Jack Kosakowski in Sales and Marketing, Social Media, Marketing CEO of US Division • Creation Agency Mar 30, 2017 · 2 min read · 1.4K

Why Social Selling is Like Dating: How to Find a Relationship that Works

Why Social Selling is Like Dating: How to Find a Relationship that Works

This might sound a little crazy, but I think it’s true: Social selling is a lot like dating. Think about it. One of the most important decisions we ever make happens when we try to find someone to spend the rest of our lives with. Finding the right person for any relationship is important, and that includes business contacts as well as romantic commitments.

Dating can be a long and somewhat grueling process, but it’s necessary in order to find the right person. It sometimes includes dealing with deception, lies, and broken promises. I know I wasted lots of time and energy back in my dating days! Every time I thought I’d found the perfect fit, I realized I was wrong (until I met my wife, of course). We learn a lot through dating, because it allows us to gain experience through trial and error.

This search is similar to the process of finding the right business partner. As salespeople, we need to remember this. Our prospects spend a lot of time and energy researching, reading, testing, and trying to cut through the sales jargon to find the right solutions. Our customers are looking for long-term commitments with companies that have a vested interest in their future success. They can do without the fast talk, shiny suits, and insincere charm.

People don’t marry a partner they don’t trust (at least, I hope they don’t), and no prospect is going to purchase from a company they don’t trust (no matter how shiny the solution seems to be, or how charming the sales rep is). Long-term relationships thrive on transparency and sustenance, not talk and flash.

On Being Selective

Most of us have relied on a friend (or more recently, an online dating service) to set us up with dating candidates. It’s tempting to dive in and start dating anyone who looks remotely interesting. But that rarely works out (at least, it never worked out for me).

The same is true when it comes to prospecting new opportunities. Quit relying on your company to give you all your leads! Start building relationships on your own, and make sure you’re super-selective about who you spend your time with. The friend or manager who told you that it was about quantity over quality needs to get with the times. That is a dialing-for-dollars mentality and it doesn’t seem to be working anymore. Your buyers don’t want to feel like they’re just a number you reached randomly. They want to be treated as if they were the one and only. And in today’s competitive marketplace, they have every right to feel that way.

Online Dating vs. Online Buying

Think of it this way: Match.com pairs couples up only after they capture a whole lot of relevant information about them. This way, they try to make sure they aren’t wasting anyone’s time. If you’re in sales, this approach is critical. Are you making sure you do your research on the leads you’re given before you call and try to get them to buy? If not, you might get rejected faster than the pick-up artist on the street.

The thing is, there is enough information out there about your buyers to help you understand who is a good fit and who is not before you pick up that phone. Don’t waste their time or yours. Take the time to make sure that you’re going after the right match.

Using Social Media

Social media has evolved into a paradise for buyers and sellers. We now know who our buyers are, what they’re saying, and what’s important to them before we even start the relationship or the sale. Data and analytics from the social channels are even predicting the future of a buyer and seller relationship before it happens.
Every sale starts with a social relationship in some form or another. The great thing is that the social ways you can start a new relationship have evolved. You don’t have to begin with a potentially intrusive telephone call or an anonymous email blast. Now you can start with a tweet or retweet, a follow, a LinkedIn request, or a blog post comment. Social media provides many different ways to get the conversation started. And once that happens, you can start building a relationship a step at a time in order to build lasting loyalty. And who doesn’t love that?

Speaking of starting up social relationships, I’d love to connect with you, so join me on LinkedIn and Twitter.
How have you used social media to connect with prospects? Be sure to let me know in the comments.

Steve Jones Apr 24, 2017 · #13

Quality over quantity, Amen to that, otherwise we're just busy fools

Lisa Gallagher Mar 31, 2017 · #12

#11 LOL, what IS dating? Same, married for a very long time. This was shared! Excellent buzz.

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Jan 🐝 Barbosa Mar 31, 2017 · #11

Great article.. btw.. so long married.. I almost forgot about dating !!! Keep the great content flowing !!! pure gold !!!

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Jack Kosakowski Mar 31, 2017 · #8

#5 Yeah... The problem with salespeople is they spend most of their time building relationships (during selling hours) with people that will never buy. I'm all about the personal relationship... As you can see... But I do believe you have to be smart with your time (during selling hours) or you will get lost in the social noise. Only 20% of sales reps hit quota and without focus that number gets even lower.

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Jack Kosakowski Mar 31, 2017 · #7

#6 Motive drives all in sales! The right motive allows you to have the best of both worlds in my opinion (Personal and Professional).

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Phil Friedman Mar 30, 2017 · #6

Yes, Jack. As I've said for years in my core business, yacht building contracts are like marriages -- they only work if both (all) parties benefit mutually.

It is often said on beBee that business relationships are built on personal relations. And that is surely true.

But what is almost always overlooked is that business relationships can only develop between business people. Personal relationships do not ever evolve into business relationships between non-business people. Therefore, if one of our objectives is to grow our respective businesses via social media activity, a key question to ask is, "Where are all the genuine real-world business people?"

@Jim Murray, @Don 🐝 Kerr and I have talked about this in past. And I'd be interested to hear your perspective on the matter. Thanks and cheers!

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