Well they might be if LinkedIn is anything to go by, and that’s not just because I post online almost every day.

Last week was my birthday. I received a couple of cards, all of which were lovely.  However, I received around 200 messages on LinkedIn, which gave me the opportunity to reconnect with people I haven’t seen/heard from in ages.  I’ve set up a few meetings, put a few lunch dates in the diary and exchanged a few messages with long standing contacts.

On the other hand, I’ve also had several propositions (are people mistaking LinkedIn for a dating website), and I’ve received at least three sales pitches, two from people I don’t know.

Whilst I would not hold myself out as an expert on business development, I have learned a great deal over the last 12 years of running my own business, and in my opinion, the essentials are

  1. Know your audience – don’t assume that someone needs your services, but there’s no harm in asking about them to find out.
  2. Money is not everything – don’t assume that just because you say you’ll give a reduction of 10% on what anyone else is charging me, I’ll be interested.  What this actually tells me is that you already know you are at least 10% more than you need to be, and it shows that you don’t appreciate that you get what you pay for.
  3. Whilst I think LinkedIn is a great platform, there is really no substitute for meeting people in person – people buy people and they are much more likely to buy your services if they’ve met you.
  4. Find out what you can do to help them – it shouldn’t all be about selling.  There has to be room for helping each other and making mutual connections.  This could really pay dividends for you because whilst I might not be interested in your services, I might know people who are.

If you messaged me to wish me happy birthday last week – thank you so much.  I was blown away by how many people took the effort not to just to message me, but to then chat with me a bit and catch up.  It was lovely to hear from you all, even those who used it as an excuse to try to sell me something.

If you didn’t message me, it would still be lovely to hear from you, and perhaps put a date in the diary to catch up in person?

And if you’re from Hallmark, perhaps you should invest in a range of cards for people trying to use events like birthdays and anniversaries for sales purposes.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Available for birthdays, weddings and bar mitzvahs.