It’s Networking, Not Selling

carsalesman1I don’t like high pressure salespeople. I’ve been known to walk out of automobile service centers when they try to convince me my car needs more work than I know it really does.

Sometimes in social networking, “sales pitches” sneak in. Sometimes they just barge right through the door like a linebacker.

Of course, we all know that most people on social networking are there to promote themselves in some way. It’s the nature of the medium. Some offerings, like Facebook, are more overt about this self-promotion than others, like LinkedIn.

It’s a delicate balance to put ourselves out there in cyberspace and not come across like the stereotypical used car salesperson. We write about things we know or things we want to know. We want a wider public to know us and to know what we offer, but we can’t pound our readers over the head to get them to buy our services. First of all, that behavior gives readers a headache. Secondly, it is likely to drive them away instead.

Think about it. How many times have you followed a discussion in a group on LinkedIn and had someone pop in what is the social media equivalent to an infomercial?

“Look at me! I know we’ve been talking about X, but I can do Y and Z which you really, really need!”

Now, I don’t mean that, if we’re talking about X and you’ve written a blog about it, you couldn’t include link to it. That’s adding to the conversation.

Sometimes I come across a link for a blog that I think I will find interesting and get great information. But once I get there, it’s just someone hawking their wares. It’s not only a letdown, it’s an irritation. It’s the kind of thing that makes me grumpy (and a lot less likely to visit anything else they might post).

It’s important to remember that people don’t want to be pushed into making an unnecessary choice, nor do they want their expectations played with. Sometimes the soft sell is a lot more effective.

Sales is a relationship game and most people won’t enter into a relationship with a pushy, obnoxious person. The best way to get what you want is to give your readers what they want – and even looking for a little more.

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