Social Selling is a big thing. Not to be confused with social marketing, simply put social selling is when salespeople use social media to find and interact directly with their prospects.
The concept is not new. Salespeople have always looked for ways to connect with their prospects. When I started selling radio ads in the pre-Internet and email era we used an antiquated device called the telephone. Sometimes when business was slow we were literally thrown out of the office by our manager and directed to cold call door-to-door and report back with an order.
Not for the faint of heart.
But I did learn how to talk to strangers, hone my persuasion skills and look for ways to minimize the risk of a no and to get someone to listen to me. I did some homework and learned to qualify those calls by personalizing. In other words, I remembered that I was a human trying to connect with another human.
That meant looking for my hook. Maybe there was an article on the person or the business or the industry that I could weave into the conversation. I’d look for some reference that I could use to open the door. I kept my eyes peeled and looked for creative ways to let the person I was trying to get to listen to me know that I cared enough to at least do some research so they knew that I might legitimately care about helping their business.
But now we have technology like LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, a product designed to make it as seamless as possible to discover and connect with new prospects. This way instead of someone hanging up on you or slamming a door in your face, one can simply hit the ignore tab and the salesperson never needs to feel the pain of rejection.
Which is unfortunate, because I’m guessing that feeling a little bit of that pain might teach a salesperson a thing or two about how to be a human and avoid them sending out the form emails that I seem to be getting more and more of through my LinkedIn account.
In the past week alone I have had no less than a dozen people on LinkedIn trying to sell me something I don’t need. That doesn’t include the number that come through my private email. It’s a rarity to find one that took the time to read my LinkedIn profile first and look for a true point of engagement.
Instead I get this.
Okay so they did use my name but seriously. The comma goes after Joanne, not after Hi.
“I’d love to add you to my network of marketing pros, and think you’d be a great fit for ———-. We’ll help you leverage our proven training library to continue building your rockstar marketing team in 90 days. Let’s connect if you’re interested.”
I bet you’d like to add me to your network but can you at least tell me what training library you’re talking about and did you notice I teach in an MS in Integrated Marketing program at NYU. BTW…not interested.
“We share mutual connections here on LinkedIn.”
If we do and you really want to start a conversation, tell me who those connections are.
“ thought we could benefit by being connected. Our team and I would love to learn more about your company’s story and the marketing challenges you face! “
I’m glad you think we can benefit, but if you want to pique my interest, tell me how. Ps. My story is on my website.
“It can be difficult trying to get a customer’s attention. It is even more challenging if the customers don’t understand what you do.”
I agree and you clearly don’t know what I do.
“Here’s to watching your business grow, BDM”
BDM sounds more like something out of 50 Shades of Grey than Business Development Manager.
“I’d like to offer you a complimentary marketing and branding analysis of your business.”
I guess you missed the part on my profile that I am a marketing strategist and that’s what I do.
It’s Ma’am and know that no woman, EVER, wants to be addressed as such.
“Based on my experience of over 10 years in Digital Marketing, I would like to offer my expertise in helping you optimize your Digital Media spends.”
Digital Marketing. I teach it. I consult in the space. Thank you, but no thanks.
“I wanted to tell you about an upcoming webinar, “How To Get Leads From LinkedIn Sales Navigator In 4 Simple Steps!”
Why am I certain that not one of those steps requires you to read the profile first!
In a 24/7, increasingly noisy world, everyone is trying to make a connection. I get that. Reaching out to strangers can be necessary to building your business. I talk to strangers a lot. It’s how I built my network. I also won’t argue that social media and technology provide a whole new platform through which to connect.
But if you’re going to do it, stop relying on an algorithm to pull a lead sheet. Look at the list first and take the time to do a little homework. Be a human. It’s what’s missing from social selling. Look for points of engagement. In the end it will keep you out of the delete bin and if it doesn’t get you an order, you might at least get a conversation started.