Are You the Internets New Door to Door Sales Person?

I just got another new connection on LinkedIn. No sooner had I sent a message of thanks to the person, I immediately got a reply trying to sell me a service. Really!!! That is how you present yourself? I equate this to walking up to a person on the street and saying “hi how are you”, and the person replies; “hey do I have a great product/service to sell you”. Meet the new door to door sales person! The nice thing is that on the internet, it is so much easier to slam the door on the person’s foot.

The door to door sales person has gone the way of all extinct species, so why is it that some of the most professional people think that it is OK to revive it in a social setting? Because one of us out of 1,000 relied and they made a sale. They believe if they send enough messages, something has to click regardless. They don’t stop to think that their batting average is .001; they just know they got a sale and ROI doesn’t factor in their evaluation of their investment. As long as they get one out of 1,000, they are happy.

If this is how you sell today, the new rules for emailing in the European Union will be bad news for you. General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will be implemented on May 25, 2018. The European Union is bringing in extremely strict rules for email spamming and companies and individuals will be subject to significant fines:

  • a fine up to 10000000 EUR or up to 2% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater, where there has been an infringement of the following provisions (Article 83, Paragraph 4[18]):
    • the obligations of the controller and the processor pursuant to Articles 8, 11, 25 to 39 and 42 and 43,
    • the obligations of the certification body pursuant to Articles 42 and 43,
    • the obligations of the monitoring body pursuant to Article 41(4).
  • a fine up to 20000000 EUR or up to 4% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater, where there has been an infringement of the following provisions: (Article 83, Paragraph 5 & 6[18]).
    • the basic principles for processing, including conditions for consent, pursuant to Articles 5, 6, 7 and 9,
    • the data subjects’ rights pursuant to Articles 12 to 22,
    • the transfers of personal data to a recipient in a third country or an international organisation pursuant to Articles 44 to 49,
    • any obligations pursuant to Member State law adopted under Chapter IX,
    • non-compliance with an order or a temporary or definitive limitation on processing or the suspension of data flows by the supervisory authority pursuant to Article 58(2) or failure to provide access in violation of Article 58(1)

OK I know you are in North America and we don’t have those rules here. We will!! The more that people continue to send replies like the one I mentioned above, the more likely we are to get strict regulations. So, what should we be doing to ensure that when we want to sell our product the message will actually be heard? The following suggestions will help you in your efforts:

1. Create a Professional Image

In the same way that we dress for success, you need to create an online professional image that resonates with prospective customers. Be a person and create a relationship. When you walk into a prospective buyer’s office, you don’t walk in and act all stiff and business. You engage them, you begin a relationship and then at the right moment you get down to business. Do the same online, be a person, tell people who you are and something about you. Draw them in so that they will want to learn more about you.

2. Become Known as the Expert

In the new world of Social Buying companies are looking for people who are experts. Remember, they do not know you yet. The way to become relevant is to write articles about your industry and build your reputation as an expert. Don’t sell, become the knowledge broker. Be sure to share content as well. Re-share and Retweet articles about your industry and inform people. Buyers want to deal with experts and doing this will raise your profile.

3. Listen to the Customer

Go to your current customer web sites and prospective customer sites and see what they are saying and then develop content that speaks to their need. Once you have posted the content it will be seen and you will move up the food chain in their decision making.

4. Use Groups and Lists

Both LinkedIn and Twitter offer groups (LinkedIn) and lists (Twitter) to allow you to engage with people of similar interest. Join them and develop content to post there.

5. Research for Prospective Customers

Find prospective customers on various sites and make connections. Don’t sell! Look at their profiles and find something other than business you have in common to engage about. The same as you would do if meeting them in person for the first time. Build the relationship. They will ask you to engage on the business when they are comfortable doing so.

6. Monitor the Competition

What are they doing? Who are they connected to? Who is following them and who are they following? What articles are they posting? Get in front and make yourself known to the same audience.

These are a few tactics of many that can help you get the sale, but please don’t follow the door to door sales person technique, not if you want to build longevity into your career. One last tip; read up on GDPR and avoid problems by doing things right and now.

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