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I once went for dinner with a guy who had asked me out. He was a friend of a friend and he was funny, friendly and a good looking guy so I thought ‘sure, he seems nice’. So we met up at a nice place in town but when I arrived he had a backpack with him. I thought was a bit odd, but went with it. So we ordered an entrée and I asked him if he’d just come from the gym. He said ‘no,’ he had brought his bag assuming the night would go well…. and then he laughed.

HMMM. Did he just say what I think he said?

That’s a bit weird.

As the entrée arrived I asked “so, what have you got in there?” He had fresh undies, his toothbrush, deodorant and a change of clothes. Oh my goodness, he was actually serious.

Trying to remain calm, I laughed and said “well that’s brilliant because I had a key cut for you and the rent is due this week. I thought you might be able to help me out with that too.”

So, at that point I realised I had to wash my hair for the next day so I wrapped it all up relatively quickly, skipped the main and asked for the bill. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but it felt slimey and I couldn’t get out of there quick enough. Sadly he thought it was amazing and called the next day saying it was such a shame I had to go.

Have you felt like this when people are trying to sell to you and you haven’t even met them? A common complaint I see and hear is “Ewww. Before trying to sell to me, at least let me get to know you!”

Social selling and personal branding is a lot like dating. You need to let your audience get to know you. This helps your audience understand who you are, where you’re coming from and to build trust. You can move slowly or quickly, but at least get a few dates in before you decide to try to move on to something more permanent. Otherwise you just look desperate. It takes 10 pieces of content before someone decides to work with you.

Self-promotion and marketing does not get the gig, whether it be the sale or the job. What it does create is awareness. Marketing is only one of the steps in the sequence of events required.

Winston Churchill once said

“It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.”

Make it easy for your audience to get to know you. You can do this through sharing ideas, articles, curating content and your own thought leadership. That way when you want to progress the relationship they know who you are and if they like you or not. It takes time to build trust, and people will buy when they’re ready.