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The “Unlucky 13” Biggest Social Selling Blunders

Published on April 24, 2018
Social Selling |

With more people adopting social selling, especially the old school sellers like myself who recognize the value of it, there may be some of us who are just not that technically savvy or social selling savvy.

One thing that’s common between old-school and modern salespeople is superstition. Just like baseball players not having to keep a streak alive, salespeople have their own quirks and superstitions that help them keep their sales streaks alive.

To keep that lucky streak going, try not to be the kind of social seller who does the following;

1 – The connect and immediate pitch.

Hi, thanks for connecting now buy my sh*t, buy my program, buy my eBook. I mean, take me out for a nice dinner before you make your move, ok? And even then, it’s still going to be no.

Build trust first, offer value first – give at least 5 times before you ask.

What you should do: After you’ve connected, don’t tell them about you and what you are selling, ask about THEM, their needs and how might your network be a resource for them. Give first.

2 – The lazy invite

“Hi, let’s connect.” Just a simple rewording of the standard LinkedIn invite so it looks like a personalized message. You’re really making an effort there pal, I can feel the love.

What you should do: What brought that person to your attention? Tell them why. Did they like one of your comments and you’re connecting to say thanks? Say that! Or ask them a question about why they liked your comment. Give them a reason to connect.

3 – The “I clearly took no time to look at your profile invite”

Wrong name, gender, profession etc. You just plain messed up. Not only were you lazy you just weren’t paying attention. Nobody is going to feel special or really think that they are really important to be a part of your network. You’ve made them an afterthought. Rude.

What you should do: A good LinkedIn profile is a wealth of information. You can even squeeze out something from a bad one.

Find some commonality in activities, colleges, groups, previous jobs and mutual connections. Show them that you do the work. If you are thoughtful enough to do the work on them, they’ll find you more worthy.

4 – The stalker

Where you set aside time and just start liking every post and interaction one person has made and they get 20 notifications that you ‘liked’ it. And not one comment. 

What you should do: Stop liking everything they post. Are you even reading what they post? Make sure you agree. Remember, your network can see what you interact with.

If you’re too busy just stalking and liking someone’s content without reading or paying attention to the content you may actually like something that goes against your values and turns off your network. Use discretion, read the post and if you actually agree then like and comment. If not, move on and engage with someone else.

5 – The Troll

You exist to create conflict or complain without offering solutions. You continually challenge others, not with constructive criticism but trying to beat them. Whilst you may end up being right, all you’ve done is create an audience that has witnessed you acting like someone they don’t want to be involved with.

What you should do: Always have a professional manner. If you’re a professional looking for business, trolling people will hurt your own business because your network can see your engagement with others. Do you want your boss seeing that you’re badmouthing or insulting a competitor? That kind of behaviour turns off clients and prospects…

6 – The Fanboy

Fawning over everything someone does. Nobody likes a suckup. It’s inauthentic and it gets you put in the business “friend zone” where no real relationship can be developed because it won’t be a relationship of equals or mutual respect.

What you should do: Choose your spots. If you can’t add value to the conversation with a comment that engages with the post, then just move on. Like the post because you plan on reading the post, interacting with it or following it. If you’re not going to do any of those, don’t bother.

7 – Not giving proper credit for the content you share

Make sure you cite your sources and give credit where credit is due, and be sure to tag that person as well. It’s common courtesy and the person getting the credit may reciprocate by sharing your post or engaging with it – drawing the attention of their followers.

What you should do: Name, tag and highlight the person whose content you are using and show them some love. Time and effort went into the content they produced, so show them some respect.

For example, I want to make sure I give Jack Kosakowski credit for any of his content I share, so I make sure to link to his name or tag him in my posts. If I’m sharing a particular article, I will reference and link to it with a description of the article or a highlighted topic. I do this because content plays a big role in my sales process.

8 – Ghosting

You started out right by personalizing the invite, making a connection and got a good response and then you DON’T respond after that. Like you disappeared. It’s no different than just collecting names. Engage after contact!

What you should do: If the person you connected with was kind enough to not only connect but send a response, don’t let it end there! If you’ve done your homework and reviewed their profile, you now have an opening to ask a question (not “hey, wanna buy my stuff?”) to get a dialogue going.

9 – Not thanking people when they share your stuff

They have taken the extra step. They didn’t just like your post or article, they didn’t just comment – they took the time to share it to their network, thought enough of your content to put it out there for people to see. It’s an endorsement of you and your work. And you don’t thank them?

What you should do: Make sure you tag or highlight the individual in a comment or response, or make a specific post or tweet recognizing that person. Thank them and highlight the work they do because someone may need the product or service they provide.

10 – Not sharing other people’s content

This isn’t a one-way street where you produce content and everyone shows up to fawn all over your Hemingway-esque content. You need to be sharing third-party content that will bring value to your prospects.

When you not only create but share quality content that offers value, you become the person your audience turns to for insight. And you will most likely get reciprocation from the people whose content you have shared – helping your content to reach more people.

What you should do: Make it a point to share at least 2-3 pieces of other people’s content a day – articles, long-form posts, infographics etc. Content that will be of value to your prospects and clients. If you are too strapped for time, SkillsLab has created the Content Sharer to solve that problem. #valueadded

11 – Don’t plagiarize

I’ve had this happen first hand. Published some content and 3 (three!) days later the almost exact piece of content came out from a Canadian sales org. I contacted the CEO and asked if he’d like to hire me since his team was using my content anyway. If you steal – you will get caught and it will come back to haunt you, and you will lose all credibility.

What you should do: Give credit where credit is due. Don’t steal. Take a course, get a mentor, learn the skills you need to do what you want so you don’t have to claim others work as your own.

 12 – Don’t just stick to one platform

Don’t be posting on LinkedIn if your buyers are on Snapchat. Part of knowing your customer is knowing where they reside, and where they reside digitally will let you know what platforms you need to be engaged with.

When researching your buyer personas, you will know what platform you are going to find your target market and where they are most accessible and receptive. Be flexible, and learn about how to sell on different platforms.

What you should do: Study your market, know your buyer personas and know where they hang out. Then hammer those channels, engage your prospect base as often as you can so you will be seen as the authority in your space.

13 – Improper platform posting

LinkedIn is not the place for cat memes and raunchy jokes. While that may be all fun and games on Facebook and Twitter, it doesn’t belong on LinkedIn. Know your platform and what’s appropriate to share there and what works.

You don’t want to lose your credibility on a platform because you don’t understand how to post there.

What you should do: Know what’s business appropriate and what’s not. Share suitable content only on the appropriate networks. You don’t need to be posting your bikini pics from vacation on LinkedIn.

In Summary:

When you avoid making these mistakes, you set yourself up for social selling success. If you make a mistake or two, correct it and get back to work. Be sure to give, give and give before you can expect to get.

Offer maximum value at all stages of the buyer’s journey and become the person that prospects and clients know, like and trust. You’ll be crushing quota and it won’t have anything to do with luck because it will have been about your preparation meeting opportunity and not making stupid social selling mistakes.

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