Connect photo from ShutterstockBefore asking individuals to connect online, there are rules for engagement to be taken into serious consideration. Otherwise, instead of realizing your goal of connecting, you will turn the other party off and will be ignored.

Communicate as an equal

Have you ever been approached by someone seemingly suggesting he can save your business from destruction? It is an insulting approach and assumes much too much. The better ideas for an initial approach is to simply ask to connect. If you have something in common or admire an area of expertise, point that out. Most importantly, avoid all assumptions.

When improper assumptions are made, it comes across as speaking down to the recipient. Although the other party does not have your expertise, it is very likely they too hold expertise that you do not have, thereby equalizing the conversation. But if you already made the wrong assumption, the other party will pass on making the connection.

Recognize the person’s area of expertise

Use the Professional Sales and Goodwill methodology. Upon seeing the other person agreeing to connect, and you believe there is potential business, offer an email exchange or phone conversation to find ways of helping one another. Include saying something nice about the person’s experience and why it attracted your attention. Match what the two of you do. Offer a choice of days and times to connect live, and add that if those times do not work, to offer alternatives.

* The offer of helping one another holds far better potential than immediately trying to sell without knowing much about the other party.

Connecting with someone who appears to have greater experience

As your business builds, once in a while approach people who have a seemingly higher level of expertise. There is nothing to lose because the worst case will be no reply. However, many times that person may see something of interest in your profile, or, at the very least, recognizes they have nothing to lose and will accept your invitation.

Following these guidelines, you have everything to gain with nothing to lose, so make this practice a habit. And by leveraging this habit, some of the social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn, will notify you of others in the person’s network. Before deleting the email, scan the list of people to see their job titles and if their experience sounds of interest. If so, start the process all over again.

20 minutes per day strategy

Actively seeking others out to connect will bring extra email to your in-box. The best approach is to deal with these daily so they do not pile up, but after you have worked on your high priority business matters first. Likewise, initiate connections between projects, and at the end of the day. Consider apps for your phone as they speed up the process, and provide excellent use of your time when you are waiting for someone or are in line.

These strategies will have you exponentially growing your network. Further develop reasons as to why your network should remain connected using great content. You will be found and you will find the Smooth Sale!