Social Sellers take note: Before you reach out and pitch your business, I beg you, do this ONE thing first.

In today’s world of Social Media and Social Selling, using proper online ‘netiquette’ is crucial.

When it comes to making new connections on LinkedIn, my number one tip is: Build a network based on QUALITY connections and my second tip is: Always send a personalized connection request.

I believe that having a network of quality connections is crucial for most professionals because:

  • I am better qualified to introduce mutual connections in my network if I know both parties.
  • I only want to read status updates from people I know, or want to get to know.
  • If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.

I’m not saying that I only accept connection request from people I’ve actually met in person. In fact, I’ve connected with a lot of people I’ve never met face-to-face, but for each and every new connection I’ve made, I’ve always had an online conversation with them.

Even though we are connecting device-to-device, we are fundamentally connecting with human beings. We don’t go to a network meeting and exchange business cards without a conversation, so I believe we should treat online networking the same way.

When I make a new connection on LinkedIn I will do one of the following:

  1. Send them a personalized connection request to let them know how we know each other/how we met.
  2. Look through their profile to look for icebreakers such as mutual acquaintances, if we are alumni at the same school, or belong to the same organizations.
  3. Ask the person who has sent a generic inbound request to “refresh my memory if we’ve met before”. (This way, the onus is on the person to qualify why they are reaching out)
  4. Accept the person’s invitation request and follow up with a message to say “Thanks for connecting here on LinkedIn. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your business better. Let me know if I we can connect for a call or coffee sometime”.

Social Selling is a new buzz term that enables you to have a line-of-sight with your target audience using online tools such as LinkedIn. Using the right kind of strategy and the right etiquette, you can convert and upsell your clients.

Here’s what you don’t do. Never, EVER pitch from the get-go.

The following is a screen grab from someone who recently reached out with a personalized connection request.

Had this person taken ten seconds to skim my LinkedIn profile, they would have seen that I have published a book.

Have you ever heard the saying “People love to buy, but they hate to be sold”?

In this information-based economy, you and your clients have all sorts of information at your fingertips. Access to information is beneficial because there are opportunities to find commonalities and relevance with your connections.

It’s important for ever social seller to realize that your clients are more empowered, knowledgeable, connected, skeptical, and critical than ever before. Your prospects can Google you to see if they might trust you. They can compare you against your competitors to see if you are uniquely qualified to help them.

This is why it’s crucial to focus on THEM. What do THEY want? You cannot sell to someone if they have no need or want for your products or services. And nothing ticks people off more, than a pushy salesperson who is focused on their own self-interest then they are about being of service to their clients.

Building relationships take time. There is no secret playbook that will automatically convert a client. You need to collaborate with your prospects and nudge them along the path to purchase by sharing the right information, at the right time.

Social Sellers I beg you, lead with an attitude of generosity, and BEFORE you reach out and pitch your business, determine if the recipient has a need before you begin your pitch.

NOW it’s YOUR turn: What do YOU think? What ways have you leveraged LinkedIn and other channels to see if your prospects had a need before you pitched your services?



Leslie Hughes is a LinkedIn Optimization Specialist, Professor of Social Media, Corporate Trainer, Principal of PUNCH!media and author of “CREATE. CONNECT. CONVERT”

Called a “Social Media Guru” by CBC Radio and featured on CTV’s “The Social” discussing how to manage your digital identity, Leslie has been working in digital marketing since 1997 and founded PUNCH!media in 2009. Leslie’s goal (and passion) is to help empower professionals to use channels like LinkedIn to build their brand and convert higher-paying clients.

PUNCH!media clients include Investment Planning Counsel, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and TVO.

About Leslie Hughes

Leslie Hughes is a LinkedIn Optimization Specialist, Professor of Social Media, Corporate Trainer, Principal of PUNCH!media and author of “CREATE. CONNECT. CONVERT” Leslie was called a "Social Media Guru" by CBC Radio and was featured on CTV’s “The Social” discussing how to manage your digital identity. Leslie has been working in digital marketing since 1997 and founded PUNCH!media in 2009. PUNCH!media clients include Investment Planning Counsel, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and TVO. PUNCH!media's goal is to empower through education and help executives gain confidence in their online presence so you convert higher-paying clients. www.punchmedia.ca

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