November 17, 2021

Connecting with strangers

I got invited to connect with a stranger this week on LinkedIn and once we introduced ourselves, he took some time to look at my profile. He asked me a curious question almost immediately.

The conversation went a little like this:

NED: Thank you for connecting...what a great profile you have! Very knowledgeable person! Take care...

ME: Thanks Ned, it’s nice to meet you!

NED: Thank you...that is nice of you! With all your vast knowledge what are some of the keys things to sustain a small business? And why do so many fail?

Now at this point my mistrust kicked in, and I wondered for a split second “Why is he asking me this?”

  1. What is he trying to sell me?
  2. Is his profile real?
  3. Is he a stalker?
  4. Does he genuinely value my opinion based on what he found on my profile?

    (After I established that it was entirely possible that he found my content and profile valuable… I began to shift my thinking and my questions turned to…)
  5. Is there a possibility that I could help him?
  6. Could I possibly help someone in his network?
  7. Could we help each other in some way?

If I’m honest, I have this internal dialogue every time a stranger messages me. I think it’s a decent dialogue to have with one’s self at a time when there are many profiles seeking non-legitimate connections. If, after I’ve answered the first four questions to my own satisfaction and the red flag begins to lower, I generally continue this internal dialogue, answering the remaining questions and a quality connection begins to occur.

In this case, I took a closer look at Ned’s profile and moved down to question 5 pretty quickly. I decided that if someone with his experience was asking me a question, I wanted to share any information that might help him. (Seeing I sell this type of content, I think my old self might have held on to the information I had, perhaps because of fear that he might “steal” my ideas, but my new self isn’t working that way.) I didn’t even ask Ned why he asked, I simply took five minutes and genuinely answered him in hopes that I could offer a bit of value.

Me: That’s a loaded question Ned! I’ve created so much content on this topic. It really depends on the person and the business/industry.

Me: People get stuck if they,

Don’t have an open mind

Aren’t enjoying their journey

Don’t have a vision

Lack a good plan

Don’t manage how they spend their time

Aren’t having fun

Live in the comfort zone

Aren’t congruent

Don’t know how to deal with obstacles

Don’t understand their boosters

Don’t invite accountability

Don’t create their own measurement of success.

Me: Too many entrepreneurs underestimate how important reflection and personal development is to their own growth and their ability to create a sustainable business.

Me: If you are curious, I’ve got a ton of free content on our educational platform that might unpack some of that for you.

Ned: Thank you...Shannon. I have read a lot... but your response is the best I have ever seen. Makes so much sense. One could write a book on those points. You are very good at what you do!

Me: Thanks Ned! Creating content & facilitating for sales professionals, entrepreneurs & leaders is what I do :) Please let me know if I can ever be of further assistance!

Ned: Yes, for sure… I just don’t know with what yet?

Quality connections can happen easily. This is just one of many examples of how easy it can be! But you have to give a little trust, to gain a little trust, and you won’t be able to create a quality connection without it!

Happy Networking!


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