Authentic relationships seem to be more and more a thing of the past. Does the thought of building an
authentic relationship offline, with an online contact seem daunting or complicated?
In order to stand out from the noisy world, and be successful, you need to adapt quickly. By following
these 8 simple tips, you can build relationships instead of just connections with people from behind the screen without spamming them.
In the Building Your Digital Personal Brand video, we spoke about finding your people. Watch the replay here.
By now, you know your personal values, your mission statement and you have a clear vision for your life and your business, right? So, with your tribe surrounding you, let’s talk about how I have built meaningful relationships with my own online connections.
Many of you have heard my story, but just in case you haven’t, it goes a little like this.
Jumping back into the late 60’s with me for a moment. What was going on in the world?
Now my dad did not want to take part in raising me, so, until July of 2018, I had never met him. I chose Ancestry.com to look for him because my friend "Ricky Bobby" had just found his biological family with great success, and I thought, what the hell. It's my turn.
When my DNA results came back, the results confirmed that my family name was Nunez. I was related to about 1,000 people. BTW as of last night, I am related to 78, 101 people out there in Ancestry’s database. Three thousand of them are 4th -6th-degree cousins or closer.
Imagine going from an only child with no living parents to looking at this screen that was looking back at me and feeding me up this information?
Why do I bring this story up? Well, it’s a story of taking 3,000 online connections and focusing on building relationships. Now I understand that this is more of a personal story, but I am telling you, you can apply the principles to your professional life, because I have. I went on to turn these online stone-cold connections into family and now I am a part of the Nunez-Dorame tribe.
My target audience
3,000 people that I did not know, but I had someone in common with, yet they did not know me. They did not know how I found them, and they did not know my story. Yes, I had something to sell to them, ME, but they were not aware that they even had a problem yet. That problem would be they didn’t have me or my sweet boys in their lives.
Let’s take a step back and look at where you are today with your network and where you are networking. You can’t fish in a barrel with a worm when all the fish in there prefer stink bait. You need to find the barrel that has fish jumping out of the water saying, “WORM, WORM!”
Let’s create some definitions around Connections vs. Relationships
A connection is a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.
A personal connection occurs when one life form takes the time to acknowledge another. You show a non-threatening interest and the other person positively responds.
A professional or business connection involves a relation between businesses or humans which yields profits or gains and some activity which contributes directly or indirectly to the earning of profits or gains.
Now let’s allow those three definitions sizzle for just a moment while I hop over to tell you a bit more about how I went on to build relationships with my Nunez family.
Here’s what I knew. Ancestry showed two connections that were my immediate family. However, those two people were identified with only initials. Their profiles and direct access to them were not available. The personal handling their profiles wasn’t returning any of my messages.
Does this also sound familiar? You know the ultimate decision maker in an organization, maybe there are two of them, and the administrative assistant or the gatekeeper doesn’t return your calls or email messages or if they do it’s with a comment like, I will give your message to (fill in the blank) and if they are interested they will get back to you.
Now what do you do? This is like the ultimate cold call. You blast onto the stage with a message, a piece of information that you KNOW could change a person’s life or the way they do business and you CANNOT reach the person you need to in order to deliver your information. In my case, it was ME!
This is why social selling is so effective! It no longer has to be this way.
OK now that you have your connections on the social platform you have decided to use, how are you going to take that connection and move it over to actually build a relationship?
Remember, people are searching for people on social networks, even on LinkedIn. Personal relationships are relationships between people with shared understanding, mutual trust and social bonding. Then what happens? Communication!
You start the exchange of personal information and later share mutual experiences. It’s a two way communication that takes place.
Here are my 8 tips to help you build your authentic offline relationships
1. Reach out about a topic that your connection may be interested in.
Your goal here is to share an experience. You are going to reach out to them about a topic that they may be interested in. How do you find that topic?
● You ASK! You don’t guess.
● You send a message to them like what have you been working on this week?
● How has your week been going?
● I see your alma matter is playing mine this week, are you ready to get beat?
Send them a message by asking a question. Here's an example “Hey, I noticed yesterday you were serving Moroccan food in your office (because you looked at a post they shared, and they said what it was) and I absolutely love cous-cous and would love to visit Morocco. If I lived closer, I would have taken you up on the invitation to come by to the lunch!”
2. Get to know the person.
Do your homework. It’s not hard to see the digital footprint people have created online.
● Spend time on the platform and find out who the person is connected to.
● Where do they work?
● Where do they live?
● What topics do they comment on?
● What groups do they belong to?
I have another fun story which I have told before, I was on an SWA flight, and I was seated by a member of our armed forces. He was young and happy and a little too broad-shouldered to be sitting in a middle seat, but that allowed me to strike up a conversation and ask him what he was up to? It turned out he was flying to San Diego, where his girlfriend, who was also in the military, was stationed. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box. He was flying to SD to propose to the love of his life. For the rest of the flight, we schemed and strategized about how he was going to propose.
“What do women like? Should I get down on my knee? Will we make the sunset? Should I do it at the beach or at the airport?”
We had so much fun talking and planning on the flight. I took a photo of him with the ring and also wrote about it in one of my blogs. He had a problem, how to best propose to his girlfriend? And I had a ton of solutions. In the end, he couldn’t wait and proposed in the parking lot at the airport, and she said yes! Another closed deal.
3. Give more and expect nothing.
Now in my DNA case, at first, I had nothing to give. I was working with blind faith. The faith that someone on the ancestry platform was going to drop a small snippet of information that I could pick up and then carry with me to the next set of messages. I was hoping the knowledge I picked up could be used to fill a void or connect the dots for how we were related.
I encourage you to take the necessary time to understand the people you are connected to on your chosen platform. If you can’t find common ground, look for mutual connections, and ask them if they know the person and what they can share about them.
Can they make an introduction? How do they know them? What type of relationship do they have?
My question to you is, what are you doing to help your network? How are you giving without looking to receive? Are you blasting your network with “download my FREE checklist,” “get on a FREE call with
me”? OR are you genuinely looking into their needs, wants, and gaps and trying to fill them?
4. Share your network.
I often find that people on LinkedIn don’t have their profiles up to date. I’ve spoken to entrepreneurs on LinkedIn, and they are looking for a job and turning their business into a side gig. I’ve also met people super unhappy where they currently are employed.
As I started to find this common theme, I asked myself what I would want if I were looking to change positions or find a new one? I would need an updated resume, an updated LinkedIn profile, and maybe even a career coach. I set out to find in my network people in various areas that specialized in resumes and career coaching. I sought out, interviewed, and put together a list of career coaches that I could refer my network too, and guess what? I have referred four people so far in this one category. I am giving to them, not to receive, but to truly provide value to people in an area where they have asked for help.
5. Use Video.
This year I was asked to judge the Women in Sales Awards as part of ZIA Publishing out of the UK. What I found from these beautiful young women is that they were all incorporating video into their selling
Types of video to consider:
● Power points with voice-overs
● Personalized how-to videos
● “Car Wisdom” videos which are thank yous or tips that you just picked up on the road about a product in the field.
● Loom, Bomb Bomb or Bonjoro
Video gives reality to your message. The way you talk, your intention, your body language. Using video allows you to personalize your messages and helps to create relationships. It takes the next step from
a text in black and white with an emoji or two thrown into a recording of you. They can see you living and breathing and taking the time to record a message to your connection.
6. Get Connections on the Telephone.
I have a support team that works through my LinkedIn connections and sets up appointments to get my network on the phone for me. It is my goal to speak to as many of my connections as I can because I am all about building relationships not just connections.
Some people are skeptical at first, they want to know what I am selling to them. I explain, I am writing a book about Social Selling, I want to know what is working for them, what isn’t working in the world of
social selling and specifically on LinkedIn and how I might be able to support them.
7. Grow Your Email List.
I ask each of my connections personally if I can add them to my email list so they can receive tips and tricks that I pick up along the way? No one has said no.
I send a follow-up email or message after the call. I treat my email list like an insider’s club. I clearly explain that I want them to stand out loud in their chosen field, and I hope they find my tips valuable. If at any time they don’t, they can unsubscribe or tell me what I can do to improve.
8. Always Say Thank You.
Sending a thank-you note may seem obvious. You learned this from your parents long ago - to say Thank You! However, what is the best and preferred method to say Thank You to your connections?
I surveyed decision-makers in my network. Here are some of the data out of that survey:
There you have it, my eight tips to move your online connections over into the offline relationship category which will ultimately help you increase sales conversions and grow your revenue.
Want to learn more about taking your online connections and turning them into authentic relationships? Download the checklist by clicking the button below. And don't forget to watch the replay video by clicking here.
Good luck and happy selling!