3 Tips – Request to Engage, Not to Sell

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By Babette N. Ten Haken

How do you regard each Social Connection on social platforms? Is your objective to create a virtual prospecting list for yourself, especially on LinkedIn and Twitter?

It’s time to re-think your social business strategy. Your targeted “social prospects” are wise to your actions. They are jaded about this approach.

Before you “reach out” to one more “personality of interest”, here are 3 tips.

Tip 1 – What business value does having you as a Social Connection offer the person you are connecting with?

This is the social version of “What’s in it for Me.” Smart folks will validate you. If your profile is incomplete, your avatar is non-existent or an out-of-focus vacation pic, you lack credibility. Your profile might even be false. If 10 of my social connections are your social connections, that doesn’t buy you credibility either. Your motivations might purely be to collect trophy social connections or have more followers than your friends have. That’s not engaging.

Tip 2 – False flattery isn’t a valid premise to connect.

I receive many requests to connect on social media platforms. The individual tells me: “I like your blog. I like the way you write.” Most of the time the individual uses LinkedIn boilerplate verbiage: no engagement there. Their request indicates they haven’t read my professional profile. Smart folks are skeptical about your flattery. They understand that their professional connections and network are valuable to them, to their own professional credibility and to their own business engagement activities. Why should they share with you?

Tip 3 – Asking for a social connection is not permission to solicit or ask for a referral.

If I accept a relationship and the next communication I receive is a sales pitch, I immediately delete the profile. That’s where your social connection strategy discredits your professional credibility. There’s nothing collaborative or innovative in that skewed approach. It’s all about what I can do for you. Engage me, don’t sell me.

If you are falling short on gaining social traction, revisit your motives for social connection. Demonstrate a clear understanding of who that person is before you connect. Work on engaging that individual. Establish your professional credibility in the process.

About Babette N. Ten Haken

Babette is President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, a management consultant and business coach. She helps startups and small-to-medium manufacturing and service companies who have difficulty with unpredictable revenue streams. Top Sales World named Babette Ten Haken a Top 50 Influencer and Top 50 Blogger in 2013 and 2014. This article first appeared in the November 3 edition of Top Sales World magazine

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