Social Selling Tips of the Week: Keeping it Real

In this week’s roundup of social selling tips, learn how to stay out of LinkedIn jail, leave the perfect voicemail, and the best way to establish credibility.

February 27, 2015


One of the least pleasant social interactions you can have is getting stuck in a conversation with a total phony. They suck you in because, from a distance, they may look like the life of the party. They’re laughing, slapping people on the shoulder, and they have a smile for everyone.

But once you engage in conversation, it becomes clear: They want to sell you on something and won’t let you leave until their pitch is through. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “can’t-miss” investment, a direct-marketing “opportunity,” a wellness program, or they are just trying to convince you of their awesome-ness. They’re not interested in you except as a convert. And you can’t get away fast enough.

One of the great things about social selling is that it encourages and rewards being genuinely interested people. Those sales reps who insist on talking at people will lose out to sales pros who bring empathy and insight to the conversation. This week’s social selling tips are all about helping you win over potential prospects by keeping it real.

Sales Tips: How to Stay out of LinkedIn Jail

Management Consultant Alice Heiman is tired of seeing people self-promoting and using overt selling tactics on LinkedIn. She says that bad behavior is “just as undesirable as someone going around at a networking event shoving cards at you and trying to sell you on the spot.”

Heiman provides a few tips for being genuine on LinkedIn, including an introduction to the 6/3/1 rule for content sharing versus self-promotion. In the end, Heiman encourages sales professionals to “Use LinkedIn to connect with people and develop strong relationships.” That kind of keeping it real, Heiman says, makes people more “open to the times when you do share a product or program you’d like them to buy.”

6 Tips to Leave the Perfect Sales Voicemail

In his post on Hubspot’s sales blog, sales executive and entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman offers advice on how sales professionals can keep it real when leaving a voicemail. Of course, any discussion surrounding voicemail in the modern selling era begs the question: With email and InMail options at your disposal, why leave voicemails at all? Hoffman answers that “responses to voicemails are generally richer and demonstrate a greater level of interest [than email responses].” So it’s worth taking the time to get voicemails right.

Hoffman walks sellers through creating a voicemail that’s more likely to get a favorable response. He covers everything from the ideal length of the message to introduction, content, and closing. His last tip especially points out the importance of being genuine. Hoffman says, “Salespeople are often coached to sound enthusiastic and excited on the phone, thus raising their natural voice pitch to a high, unnatural tone…this tone of voice makes it clear to the listener that not only is this an uncomfortable call, but a generic one.” He encourages sales professionals to use their natural tone of voice to avoid sounding phony.

Establishing Credibility

Partners in EXCELLENCE President Dave Brock brings it home with his post about establishing credibility with potential clients. He warns against the “misguided view that to establish credibility, we have to prove ourselves, focusing on who we are, who our company is, and what we sell.” According to Brock, this approach feels formulaic and generic, and is rarely convincing.

Rather than putting the spotlight on themselves, Brock argues that “Great sales people establish their credibility by demonstrating their knowledge of the customer-the enterprise and the individual, the issues they are facing or likely to be facing.” For Brock, customer-centric social selling is the ultimate way a sales professional can keep it real.