If you’ve ever heard me speak, you know that I have some strong opinions on things related to social media and what I would call “right sales behavior”. It isn’t that my way is the only way, because of course, it is not. Having sold professionally for close to 30-years, I do have just a bit of experience in this area. There are just some things that salespeople continue to do that drive me a little nuts. Add social media into the mix and well…more stuff to rant about.
My mission (and that of our company) is to help sales leaders and their sales team members bring their “A” game to the evolving world of sales. Though aspects of the sales process remain important…things like identifying and assessing needs, crafting solutions that help your customers improve their business or gaining commitment haven’t changed, other things about the process today have changed.
What has changed is that your buyers buy differently! That means that YOU as sales professionals need your sales A-game to include the smart use of social media as part of your overall sales process. Does it?
On to my rant about the little things…
- Take 30-seconds and personalize your LinkedIn connection invitation. I ignore the “friend” requests…save those for Facebook folks. I also pretty much ignore the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. Really, why? Why are we good connections for each other? Why should I have to figure it out? LinkedIn’s policy is that you know the people you connect to, but honestly, I’m open to connect with people I don’t know just yet, but ONLY if you take a minute and let me know who we can help each other. If it isn’t reciprocal, I’m not interested.
- If you want to send me sales spam, could you at least do your homework? Yesterday, I received an email from a Salesforce.com rep asking for 15 minutes of my time to talk to me about the service. Guess what. I’m already a client and have been for several years. Hello?
- Show some respect. If I have explicitly stated on my LinkedIn profile that I don’t want sales pitches, then don’t send them! You only serve to annoy me, and I just tell my net to avoid you like the plague. I don’t care what LinkedIn says about the positive ratio of people willing to respond to your InMail. That only works if you are darn good at personalizing, which most are not, and the person on the other end really needs what you sell. Recruiters this works for but for salespeople, not so much. Respect what people put on their profiles about the type of mails they are open to. Be creative, find another way!
- Stop asking for favors and never offer to do one in return. You have no idea how many people want to “pick my brain” to get FREE information. I’m all for sharing, but too many people cross that line. I’ve learned to be very discerning and say no as needed. But hey, if you buy me an awesome lunch or dinner with a nice bottle of wine, sure I’m open to sharing my valuable expertise. All I ask if that people respect that I do this to earn my living…I can’t give you everything for free! I know people who reach out to me for help with introductions and they NEVER offer to do anything to help me. Don’t even get me started on the people who show up every couple of years looking for help securing a job. Really? You haven’t talked to me in 3 years and the first email since is to send me your resume and ask that I ask my network to help you? Uh…not going to happen.
- Be relevant. Might mean you need to do some homework. I am soooo tired of receiving spam emails that have zip to do with me or my business. It’s lazy and a time waster to shoot out hundreds of email to people that you don’t know and that you haven’t bothered to learn about. Oh, and don’t school me if I have not responded to the sales crap you sent me last month. I didn’t respond because what you offer has nothing to do with me.
- Follow the rules of email marketing. The CANN-SPAM act is very clear…don’t send spam email to people who’ve not opted in to a list. And, you MUST give them an easy way to “opt out”. When you send me email without that option, it really makes me mad. The act says you are “forgiven” if you spam someone once, as long as they can easily opt out. Follow the protocol. In another blog post, maybe I’ll rant about the people selling Opt-In Database services who spam me – I didn’t opt-in to their list – and then give me no way to get off their email. Do you get the concept of opt-in?
- Say, thank you. Is it really that hard to acknowledge people and thank them for mentioning you, sharing your content, tweeting about you, helped you get that introduction, speaking gig or whatever? No, it isn’t. Do it. It is the right thing to do!
Folks, sales is a people business and people buy from people that they know, like and trust. In today’s social world, your prospects also buy from people that their colleagues and friends know, like and trust. Isn’t it time you figured out how to put social selling to work for you in a way that’s focused on what you can give versus what you can get? Relationships matter.
I’d like to suggest that it is time to play a bigger game! Bring it!