All Selling Is Social

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When I was growing up, I can remember my parents referring to certain people as “antisocial”. I discovered that they were referring to people who disliked interacting with others. Typically, these were neighbors who ignored us when we drove by or didn’t acknowledge us when we were in our yard, and they were in theirs.

Later on in life, I discovered another ‘social’ descriptor- socially awkward.  This referred to people who often said the wrong thing at the wrong time or the wrong thing. Inappropriate jokes or comments, or generally being tone-deaf when in a conversation or room or among a group of people.

Then there are those who are ‘relationally social’ or just plain socially aware.  These are the folks we call a ‘people person’, they are the life of the party and are always serving others and connecting others.  They know things about people that no one else knows, because they take the time to get to know them and they listen- not to respond but to understand.

Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social. Jay Baer

My experience on social (and particularly LinkedIn) recently leads me to believe that all selling is indeed social, and some of that social isn’t a great thing.

If you’re using social to try and find new clients to sell to, keep in mind what category here you fall into.  Are you being antisocial, are you being socially awkward or are you being relationally social?  Your results using digital platforms like LinkedIn to prospect and market/sell to your clients are a direct result of which category you fall into.  Let me explain…


Activities on LinkedIn that can be considered antisocial are actions you take where you’re not truthful and forthright.  I don’t believe most people want to lie or even bend the truth.  But there is a body of training out there that says one way to get into people’s good graces is to compliment them.

So you reach out and tell someone you’re impressed by their profile or that you love and/or really enjoy their content.  But the thing is, you’ve never really looked at their profile, and you haven’t read or consumed any of their content.

Another action that is not only antisocial but also can be socially awkward is trying to sell people right away, and/or offer to connect them to people in your network.  The antisocial aspect is when you try and sell me something I do not need, and it’s like, “I feel like you don’t even know me at all!”

Because you don’t… something in my profile put me on your list, and you blasted a load of In Mails and/or DM’s, and now you’re hoping and praying that some of that mud you threw up against the wall will stick.  This makes me think that you’re not interested in helping me as much as your quota and wallet.


Right up front the most socially awkward and wrong thing you can do on here is to use the platform like a dating site.  Men, women aren’t here for you to hit on them, to slide into their DM’s and tell them they are pretty and ask if they are single.  I know women that purposefully have to keep their profile picture set to just first degree connections because of this behavior.  It’s awkward and I don’t think men realize that this makes women feel devalued and even fearful.  STOP IT!  Ladies, if you’re getting these types of messages please block the person and report them!

Men also receive these types of messages, but I think they are more related to hackers attempting to gain information through flattery.  In the last couple of months I’ve received a number of InMails from females of a certain ethnicity that tell me who impressed they are with my resumé and/or my profile and how they want to be my friend.

Then there are  those that use LinkedIn as a database rather than a human base and they send messages, pitches and connection requests just based on some information on a profile that may or may not be true.

Lastly, probably one of the most often socially awkward actions people take (aside from pitching all the time) is to refer to mutual connections as a reason to accept their connection request.

Here’s the thing, most of us on LinkedIn don’t know all of our connections.  So, this is another ‘throw away’ saying that people use to try and gain some favor.  But if I don’t know any of the people who we share as connections, this is a weak and awkward way to connect with me.  Oftentimes people will use this line and say we have connections (plural) in common and we only have one.  This probably means they are either using automated messages or are copying and pasting- I don’t feel special… I don’t feel like they want to be social- I feel like I’m a target on their prospect list.


Let’s face it: if we want to build relationships, we have to be social!  Social doesn’t have to mean being close friends and doesn’t mean meeting face-to-face.  Today, I can meet people from anywhere in the world and be social with them to establish a relationship.  Will that be a business relationship?  I won’t know until after we’ve talked.

Being relationally social on LinkedIn means we seek a context to connect with them.  Actually, read their profile and only tell them you’re impressed when you actually are and tell them what impressed you.  If they are creating content, read/watch/listen to their content and engage on it authentically.  If you have mutual connections, reach out to those you know well and ask how they know the person.  This will allow you to ask them to make the introduction. I’ve never turned down a connection request when the person was introduced to me or said that someone I knew well said we should connect.

Can’t find a context to connect? Follow them and click the ‘ring bell’ feature (which will notify you when they post), and look for an opportunity to connect.  Look at their company’s or business’s LinkedIn page and engage in their content.

Now, that can be the easy part.  What do you do after they accept?  That will be covered in more detail in another post, but for now, I want you to remember- we’re being social.  For every social action, there would be a social reaction.  You reach out and ask to connect, and they accept. Doesn’t it make sense to send them something back?? Like a thank you?? That’s where you start to build the relationship.

Do you need help being relationally social here on LinkedIn?

Click HERE and schedule a call with me, I’m happy to talk through a few tips that might help you stop being ANTISOCIAL or SOCIALLY AWKWARD and get you on the path to be relationally social!


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