Your cold roll is worthless. Here’s how to approach prospects the right way.

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It happened to you. A notification appears that you have a direct message. Someone wants to connect. You open your DM to see a stranger’s comment on your social media post or a compliment on your recent win to engage you in a seemingly innocent conversation. Those pleasantries are short-lived when their offer details suddenly come at you faster than ninja stars.

What are you doing? I block and delete those messages without batting an eye. Spammy cold pitches are one of my biggest pet peeves and they are not welcome in my space.

Online platforms have opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect with people who would not have been in their jobs before. That’s a good thing, but it doesn’t mean you should throw manners and etiquette out the window. You wouldn’t walk up to someone in person and start pitching your products right away, so don’t do it online.

Related: The art of pitching customers

The problem with blind cold throws

The copy-and-paste version of your sales pitch that you blindly send to the masses completely lacks personality and sincerity. Even worse, it shows that you are only interested in selfish gain. If you haven’t done your homework to learn about your prospect and understand their needs, they won’t want to invest their time in listening to what you have to say.

My time is valuable! A cold pitch shows me that you don’t value my time. I am loyal to people who take the time to build a good relationship with me and develop the know, like and trust factors. Those are the ones who will work with me for life. Your approach is key. You lose credibility if you send a cold pitch without building rapport first.

It takes time to build a long-term business relationship, but the return on investment far outweighs the “spray and pray” method of airing out your wares. You are better off spending your time building lasting relationships with someone who will need you in the future and who will be happy to refer you many times over.

Related: 5 psychology-backed tips for earning and keeping a prospect’s trust

The right approach

For best results, approach connecting via DM the same way you would network in person. At this stage, it’s not about making money from that first sale. Keep brand alignment at the forefront and determine if the person you want to connect with is right for your business. Find the people who feel with what you’re about, and leave your agenda at the door. This ensures that you approach the relationship with authenticity, not “commission breath”.

Look for opportunities to build a genuine connection with them. When you are genuinely interested in others as human beings, the magic happens. It’s important to know about their business, but also take the time to look at your prospect’s interests outside of work. Do you have common hobbies, groups or friends? Details like this can be found on their online platforms and make it easier for you to contact them on a personal level.

After doing your research, send a message that will give the other person an advantage. Lead with value! Affirm your acquaintance in a friendly way to start building the foundation of your relationship. Also, recognize that not everyone will be interested in connecting, regardless of your sincerity.

A great relationship between me and a (fitness pro?) close to me started in my DM. This person saw a flaw in one of the yoga poses I shared on social media. He wanted to help, so he texted me. His request was too direct and personal, it took me by surprise. He is a giving person and really wanted to help me, but without knowing him yet, my senses started working. Fortunately, he turned around from that first comment and took the time to build my trust in him.

For the next few months, he was active on my social media, encouraging me on my yoga journey and contributing to my page engagement. He provided value by sharing tips with me that I could use to improve my poses. Soon I came to him with questions. He invested time in developing our relationship and showed me that he was an authority in his field.

Related: The 6 Worst Opening Moves for Starting a Business Relationship

Strive for quality over quantity

Always go for quality over quantity. You don’t need to spam everyone with an ill-advised message that is likely to be ignored or you will be blocked. Spend time making real connections with people you come into contact with to build lasting relationships and effortlessly conduct long-term business.

People work with others they know, like and trust, regardless of where they meet. Technology and online platforms provide valuable benefits to grow our network and work faster, but authentic relationships will always be the key to continued success.

Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.