Everybody talks about how to approach social selling. We want to take a minute here and talk about how not use social media as a sales prospecting tool.

Before we get into what not to do, let’s outline two key principles:

We are all trying to sell something.
Just about everybody that you connect with and try to sell to on social media also has something to sell. Even if the person is not in a sales role, let’s say a CFO for example, they are still and executive at a company and one of their top interests is for the their company to sell its products or services.

We do not really enjoy being sold to.
A key thing to keep in mind with social selling is that it really does not feel great when someone tries to sell to you. One reason for this that when someone tries to sell to you, they are making that particular moment more about them than about you.

In addition, we want to make wise purchases and when someone tries to sell something to us that we are not actively shopping for, our guard will often go up as we become concerned if the purchase is something we should do. Whenever your guard goes up, you typically will not feel great and enjoy that particular moment.

What We Do Incorrectly When Selling on Social Media
Now that we have put those two principles out there, we can look at one of the most common social selling fails and that is to send a message to try to sell your products right after establishing a new connection with someone.

This happens every day and can happen in a few different ways, depending on the social media platform that is being used. Let’s look at both LinkedIn and Twitter.

LinkedIn
On LinkedIn, it can be very common for a salesperson to send a invitation to connect to someone that may be a prospect. And in many of these cases, this is a cold invitation meaning that the two people do not know each other and have not interacted in any way.

What many of these salespeople do is, as soon as the invitation is accepted, the salesperson will then send a direct message that introduces the company that he or she works for, outlines the products and services offered, and usually ends with some sort of soft close attempt.

Twitter
On Twitter, this same social selling fail might look a little different and that is by sending direct messages  to someone right after they follow the company or salesperson. Many of these are setup as an automated response email.

This direct message does something similar as the LinkedIn message and that is that it says something about the company or products being sold. Again, this is an “all about me” approach and trying to sell the prospect right after the connection is established.

>> The Most Common Social Selling Fail (Part II) >>

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