The Truth About LinkedIn Social Selling Software
The automation of fake sincerity destroys your credibility. Can we agree on that? Whether you're dating or trying to influence a new customer, fake sincerity is deadly stuff. Yet mainstream social selling (marketing) software roars forward — violating LinkedIn's terms and conditions, and every ounce of what Dale Carnegie taught us about winning friends and influencing people.
The Faking of Sincerity
If you're not familiar with the faking of sincerity … well you're living under a rock.
“I get emails all the time from companies that sell browser extensions and apps for use on LinkedIn,” says Bruce Johnston, who advises sellers on these issues.
Johnston says the idea is that you can automate and scale up your interaction with others by getting the extension or app to do the work for you.
“Apps will view profiles, invite people with certain keywords or titles to connect, automatically send them welcome messages when they accept, automatically endorse them, automatically send them congratulatory messages when they have a birthday, work anniversary or change jobs, and automatically send sales messages to large swaths of your connections.”
Now I don't want to offend my dear readers but I must ask, point blank, do you think:
- Faking interest in prospects is smart?
- Automating the faking of your interest will work?
If you do, how long until your target customers catch on? How long until they get inundated with fake sincerity coming from sales people and stop falling victim to your false signals of interest in them?
Why Would Sellers Fake Sincerity?
Scale. Automation. It's the dirty promise of all things digital.
What's the result of the automating of faked sincerity? Johnston says sellers want to a better way to scale — to start a relationship with a connection without having to go to the trouble of knowing something about them.
People are lazy. I get it. But robotic nonsense like this? Too many smart people are falling for this dangerous gimmick.
In a recent post on LinkedIn, Johnston says, “Doesn’t anyone find it ironic when these (automation) companies say: 'We will automatically look at 500 profiles, scrape the data from the profiles, then automatically accept invitations to connect sent your way, and send the new connection a welcome message. It’s the ultimate in social selling!”
He rightly asks, “Wait a second, where was the social part? How social is it when you are starting off your relationship with someone by conning them?”
What's the Harm?
Using “relationship starting” marketing automation software cheapens the user experience for everyone on LinkedIn. It also violates LinkedIn's terms & conditions. But it gets worse for you. Because this practice introduces the element of doubt in your interactions with people.
“Is that really you who sent that message or your bot? Was that you who sent me a 'welcome to my LinkedIn network' message or a browser extension?” asks Johnston.
If you send a real message of thanks to someone who commented on one of your posts, will they see the headline and assume it as another piece of app-generated spam?
That's the harm, brothers and sisters.
It's a Plague
“It's a plague that has affected too many sales organizations,” says Blake J. Harber of Lucid Software Inc. “The plague of social selling and email only strategy. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of hearing about it.”
After providing a summary of his team's recent, non-social-selling achievements, Harber offers prescriptions to cure the plague: Train your team how to cold call. Give them a vision and a means to forecast to it.
“Build a forecasting tool based on their personal numbers that breaks down every step of the sales process. You can track these from closed won business down to the very first cold call. This way they can adjust their goal & see exactly how many calls they need to make weekly/monthly to hit their goal.”
Johnston says, “The hot tactic I see in social selling is the trigger ploy where someone tries to leverage a 'Congratulations!' on your new job/work anniversary/birthday into something that is more than a 'Congratulations.'”
Johnston also explains that it has gotten to the point where one of his connection's inbox got so clogged with garbage congratulations that he ignored all messages.
“Now he has stopped using LinkedIn messaging period,” says Johnston. “He showed me his inbox the other day, and was quite proud it now had over 500 unread and never will be read messages.”
A Blended Approach
“Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of 'social selling.' But I believe in a blended approach,” says Harber.
In reaction to Harber, Marc Zazeela of APC Postal Logistics says, “The plague is more like fear of the phone. So many sales pros fear it because they have not been adequately trained. True, you can send more emails, more quickly, than you can make calls. The key is in the effectiveness.”
I may get in trouble for saying this, but these days any fool can dupe a potential buyer into listening to their message. Grabbing at attention and promptly losing it is relatively easy.
The money is in interruption.
Success in sales is about potential buyers stopping, and not just listening—asking for more details about what you just said.
Asking, essentially, for another date because they became curious. Because they were provoked by what you just said. Your interruption was graceful and effective.
What has your experience been?