You can be a master at social networking, an expert at building relationships, and have established a ton of credibility, but if you don’t use the influence you’ve built to ask for what you want, it’s not going to bring you much business.
I spend a lot of time on this blog telling you NOT to slam your friends with sales and opportunity posts. And it’s valid counsel. People do not come to social networks to be sold, and when you do so, you come across as a spammer that people avoid. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be asking for what you want in the appropriate places. Learning the balance between being social and asking in the right way is the final key to using social media successfully for your business.
So how do you do that? How do you ask for what you want without spamming?
Well first, you need to have a way to keep track of the people that DO want information about your business. This can be a newsletter list, a Facebook Group or Page, etc. When you have something to offer, be it a monthly special, the opportunity, etc, make sure that you let this group know. You might write a post such as:
I know you all love great deals! That’s why you joined this group. I’m so excited to share with you this month’s special. Check out the dangle earrings for 50% off when you host a show! If you’ve been thinking about hosting, now’s the perfect time. Shoot me a private message and I’ll hook you up!
Now this is one part of the equation: the general shout-out. It’s done in an opt-in area where people have requested business information. But it’s not the only part. The next step is the individual invitations.
These can be done in two different ways: in the context of an online conversation, or through a private message to an individual. This is where all those listening skills you’ve been developing over the past few months really pay off. Let’s take a look at offering something in context first:
You: Sounds amazing! What color are you going to wear?
Sarah: Well, it’s a black and white ball, so I’m going for an all-black floor length gown.
You: WOW! You’ll look stunning! Have you got the jewels to go with it?
Sarah: Oh, I don’t have anything that fancy. Guess I need to shop for those too!
You: I can help you find the perfect bling to complete your look, and help you get it for free. Want to schedule a party?
Sarah: Well you certainly can’t beat free. And since I’ll already be springing for the dress, I won’t have a lot extra for bling. I can probably get something nicer if I host a party. Let’s schedule something after I pick out my dress.
Notice that this wasn’t a general status announcement. Rather, it was a targeted conversation, in response to something that the prospect said. The only way you will be able to take advantages of situations like these is by paying attention. That’s why it’s so important to monitor the conversations on your friend lists regularly, and chime in now and then. This way, people know who you are, and are used to hearing from you.
Now let’s look at the second way to ask for what you want: The private message. Before we jump into this, I want to caution you. I see WAY too many people abuse the private message. If you do not already have an established relationship with someone, do not use the private message to pitch to them. They’re likely to block you. But if someone has heard from you regularly, or perhaps done business with you before, a private message can be a nice follow up. One more note: this does not REPLACE a personal phone call if you can manage it. You will always get better results on the phone than you will through an electronic message.
Let’s take a look at the context in which a private message might work:
You’ve been reading the status updates from your previous customer list. You had approached Mark about the opportunity before, but he was much too busy. You’ve stayed in touch, occasionally commenting on pictures of his kids, his “guy weekends” away, etc.
Mark mentions in a status update that he’s been laid off from his job. In public, you offer your sympathy, and ask what he’s going to do next. He says he’s not sure yet. He’s applied a few places, but hasn’t had much luck finding something new yet.
Now is an opportunity to send Mark a private message, saying something like:
Mark, I know you mentioned you were laid off a few weeks ago, and are looking for something new. As I mentioned to you a few months ago, I started working with my company after I got laid off. I thought I’d do it until I could find something full time, but with enough time and effort, I’ve been able to replace my income, and spend more time with my kids. If you’re looking to do something to bring in some income while looking for a full-time job, this might be a good solution for you. Do you want to schedule some time to talk?
See how the message draws on previous conversations, and relates to what is currently happening in the individual’s life? This is no form letter. Rather, it’s personal, which is what we need to do as direct sellers. It’s built upon the relationship we’ve already established with the person. This is a message that’s a lot more likely to lead to a successful interaction.
We can’t assume that the people we interact with on a daily basis on our social networks will convert into sales and recruits without us asking them to. You must be willing to take that final step appropriately, in order to achieve the business results you’re seeking.
What do you think? Do you ask for the sale online? How? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.