You Invited Me to Connect. Now What?

So…you sent me the generic invite from LinkedIn to join you. You did not take the time to send a note explaining why you thought it would be beneficial for us to connect. Nor did you care enough about me to do research, to figure out how you could help me. Nor did you bother to approach the act of inviting me to connect with you from a perspective of what I might gain from your invitation.
Nonetheless, I checked out your profile and it looked like we could help one another. So I accepted. Now what? What’s your plan? How are you going to build a mutually beneficial relationship where we can get to know one another, make appropriate referrals, and help each other out.
Oh…you didn’t think it through that far? Truth be told of 100 invites that I receive, perhaps 95 never follow up beyond the invitation. At first, I just chalked that up to the selfish “Hunter” behavior (Wanna buy some software?) and ignored it. Now, if someone does that, I disconnect from them.
After all, how do you think your behavior makes others feel? When I identify someone that I can help or that might be able to assist me, I spend time doing research by looking through their profile and learning about them by doing some research. I suggest you do the same.
Start with their current employer and what they do for a living. What seem like the challenges that keep them up at night. What projects are they working on. Are they taking continuing education courses. Are they giving a talk. Maybe they will be serving on a panel. Perhaps they posted that they are looking for suggestions on a vendor, or posed a question in group that you are qualified to answer. how d o you add value to others?
The best piece of advice I ever received when I began my career from a mentor was…nearly everyone approaches life and the relationships they form from a “What’s in it for me?” perspective. So, be the Purple Cow Seth Godin often refers to. Separate yourself from the herd. Make a concerted effort to deliver value to your relationships by helping others. Be a ‘Servant-Master.’ Try facilitating connections, to achieve Win-Win-Win relationships.
Or, keep sending out generic invites to pad your network. All you’ll be left with is meaningless connections that don’t serve you or anyone else. And what’s the point of that?
Here’s to your continued success in 2017
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