We’ve all seen these in our inbox – people pitching to us without having even learned our name.

But we still need to connect, right?

When I saw this post I had to respond and hopefully shed some light on how to build rapport with people online without having ever really met them in real life, and without coming across like a pushy jerk.

Here’s the full response I posted:

Quit asking people how they’re doing – never ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.

Let’s be honest – in most instances, you don’t really care how they’re doing, so don’t ask.

It comes across as lazy and disingenuous.

In addition, at least for me, it’s intrusive, especially to someone you’re first “meeting” in a DM. I tell my friends how I’m doing – we’re not friends – yet.

Otherwise, you’ll get a “good afternoon” or “good morning” from me, if I respond at all.

Find some way to let them know that you’ve checked out their stuff – either their content/products/videos/etc.

it’s enough to say “hey – saw your FB live on [insert actual topic they talked about here]. Really liked the point you made about [relevant point here].

ask a question related to something they’re DOING.

Nothing comes across sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher than generic “hey – how’s it going” types of questions.

They take zero effort.

SHOW UP on their posts before you show up in their DMs. You don’t want your name to be completely foreign to them. you should be “engaging” on their stuff before you ever reach out to DM them.

SHARE THEIR STUFF – if they’ve got a great post, share it and tag them. Let them know that you’re a real person who’s interested in something OTHER than your own greedy goals and that you actually WANT to promote them before making a “personal” connection.

Tell them about what you are doing and offering ONLY if they ask. How many times have you stopped to buy that product from the guy screaming at you in the street to check out their stuff? Right, because virtually no one does. Instead, be a friend. Care. Make THEM feel like THEY are important to you.

THEN and ONLY then – can you say, “hey, I got this thing I’m working on, and I’d like for you to check it out because it might help with [relevant need you KNOW they have because you’ve been following their stuff]”