you are, you might be interested in this statistic. In the 10 years I have asked people to call me here on LinkedIn to introduce themselves, I have had all of….NO phone calls. Yes, that is right, not one person has the courage to pick up the phone. So, why would I want them in my network? “
Thank you Mike, for restoring my faith in the power of action. Again, Mike, Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!