Do You Want to be My Friend?

Jul 29, 2011 | Networking

Some of you might know that I use to be a reading specialist and that I have a rather large collection of children’s books. So what might you ask does that have to do with sales. Well, often times it gives me a chuckle because as I am working on all things sales, children’s book titles pop into my mind and while preparing for my Facebook trainings, this one popped up, Do You Want to Be My Friend?

I get so many friend requests on Facebook but very often I have no idea who the person is, sound familiar? It reminds me of the little mouse, in the book by Eric Carle, running around asking people if they want to be his friend. Everyone is on a quest to gain more “friends” on Facebook, but what is the definition of a “friend”? It’s like running up to people at a networking event that you don’t know and handing them your card. Does this make them your friend? How useful is having a list of people you don’t know anything about? What can you do with it? It’s not even a qualified leads list.

If you want me to be your friend then connect with me, tell me who you are, tell me what we have in common, don’t just send me a friend request. I won’t accept it anyway. When someone takes the time to send a friend request with a message, I feel they are genuinely interested in connecting with me personally and not just ‘accumulating’ friends. I wonder if most of the people on Facebook even know you can send a message with your request?  If they do, they don’t use it. I get about 40 friend requests a month and maybe 2 of them have a message that helps me know who they are. Since I don’t know who 38 out of 40 of them are, I take the time to look up each one of them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google to decide if I want to accept their friend request. Once I have decided I send them a personal message that goes something like this:

“Thanks for connecting, I see you are a speaker. Are you a member of NSA? Since we don’t know each other I am curious how you found me and what inspired you to connect. I live in Reno, NV near the mountains and love all of the outdoor activities. I enjoy sailing, skiing and hiking. My business is helping companies increase sales. Let me know more about you.”

It’s like writing to a penpal when I was a kid. Some of you are thinking, why tell them all of that if it is on your Facebook page? Well, remember, depending on your settings you may not be able to see anything about a person except their name. If they don’t answer my message I don’t friend them. Why would I? I want to connect with people, get to know them and determine ways I can be of service to them. And for business purposes, people only buy from you if they know you, like you and trust you, so how would having a bunch of “friends” that don’t know you help you increase your sales? For many of you the urge may be to just click ignore on people you don’t know and if I wasn’t a public figure I probably would too. There are several each day I do just ignore, but the most amazing things have happened from my willingness to try and connect, even though they didn’t.  Since something inspired them to send me a friend request they were open and willing to answer my questions and now some of them are doing business with me.  It was well worth the extra 2 minutes it tool me to send them a note.

Leave a comment and tell me how you connect on social media.

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