7 Reasons Why Social Selling Is Like Dating

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is time to reflect on our relationships–both of the romantic and professional persuasion. Because believe it or not, dating and prospecting have a lot in common.

Think about how your last romantic relationship started. My guess is that it didn’t start overnight. It took time and commitment to develop that relationship.

Well, the same is true for your sales relationships. Don’t believe me? Here are seven pieces of dating advice that you can apply to your social selling.

1. Know where you can meet people.

In the dating world, you have options for meeting new prospects. You can meet people at coffee shops, bars, art galleries, through friends, and on online dating sites.

On social media, think about where your prospects hang out. Are they on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+?

If you don’t know, think about your latest customers. Search for them on social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. If they are on those sites, you might find more people like them.

2. Listen.

Before you begin engaging with a buyer, listen. You don’t want to put your foot in your mouth – just like you wouldn’t want to embarass yourself during a date.

So, observe your buyer’s behavior. What type of content does my prospect post? How frequently does my prospect post? What are my prospect’s interests? How does my prospect engage with people?

Use that information to inform your conversation. If your buyer isn’t effusive, don’t bombard her with emoticons and exclamation points. If your buyer doesn’t respond to every tweet, don’t freak out if he doesn’t respond to your tweet.

3. Play the field, but choose wisely.

When you’re dating online, you are presented with a smorgasbord of potential partners. If you choose just one potential suitor, you may end up disappointed if your interest does not return your affection. But if you try to pursue everyone, you will spread yourself too thin, and you won’t be able to develop any kind of relationship.

Apply that same mentality to social selling. Don’t focus all your energy on one person. At the same time, don’t try to be everything to everyone. To help you out, you need to develop your buyer personas. What types of people should you be targeting?

Fill out a worksheet like this one to help you narrow your options.

To download this worksheet as an interactive PDF, click here.

4. A first date is not an audition for a marriage.

Your first date is just an audition for a second date. In most cases, it does not immediately lead to a marriage proposal. Similarly, your first interaction with someone on social media will not lead to an immediate deal. You need time to build a relationship with someone before you can seal the deal.

5. Don’t push too hard too soon.

Imagine this. You go on your first date. He treats you to a lovely dinner at your favorite restaurant. You flirt. You laugh. And then you scream. At the end of dinner, he kneels down, whips out a ring, and proposes to you.

Bam! Your first date is ruined. Too much, too soon.

Now, let’s recast that scenario for social selling. You strike up a conversation with a prospect. You treat her to some great content. She’s eating it up. You continue to talk. The emoticons are flying. Then, you go in for the hard sell right away. “Do you want to buy my product?”

Bam! You just scared away your prospect. Too much, too soon!

Make sure you assess where the buyer is along the sales funnel before you pitch the person on your product. Do they know they have a problem? If they are still unaware of their problem, you can’t sell them a solution.

6. Don’t be creepy.

In the twenty-first century, you’re going to search for both your dates and prospects online. As a salesperson, you should do some research before speaking to a prospect. (See rule number 2.) However, you don’t want to take that too far.

On a sales call, be careful not to mention everything you found out about the person.

“I saw your adorable picture of your puppy on your Facebook profile.” Creepy, why were you looking me up on Facebook?

“Did you know that we have 25 LinkedIn groups in common?” Kind of weird. Why do you remember that detail? And is that pertinent to our sales conversation?

“Your content is so good on Twitter. I retweet everything you say.” Eek! Tone down the eagerness, bucko!

7. Develop your skills.

Some people are naturally suave and debonair. They were born with an innate ability to charm the socks off of people. Others need time to cultivate their dating skills.

Don’t expect to be immediately good at social selling. It might take some time for you to develop your talents. Be patient. With time and some coaching, you’ll find the right prospect at the right time.

Want more social selling tips?

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