Yep, we’ve all experienced it on social media, over the phone and certainly in person. Someone we don’t even know, someone who certainly doesn’t know us approaches us to buy their product, join their team, hop on their FREE call (which by the way is to sell you their product or service) OY!!!!! My head hurts just thinking about the ways these people are killing their business, brand and reputation.

I recently received a private message on my personal facebook account. I was sent a friend request by someone I didn’t know, however we had about 40mutual friends. If we have that many mutual friends, I’m all for expanding my network, as long as you’re not some fake person stealing accounts from others or sending me a love message. Anyway, back to the topic at hand, after accepting their request to be “friends”, I was delivered a personal message. Oh yeah, I thought this person was taking the time to introduce themselves and get to know me! NOPE, the message went something along the lines of, “hi, I am trying to build my XYZ business and I see you are a person of influence so I thought you might be interested in it.”   Whoa, hold your horses there my new “friend”! Who are you? Where do you come from? Are you running from the law and need future bail money? Do I even LIKE you? Yep, I am a sales expert and this made me cringe.

My initial reaction was to un-friend, delete, and block this person in an effort to put them in sales jail. Isn’t that what the majority would have done? I realized, it’s not their fault. See, we don’t know what we don’t know and haven’t been taught. Why should I completely toss them away? Yes, they did get on my nerves and I wanted to reach through the computer and give them a little smack on the hand, but I figured there was an opportunity to educate and change the world of selling. So, I did what leaders do…I replied with a message they will never forget. I thanked her for being my “friend” and told her how much I appreciate her boldness along with becoming an entrepreneur. I complimented her on the professional profile picture she had displayed on her wall and then started the education. I simply explained that in order for her to be truly successful, she needed to get a better understanding of what selling and even prospecting meant. I told her that if she wanted to land not only in sales jail but facebook jail she probably needed to change her approach, immediately. We ended up having a nice chat, I gave her some pointers and I am happy to report she has seen a 20% increase in her sales as a result.

Morale of the story, don’t sell before you’ve earned the right. If you do, you only continue to give the industry a bad name. Selling is all about serving but requires the right approach.