I come from the sales world. I grew up professionally around salespeople. My friends are salespeople. At the core I’m a sales guy and proud of it.
So salespeople, listen to me when I tell you this.
Most of you are killing your credibility on social media instead of building it. And trust is a key ingredient in becoming a Sales Sherpa™ for your network.
Don’t Brag About Your Wins on Social
One of the biggest mistakes that sales professionals make on social is being all about “me, me, me”. If you only talked about yourself (your successes, your opinions, your needs) in the offline world, you wouldn’t be very effective in creating relationships. Your prospects and clients would think you were a cocky braggart. The same holds true in the online world.
I see this all of the time when salespeople post about their sales successes. It’s important that you frame your online shares in the right context.
For example, most organizations have sales contests where the payoff is a trip to an exotic or tropical locale. These are the rewards that make hours of phone calls and rejection after rejection palatable. The VP of Sales has a 30-minute “keynote” and then you sit in the sun for the rest of the week.
When you are sitting by the pool holding a fruity cocktail with an umbrella in it, you’ll want to share. But you have to position it the right way, or you’ll alienate your network (i.e. your prospects and customers) and make it all the harder to win the trip next year.
Social Media Scales Your Personal Brand
Whether you’ve done it on purpose, whether you realize it or not, you are connected with your clients, your prospects, and your centers of influence on social media.
They are going to see your updates. They will see your Tweets, Instagram pictures, and Facebook posts. And there’s a good chance that they aren’t salespeople and they don’t get to go to cool places just for doing their job.
You think that you’re saying, “Look at how successful I am, aren’t you glad the salesperson you deal with is super-successful. That means I do good things for my clients.”
They really think, “Wow, did you gouge me on our last deal to make your quota so you could go on that trip? You went to Maui and I had my boss ream me out at our quarterly meeting for going over budget. Jackass.”
And for some reason they are a lot cooler towards you during your next sales call…
You are always posting for a public audience, no matter how good your privacy settings are. You have to be much more intentional with your communication on social media. Be sure to consider how all of your audiences are going to perceive your messages.
Your customers want you to be successful, but they also want to feel like they had a hand in that success. Don’t make it all about yourself and you’ll find that social media platforms help in building up your client relationships, not pulling them down.
Share the Credit with Your Customers
You can still post about your victories, but pepper some gratitude and humility into your post:
The wrong way to post about a sales success:
“Look at how awesome this place is! I achieved President’s Club for the year by being 147% of quota and was flown first class to attend our Sales Trip Extravaganza. I worked my tail off getting every last piece of business in on time. This is the baller life!”
The right way to post about a sales success:
“I’m so excited to have been invited to our company’s top-performer trip this year. It’s great to work with a company that shows appreciation for its people. I know the real reason I’m here is because I get to work with amazing customers – it means a lot to me that they are willing to entrust their technology needs to me. Thank you everyone!”
If you think about how your audience is going to perceive your message and what they need to hear, you can harness online tools to build your client relationships, even when you are sitting by the beach on your company trip!