What Not to Do With Social Selling

What Not to Do With Social Selling

Social Selling

What_Not_to_Do_With_Social_SellingSocial media is a powerful tool for salespeople who know how to use it. Like most powerful tools, though, it can do more harm than good when employed improperly. The key is to focus on the social aspect of social media, and avoid looking at is as simply an advertising tool. Metrics like reach and audience size are great, but they mean little if the people you’re “reaching” aren’t interested in what you’ve got to say.

Social selling is all about making real connections with the people you meet in the digital world. The connection leads to the sale, and not the other way around. Knowing what to do is important, but knowing what not to do plays just as big a role in your potential success. Dodge these social selling pitfalls, and you’ll put yourself ahead of the game.

Avoid Cookie-Cutter Contact Requests

You’re in sales, and that means everyone you encounter is a potential lead. That presents a dilemma on social, given the relatively massive number of people you’re able to interact with even on niche social channels. The natural temptation for any salesperson is to start working those potential leads all at once. Faced with that temptation, sending generic mass contact requests may look like an attractive, time-saving option for social selling. Resist the urge. 

  • Before you connect with someone through social, take a moment to scan their profile. You don’t need to learn their life story. Just learn their name, and see if there are any common interests you can touch on when you make contact.

  • Most users won’t mind an occasional automated message after you’ve established a relationship with them, but personal is still the best way to go, whenever possible. People are simply more likely to respond when you add a personal touch, however small, that shows you understand where they’re coming from.

Listen Before Pitching

When you log in to your personal Facebook or Twitter account, what are you hoping to find? Maybe a friend request from a new in-person acquaintance. Maybe a clever, funny link from that friend who’s always sharing clever stuff. If you’re like most people, though, you’re probably not looking for an in-your-face sales pitch. That’s doubly true when the pitch is coming from someone you don’t know very well, if at all.

  • Get to know your connections before diving in with your pitch. Listen to what they have to say, and learn what you can about their needs. Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to do some digging if you have to.

  • When it’s time to go in for the sale, use what you’ve learned about your connection to show them why your product or service is the right solution for their needs. Demonstrate that you took the time to understand a prospect’s unique challenges, and they’ll be more likely to embrace your solution.

Be Social!

Social selling is a two-way street, and it works best when you’re actively involved in the conversation. It’s not just direct interactions that your current and potential connections will notice. They’ll also pay attention to how you interact with others on public-facing areas of your social page. If all they see are unanswered questions and ignored comments, they’re unlikely to waste their time trying to engage you.

  • The same is true of private interactions. Word spreads fast on social, and being friendly makes a big, positive difference in how people perceive you. Even if your responsiveness doesn’t lead to a direct conversion, everyone you meet on social is still a potential referrer.

  • Don’t just sit on the sidelines waiting for people to engage. Look for opportunities to start conversations with your connections, regardless of the topic. You never know when a friendly chat will turn into a mutually beneficial sales relationship.

Don’t Say Anything Stupid

This should be common sense, but it seems like every day some new public figure is paying the price for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time on social media. Don’t be that person. If you wouldn’t say it in front of a room full of people, don’t say it on social. There’s a popular story that when Michael Jordan was asked why he kept his political opinions private, he answered that “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” That’s a good lesson. Save the debates on politics and religion for the Thanksgiving dinner table, where they belong.

Social selling isn’t easy, but it’s not quantum physics, either. People want to be guided toward a sale, not pushed into it. They need to see that you’ve considered their unique situation before you try to sell them anything. Treat people well on social, and the results will speak for themselves. Ignore the needs of your social connections, and you may as well just be cold-calling. 


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