Kill Spam & Replace it With Good
It happens virtually every single day on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other sites. We accept an invitation which is immediately followed by an e-mailed sales pitch. Often the service or product they are selling has nothing to do with our work, business, or interests. Sometimes fiction is added to the pitch: “Mr. Harder, after carefully researching your site, it is clear your business site isn’t optimized.” This particular example is provided because ranking is on our minds most every day.
We continually clean out our junk mail files at Inspired Work. In less than two weeks, over 3,000 e-mails have accumulated in my file. There are messages selling voicemail, fat reduction, luxury vacations, timeshares, private jet memberships, male enhancement, insurance, wealth management, pre-approved loans, and one nude cleaning service. Collectively, Americans receive over 171Billion messages per day. Every day Americans use 159 years of time just hitting the delete buttons on the spam that gets past their filters.
A great deal of electronic ink has been used to discuss the irritation of the recipients. But, what about those of us who send out unsolicited e-mails? Is spam actually doing more harm than good to their businesses?
Let’s begin the response with the spiritual and practical purpose of social media. It is and has always been to build relationships.
The spiritual and practical purpose of sales is to find out what people want and give it to them.
What happens when spam generates 1 sale for every 300,000 irritated readers? Consider the possibility that using spam is causing more harm to your business than good.
How could we kill spam for good?
Use social media to build relationships. Instead of using social media to make pitches, use it to connect with others. Instead of intruding without thought, intrude with responsibility and value. Recognize that the highest form of selling isn’t about us, it is about them.
Here is my journey on the topic. October, 2008 was one of the worst times of my life. When the economy fell off of a cliff, our organizational clients did as well. I had to let people go and downsize. That month became the 9/11 for most small business owners. For many of us, the economic nightmare required shifting from service delivery to fulltime business development.
At the time of the great recession, I had a dimissive view of social media. Every day, I got invitations to connect with someone. Usually, I never heard from them again or I started receiving spam. I used to manage sizeable sales teams and I told them, “Never, ever reach out to someone without having a good reason.” I felt that if a business development professionals was too lazy to bring value and interest to prospects they would hurt rather than help our cause.” Why? Because most people will not buy what we have on the first round or even the second round. So, developing positive perceptions is just as important as closing a deal.
Social Media was the only technology that offered a way to reach out rather than making calls and trying to get past security guards. But, the most common practices were mediocre at best. What would happen if we added good manners? How could we engage people that shifted the focus from us to them? How could we behave so new connections would want to actually engage with us?
The answers to questions became a turning point.
Here is one example of the outcome.
A year-and-a-half ago, a group of my colleagues were having breakfast at the Four Seasons in Marina del Rey. Mary Campbell was formerly my internal partner at the University of Southern California where she served as chief talent officer. Mary had used our engagement programs. The organization has 25,000 employees. Today, we are writing a new book together and she brings astonishing value to Inspired Work. Jess Todtfeld is a presentation and speaking guru in New York. We refer clients to each other. In the middle of the conversation, Mary’s expression changed and she said, “This is all so nice. How did all of us meet?” I smiled and said, “Social networking.” She continued, “What were you selling?” I laughed and said, “Nothing.”
Social media has become Inspired Work’s greatest source of new business. We teach others how to use it.
Whether you reach out or not isn’t the mission of my little article. The point is to recognize that when we throw junk into social media we will get junk in return. If we don’t have genuine respect that adds value to someone’s time, we will get disrespect in return.
One of the most gifted networking professionals that I know is a guy named Warren. He circles the country introducing people to each other. For him, introductions represent an act of love. His introductions have generated millions and millions of revenue for his friends. Today, he sits at the right hand of one of the world’s category leading CEOs. I’ve often marveled at the fact that many the people he meets begin looking for a hidden agenda. The surprise is there is no hidden agenda. As one of the largest revenue generators in that company, he is a living testament to the fact that goodwill is the most sustainable source of success in our world.
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