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BLOGIs Social Networking supposed to sell?

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Blogging, Business Development, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Networking, TrustTagged as: ,

Consider these Tipsheets: there are over 650 of them, and they certainly don’t “sell” anything.  Each week, I give away a small nugget of information, and tie it to an immediate action.  These non-salesy Tipsheets, like the vast majority of blogs, are designed to credentialize expertise and build trust, slowly over time.

Interestingly, I recently received an email from a reader saying that he was about to unsubscribe, but he wanted to give me “a chance” and explain why, in person.  As this reader was in the same city as I was, I took him up on his offer to meet for a coffee.

Beyond the introductions and pleasantries, he then immediately went into a high pressure sales pitch for their marketing services.  As the service wasn’t needed, the meeting ended relatively quickly.  And there was no follow-up email or phone call from him after the meeting.  A few weeks later this person unsubscribed.  I didn’t really shed any tears for the loss.

Lessons learned:

  • Developing relationships takes time, both in the real world and online.  Trying to make a quick sale over coffee is great if you’re selling coffee, but bad if you’re selling something more complex – like anything.
  • Bait-and-Switch is a bad networking strategy.  If the invitation to meet is for one purpose, don’t trot out something different.
  • A blog is a great place to develop and explore ideas over a longer term.  And in so doing, a blog is also a great place to develop trust.
  • Follow-up after a network meeting is critical.  Like the blog, a real-life meeting and a follow-up email are merely steps up the Trust Curve.

Social Media can be used to sell, but one of the most effective strategies has to be Give to Get;  the sale will take place, but only when you’ve demonstrated your expertise, earned the trust, and the buyer is ready to buy – which may take years.


Where does your blog fit on the sell/no-sell continuum?  If you’re not happy with it there, make a change.  If you don’t blog, look back at your favorite blog (besides this one!) and evaluate it: where does it fit on the continuum?  And how would you feel if it was changed?

Meta:  It’s ironic that the precise person who should have read this post will not, since he has unsubscribed

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