You Can’t Automate Interaction

Let me get on my high-horse here….if you claim to be some expert in the field of social selling and your value-adding engagement is automated, you’re doing it wrong.

There are many tedious tasks involved with building and maintaining a strong social presence that can, and should, be automated. Building lists, liking or unliking posts, and tracking conversations around hashtags are all labor-intensive tasks that are a necessary evil, but become much more useful when automated.

Fortunately, though, you can’t automate interaction. Why did I say fortunately? Because that part of the social selling process is what separates the signal from the noise. While many salespeople are sure to hop on the bandwagon of social, given the efficiency its results prove, that doesn’t mean they’re going to do it well. For those that place emphasis on meaningful engagement, standing out shouldn’t be a problem.

Case in point: I connected about a month ago with a self-claimed “social selling expert”. He sent me an automated message upon connection, to which I responded with a question I needed help on. He never sent a response. After a while, I got tired of reading the fluff content he shared or retweeted, and, as such, unfollowed and removed my connection with him.

However, because I viewed his page while removing my connection with him, he sent a new connection request with the same canned message I got the first time around. While I couldn’t even tell you what the guy sells, I know that he failed to sell me on the most important brand: his own. The only thing he seems to be an expert at is process management….any robot can send a canned message based on a defined trigger event.

Social selling only trumps the conventional sales process when it is used to enhance value for the prospect, especially if that value has nothing to do with your own product. Jack Kosakowski’s firestarter interview resonates along this theme: provide value because it’s a good thing to do, not because it will help you sell.

I hope that we’re not automating ourselves out the most important process in social selling: building trust and rapport by creating a meaningful interaction between two unique humans.