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2 more social networking errors to avoid

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“Aren’t you afraid clients won’t need you?” A colleague asked me this question when I told him I was including my entire referral process in my first book No More Cold Calling. Yes, I was giving everything away — my content, my best ideas, a process that took years to perfect. 

Why? Because if you’ve reached the top of your game, you’ve gotten there because you’ve helped others along the way. You’ve shared tips and ideas, told clients when they were going down the wrong path, suggested articles and books and (gasp!) even given them access to your intellectual property. These days, we don’t call this “giving stuff away.” It’s social engagement, and it’s how you become a trusted resource. Put simply: By giving freely to our prospects, we give them reasons to buy from us.

Social selling works only if you’re social without trying to sell. No pitching, no inviting people to connect with you on LinkedIn just so you can pitch them, and no spamming people just because you belong to the same LinkedIn group. That’s not selling, it’s obnoxious.

Here are two more social engagement mistakes salespeople make: 

Forgetting to nurture your network

It’s easy to get caught up in developing new relationships and forget about existing ones — until we need something. Big mistake! We all know people who reach out only when they want something, who drop off the face of the Earth until they need a referral or want an introduction to someone in your network. You don’t want to be one of those people.

Once you’ve done the groundwork to earn someone’s trust and friendship, don’t waste that effort by neglecting to stay in touch. Reach out to everyone in your professional network on a semi-regular basis. Find out what’s going on with them. Ask how you can help. Share your insights and offer introductions to others with whom they might develop mutually beneficial relationships. And only then ask for referrals.

Being too “social” to socialize 

Remember the days when people accepted every last LinkedIn invitation? We felt special and included. It was like we were back in high school, vying for acceptance and popularity. Any invite was a good invite.

Selling, however, is about building relationships, not having the most LinkedIn connections. For social selling to work, it’s not enough just to grow your networks. You must also nurture them. That means putting in the time and effort online. It also means eventually taking those sales conversations offline and making the in-person connections that really count.

Helping others — whether they’re clients, prospects or colleagues — will not detract from your own success. It will add to it.

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