I have a secret. A secret that could become a powerful weapon that you can use to slay your competition (not literally, of course):

Nobody wants to be sold to.

Nobody wants to shake your hand and be immediately subjected to a sales pitch.

I find it surprising that I still get private messages across all of my social media platforms from people I’ve just connected with (or with whom I have reconnected), where the very first thing I hear from them is, “Hey, would you be interested in buying my XYZ?”

I’m not sure why this is still happening, because I can’t imagine it is ever an actual effective method of selling.

It would be like me going up to someone at a party and saying, “Hey, I’m Jaime. I co-own a company that offers writing and editing. Hire me to write for you.”

Or, “Wow, it’s been years since I’ve seen you! Please buy this product I’m selling.”

How fast would you be looking to get away from me?

The truth is, the best way to grow your network and to earn clients is to care about people.

When you meet someone, ask them about themselves and the challenges they have in their work. Find out what they struggle with and offer advice or resources that might help them. Suggest the name of a colleague who could support them. Celebrate their wins with them, listen to their pains, and ask them their goals for the future. In other words, make human connections.

In our culture of “me, me, me,” “how are you?” makes you stand out. 

There is a big difference between, “what can you do for me?” and “what can I do for you?”.

I implore you to adopt a giver’s heart when you interact with people you want to add to your network. Look at the world through the eyes of someone who wants to offer something, not as someone who is always taking from others.

This attitude works in your marketing efforts, too. Try taking this approach in your blog posts, your email campaigns, and your social media posts. Give valuable information. Ask for advice. Share your thoughts.

After you spend some time nurturing your relationships, you won’t have to ask for the sell because you will be the natural choice when someone needs your help.

The next time you find yourself in a situation where your first instinct is to sell, pause and look for what you can offer, instead.

If everyone took this approach to business…oh what a world it would be.