Crappy Reengagement Strategy

Over the past few weeks I’ve received no less than 10 different emails pretty much saying the same thing:

“Steve, you are important contact of mine and I realize that we are connected via email or LinkedIn but we don’t really know one another. I value all of my contacts and so I am reaching out to you today. Let me begin by telling you how great I am and how amazing my product and service is and why you should be promoting me…”

Okay that last sentence was slightly exaggerated. But only slightly.

I am not sure what training these people went through. But, whoever is giving them this advice on how to reach out and reconnect with their network is an idiot. Well, at least they are making their “disciples” look like idiots.

I’ve never seen a more impersonal way to go about connecting or attempting to reconnect with anyone in my life. I mean this hey you and I were once connected (though I clearly don’t know if we’re connected on LinkedIn, via email or I found your number written on the bathroom wall), you seem somewhat important so I’m sending this generic email to you and several other strangers from my network to reconnect approach is horrible. Then at the very end they have to pat themselves on the back and suggest you celebrate them as a conquering hero in a Aren’t I great for doing this? and then pitch their crap in a Oh and while we’re at it, here’s what I do in case you forgot. Can you say lame beyond words?

Nothing would make me want to disconnect with someone faster thanks to this impersonal, spam-like email. I mean how lazy can one be to send a generic I know we knew each other once kind of email out and expect anyone to be suddenly impressed enough to want to reconnect with them?  Clearly all of these people attended the same training or have read the same book or article and have decided this is the way to reengage their network. It’s not.

I recognize this post could come across as super negative. Especially when I try and be, for the most part, generally pretty positive. But this kind of approach to reconnect with one’s network really hits home for me. It illustrates the ineptness of people in understanding the importance of building real relationships with real people. That’s what building a network is all about.

There are no shortcuts to building the kinds of relationships you want to have in your personal and professional network. True we do lose touch with people we’ve connected with in the past. And yes, it is important to reach out to them from time to time to reengage. Just don’t do it like the person you are reaching out to could just as easily been some name you picked out of a random phone book. That doesn’t make people feel special. That certainly doesn’t make people want to reengage. In fact it does quite the opposite – and hurts your credibility and personal brand in the process.

If you have people in your network that have fallen off the radar and you think it’s time to reengage. Do something about it!  Try picking up the phone. Acknowledge that it’s been too long since you two have spoken or seen each other and apologize for that. Accept personal responsibility for being out touch and have a real life conversation. People will appreciate you far more if than some lame ass lazy generic reach out.

Oh and for those of you cringing that my words here might offend some of the 10 people that reached out to me with this lame approach, please don’t. If they had a real relationship with me they wouldn’t in a million years send me something so poorly concocted. Besides these 10 are too busy destroying their networks to notice one little blog post from a guy they clearly took no time to build a relationship with in the first place.

Ripple On!!!



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  • Kali Rourke

    Steve, I hear you!
    I feel fortunate right now that I am not a small business owner or an executive at a well known company, because I know this happens to them daily, if not hourly. I hear many complaints from my successful friends about this way of doing business, and how they feel somewhat used by this underhanded way of selling. And believe me, that is how it is perceived; as an attempt to sell them something.
    Great advice, and I hope those who do notice this “little blog” will keep it in mind as they consider resuscitating old contacts. Cup of coffee, my friends…a cup of coffee and a face-to-face conversation is the best offer you can make!

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