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Are You Overselling on Social Media?

By Sander Biehn | Jul 26, 2017

The dreaded oversell! You’re pushing too hard. Looking to create a lead out of thin air and fill your funnel. So, you send that one additional unwanted email or leave a message with that hurried sales pitch. In the end, you are only harming yourself. Don’t do it.  But what about social media? It’s less intrusive, right? Do you have more leeway to push harder inside of social?

My sources say, no!

I was talking to a senior principal at a well-known research company yesterday. I was telling her about social selling and how it is helping sales people meet targets. She began bemoaning a salesperson who had just left her a third unwelcome advance via LinkedIn.  “That’s not helping,” she told me.

I agree.

Just like with any oversell in person, by phone or by email, tactics like this ignore some basic premises of selling:

a) Focus on the needs of your clients, not yourself

b) Gain respect first before talking about your solutions

c) Listen more than you talk

All of this should be obvious. So why is overselling still being done everywhere on LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media?

Salespeople want social media to solve all their problems. They want social media to be different. They want relationships to work differently on social. Unfortunately, they do not. In fact, the public nature of social media may mean that by overselling to one prospect you may damage your reputation in such a way that you are barred from future connections to others in that social circle.

Salespeople figure social media is more forgiving. Here’s some news: it’s the exact opposite. You can be forgiven for a bad personal email or an ugly encounter by phone. However, social media has a way of punishing the disrespectful in a shaming and damning way. We see the examples every day. Careers are built and also destroyed on social media. If anything, social media has to be handled with an even lighter touch.

So, what’s a sales person to do? Social media shouldn’t be scary. It offers a bigger upside for the same reasons it offers such terrifying downsides. If you become known as someone who solves customer’s problems your reputation will soar and reach new prospects you haven’t even conceived of. By focusing on client needs and gaining the respect of your clients before you start your pitch, you can participate in the all the positives that social media has to offer while avoiding all the negative territory.

Above all don’t oversell on social media. The consequences could be far worse.



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