linkedinJust because you’re not face to face with people on social media doesn’t mean etiquette goes out the door.

Technology has improved our lives (and work) in many ways, but it’s also made us lazy … and a little rude. Even when we’re online, manners matter—especially in sales, where career success is driven by relationships.

Social networking is a great way to begin relationships and begin conversations, but the same social etiquette rules apply.

When you invite people to connect with you on social media, don’t use the standard “I invite you to join my professional network on LinkedIn.” Send a personalized message instead. After all, you wouldn’t invite people to your home, open the door, and just let them walk in without greeting them. That would be rude. So why would you invite people to connect with you online without a personal greeting?

“Social” means what it says. So invite people into your network just as you would invite them into your home. Welcome them and start a conversation.

Turns out, LinkedIn agrees with me and is now changing up its verbiage to reflect the true value of social media. I recently accepted a LinkedIn invitation from someone I’d just met, and was elated to see that instead of “reply to,” the phrase is now “Start a Conversation with…”

Yes! Bravo, LinkedIn.

For more on how to develop respectful relationships that translate into sales, check out the latest from No More Cold Calling:

LinkedIn Is Not a Place to Sell

Please don’t invite me to connect on LinkedIn if you really just want to sell me something.  Social media is a great tool for researching prospects and Referral Sources, and for sharing interesting, relevant information. But making sales pitches to people you don’t know on LinkedIn is the social media equivalent of cold calling. (Read “LinkedIn Is Not a Place to Sell.”)

Do Your Leads Suck?

Imagine you’re single and looking for a long-term relationship. You’re a little older and wiser now, so you take time to reflect on the profile of your ideal match. It turns out you want someone sober, smart, hard working, and honest, and who loves theater and concerts. Would you go looking for that person in a bar? Probably not. It’s the same with “qualified” leads. We have to change how we talk about sales leads so that we’re looking for the right customers in the right places. (Read “Do Your Leads Suck?”)

3 Reasons Small Businesses Should Nix Cold Calling

Small business owners are a target. Everyone wants to sell us something. We get hundreds of solicitations every week— mostly phone calls and emails promising that if we just buy a magic list, we’ll be home free. Not true! This month’s guest blogger, Megan Totka, chief editor for, shares her perspective on the most effective strategy for sales productivity—the No. 1 way to save time, reach your best prospects, and close deals faster than ever. (Read “3 Reasons Small Businesses Should Nix Cold Calling.”)

Message to Management: Are You Hiring and Forgetting?

You’ll never have a high-performing sales team if you don’t set them up for success. One of the key skill sets for a sales leader is the ability to coach teams—to increase sales effectiveness by giving reps the training and tools they need to develop client relationships and get deals done. (Read “Message to Management: Are You Hiring and Forgetting?”)

6 Cues Salespeople Can Take from Liza Minnelli

Liza (with a “z”) is an icon, a once-fading star who’s making a major comeback. And I recently had the pleasure of seeing her perform live. I’m glad I did, too, because everyone in the room that night learned some valuable lessons about grace under pressure and connecting with an audience—lessons that could serve salespeople well. (Read “6 Cues Salespeople Can Take from Liza Minnelli.”)

Which Balls Are You Dropping?

To go fast, we must slow down. That’s a wise saying. In our world of constant change and complexity, we feel compelled to speed up in order to keep up—with the latest technology, the latest thinking, or the latest news. And, of course, with our competition. Problem is, we’re trying to catch up with things that are in the past. So the faster we run, the further behind we get. (Read “Which Balls Are You Dropping?”)

Do Your Connections Count?

Thousands of people have subscribed to my newsletter. But I’m not connected with thousands of people on LinkedIn. The reason is simple. LinkedIn is not a numbers game. So stop counting connections and focus on creating connections that count.

Of course, just because we aren’t connected doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Click through to my LinkedIn profile. Am I the type of professional connection that makes sense for your business? Can we help each other? If you answered “yes” to both questions, send me a personal invitation to join your network. But please don’t use the standard LinkedIn invite. Make your case, and let’s start a conversation!