To Sell or Not to Sell in the Online World

Discussion about how to “build relationships” in the online world and what’s acceptable in terms of “how to sell your stuff” seems to be on the rise lately. That’s to be expected I suppose, especially when you see some fairly obvious multi-level marketing tactics being displayed. It is a quandary I guess, isn’t it?

The whole idea of using social media/social networking from a sales point of view is to build relationships that lead to sales. Done right, I totally believe using social media helps you to better qualify leads and shrink the sales process. That’s all good and helps you to build your business. But notice that I said “done right”. What a conundrum. If you “sell from the podium” you risk trashing your brand. And if you don’t, what’s the point of being online if you can’t convert your activity into sales?

Good questions. I don’t know if I have the “right” answers…I just have my perspective.

In over 25 years of professional selling, I can honestly say that blatant self promotion has never been in vogue. Ever. Done in the online space, it’s worse.

What leads to people to…

  • Ask questions that they then answer by talking about how great they are? We are not fooled!
  • Answer questions and not actually contribute to the dialog, but just yak, yak, yak about themselves and their products?
  • Provide answers to questions that are clearly a push to their affiliate site? At least be honest about what you are doing.  Are you really that desperate?
  • Pretend they are trying to provide value, but then they manage to “sneak in” their own stuff. Please – do you think we can’t tell?
  • Not even answer the question at all, but instead sell their product instead. For example, in a recent LinkedIn group the question was “we are evaluating Achieve Global. Have you used their programs and what do you think?” This wasn’t a request for people to “pitch” their competitive product, but out of the first 5 responses – 4 did exactly that. Disgraceful!

I don’t know. Is it really that tough to just want to be in service to others knowing that you’ll get your just desserts at some other point? My belief is in the “do unto others” model…I don’t pollute the dialog with my sales pitch…maybe you could refrain from yours.

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