Ever felt 'thrusted upon'?
Unfortunately I have. You're in a hotel room, dressed up and ready. Full of anticipation, glass in hand.
You smile. Get comfortable, ready for the next step, the pre-amble, the warm up.
When 'bang'... They move in straight for the kill. Without even giving you the chance to wet your lips.
Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am.
"Let me tell you all about my fantastic set of widgets/web design services/tax planning software that's just right for you and your company!"
Whilst thrusting a business card in your face. That's right, I'm talking about that person who 'sells' to you their business products and services before the time is right.
I have been in that position at networking events a handful of times. I'm sure you've all experienced that penetrating door to door or telesales person that does the same.
How successful are they? Not very. They may get lucky every once in a while. Find someone who was pretty hot for their offering and get excited by what I call a 'lack of sales foreplay'.
Sometimes we are all in the mood for fast and furious, but most people need to have their boats floated. The slow burn, the warm up. The tantalizing breaking down of our defences.
Online networking via social media is even worse. I see people going in for the dry thrust of a sale via LinkedIn or Twitter with no pre-amble or build whatsoever.
"Hi Michelle...we have a special offer on widgets this week, would you like to buy some?"
"Er...do I know you?"
We ran a poll on LinkedIn last year about the biggest turn offs when new contacts get in touch via a social media site.
A whopping 44% revealed that 'promoting services before knowing me' made people turn cold.
So what should you do instead on social networks?
1) Introduce yourself gently - virtually 'shake hands'
2) Start a conversation, be interested
3) Offer something of value, knowledge, help, your expertise
4) Ask for the meeting or the deeper conversation only when you feel they know, like and trust you. And they are giving off those 'ready' signals
So, approach social networking relationships as you might approach, some, er, more private aspects of your life.
So don't be a two minute thruster. Slow down, get them to know you, and get them hot & ready for your offering. You'll know when the time is right.
The final result may take longer but will ultimately be more satisfying for you, & your new business relationship.
Who knows, they may even come twice.
Follow Michelle Beckett on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MichelleBeckett