Imagine you are standing in line at your local grocery store.
No, seriously. Envision yourself standing in line, maybe checking your phone, minding your own business.
For whatever reason, someone standing behind you strikes up a friendly conversation. It's been known to happen.
Being a polite human being, you acknowledge their small talk and say something in return.
Then, from out of nowhere, that person starts selling you their latest and greatest solution to all of your grocery shopping problems and oh my god it is very affordable but only available until the end of this checkout procedure it's a one-time deal but you have to take it right friggin' now or else you will miss out and believe me you don't want that!
Does that make you want to speak with them?
Do you see the wisdom in their amazing solution?
Or, will you zip to the next aisle as quickly as possible to get the heck away from that strange person?
You took a chance -- and it is a chance! -- on making small talk with a stranger and it failed. Spectacularly.
Now, you want to get away from this idiot. As well you should.
Why would it be any different if someone does that to you on LinkedIn?
Not a day goes by that I don't get a connection request that looks something like this:
"Hi David, it looks like we work in similar industries. Let's connect!"
And, just for fun, sometimes I do.
Inevitably I immediately get a six-paragraph description of what they do and oh my god it will change the way I do business guaranteed 100% more and better referrals just call them right away!
Stop. Please, just stop.
Most people forget the word social when it comes to social networking.
So, how should you reach out to prospects on LinkedIn or other social platforms?
Instead of trying to cram your amazing service down someone's throat, start by building a relationship with people. Try to get to know them a little. Understand who they are and what they are doing.
And, heaven forbid, offer to help them in some way.
Not everyone will offer to help in return, but enough will.
That is how you should engage with people on LinkedIn.
And at the grocery store.