Are You Breaking this Social Selling Rule?

If you are, stop it now!

Most of the sales messages that I see or receive are overly “me” centric and are focused on what companies and their sales people want to sell versus actually caring about what buyers want and need.  


Unsolicited messages that are ill conceived, generic, boring, use jargon that means nothing to your prospect and are not tailored to their needs and interests is a big no-no! Do sellers (and their managers) even understand that this approach kills sales opportunities before they ever get off the ground?

Let me share a couple of examples of what not to send to people, especially people you don’t know.

LinkedIn Invitation – Not the Right Way to Customize

This is a LinkedIn invitation message that I received recently…  “I stumbled across your profile and thought this might be a good way to get in touch in case my company can be of some assistance down the road. Happy to take some time to connect by phone if you’d like to learn more.”

Not only will I not connect with this person, I am certainly not clearing my calendar to have a phone call with him. Why would I? He’s a stranger, his email certainly lacks creativity and not a single word that is compelling  or tailored to me all.

Don’t You Know I’m Your Competitor?

“Barb – I’m sure you know a salesperson or two that could use a good selling tip from time to time (whether they know it or not).  Is there anyone in your network that’s recently mentioned prospecting or networking as a challenge for their team?  Or, maybe they’ve mentioned not getting good leads from marketing?  If so, how would I go about connecting with them?”


I am loosely connected to this guy best. We sell competing services…in the same geographic market. Yet, he still asks if I know people who have mentioned prospecting and networking in today’s business environment is a challenge. If this salesperson had actually paid attention to my profile, he would know that I work with sales teams, so why would I send them on over to him?

What Did My Network Think About These Approaches

I crowd sourced my network to gauge their reaction to these latest emails, and here are just a few of the comments:

“So much stupid. Where to begin? a) Mass emails are a bad idea if you want actual customers. (If you just want to show your boss you’re doing some “work,” then sure, go ahead and send out emails blindly.) b) Take time to develop a qualified list. Research the companies and individual targets. Find contacts that can introduce you and get you in the door. c) This isn’t rocket science.”

“I get so tired of people looking for the quick-easy fix. If they had invested some time developing or establishing a professional relationship with you, they could have gotten somewhere. Looking forward to reading your post.”

You Don’t Get Second Chances

In both cases, these salespeople demonstrate their lack of sales professionalism. They are naïve at best and lazy at worst.

Buyers are assaulted with emails from sales people who use this type of unthinking approach all the time. Yet, salespeople complain that decision makers are harder and harder to reach.

Well, of course they are.  Stop confusing activity with effectiveness. Change your message, change your approach and perhaps you’ll finally get somewhere!

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