By Steve Moran

I once was a salesperson. I guess I still am, sort of … and really, to one degree or another, every business leader is. When I made my full-time living as a salesperson, I was okay but not great at it. And that meant I had lots of time on my hands. It was my reality, but that reality caused a big problem. I assumed everybody else, in particular those people I wanted to sell to, had lots of time on their hands as well.

They don’t!

Particularly those people you really want to sell to. They are busy; they are overwhelmed; they have to be very very careful about who they give their time to. That is my current reality, and when salespeople assume I will just drop everything and make them my priority, it simply becomes annoying, hurting their chances to sell me anything.

Every Day

I get unsolicited emails and messages through email and LinkedIn that all but demand I make time to do a call or respond in some other way. At the same time, the salespeople almost never actually tell me what they want or how they might be able to help me solve a problem in a unique and better way.

The most recent and triggering example through LinkedIn:

What she is doing — and I see this over and over again — is demanding a response from me, but it is simply disrespectful. Worst of all, it drives leaders from LinkedIn and other social platforms, with them not wanting to deal with the hassle.

What could she have done?

  1. A quick intro about the problem they solve
  2. A short description of why they are better at solving the problem than their competitors
  3. An offer of something that might be helpful to me as a leader.

In short, she needed to start by thinking about how to build a relationship.

No Shortcuts

If the person you want to connect with, build a relationship with, is on social media, then start by interacting there. Comment on posts (substantive comments, like offering commentary, asking questions, offering resources for free, with no strings attached).

At some point you will have earned the right to ask for a call.

It’s actually pretty simple. It is human. It is how you would want to be treated.