There are few things that make me cringe more than getting unsolicited pitches over direct message on social media. And it’s usually with people I don’t know at all. It’s annoying and yucky!
So, today, I’m going to share some of the “best” (read: “most cringe-worthy”) direct messages that I’m sure I’m not the only one to have received. And I’m going to share what you can learn from them so you avoid doing them.
Interestingly, I’ve had a couple of clients and women in my online community in the past few weeks ask this question:
“How do you approach social media contacts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc.) without appearing like a sleazy salesman… especially if they’re a new connection.”
We’ve all had it happen to us (and maybe we’ve inadvertently done it ourselves). You become friends or get a new follower on social media followed by a near-immediate direct message from them that you can just tell isn’t genuine. It’s too salesy or pitchy and you didn’t ask for their offer or even let them know what you’re needing.
Two questions come up:
Today, I’m going to share six of my all-time favourite ways I’ve been pitched over direct messages on social media. Tell me if you’ve gotten any of these:
Pitch #1: Hi, how are you?
We’ve all received those impersonal “conversation starters” over direct message. Often they are a spam bot, or someone who doesn’t know how to properly reach out to a new connection online. When I get these messages, I am not in a place at that moment, potentially, to have a conversation. I’m probably not going to engage in a full conversation with this person I don’t know and I’m not sure I even know why they’re trying to contact me. It’s just so open-ended. How do you even respond to that? “Great”, “Fine thanks”, or maybe “I’m good”?
Then they may follow up with “What do you do?”. Oh no! If you looked at my website, if you looked at any of my profile bio, you’d know what I do. Don’t make me work because you want to talk to me.
Don’t make connecting with you hard because you're the one that wants to connect with me. You need to say more. Woo and entice me! If you're going to reach out to someone, say more!
Pitch #2: Hey, have you thought about optimizing your website?
Let's get into those unsolicited offers. This is when someone messages, emails, or sends a Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram message and they say, “Hey, Do you want to optimize your website?” or “Do you want to get more leads on Facebook?”
Well, who doesn't? Who doesn't want these good things? But it doesn't mean that I'm ready to enter in a sales conversation with you about it. Because I don't know you. It was unsolicited and, again, impersonal.
What do you lead with?
The first few words should aim to get a connection. Ask yourself, “What is the most genuine thing I can lead with when I’m messaging this person?” “How can I bring them value?”
Because when people lead with things like, “You need to optimize your website for more clients” or “You can increase your Google page rank”, it’s unsolicited and kind of presumptive that I need these things. My favourite (insert eye roll here) is when people have no clue who I am or what I do and say, “I can teach you how to be a speaker.” Or “You can be trained to be a coach through our program.” When I am already both.
Look at it this way. You’re hanging out at a concert and a stranger walks up to you and says, “Do you want to buy this watch?” What do you say? “I’m not even in a watch store, I’m here to watch the concert. Don’t bother me!”
It’s the same as when people try to sell you things on social media private messages when you didn’t ask for them. Your first few words to me should not be a solicitation. I'm not in your store. If I am in your store, then please, by all means ask me if I need help finding my size dress or ask what I’m looking for. If I'm on your website, then a little chat box or bot can pop up offering to help me and that’s ok, because I’m on your website looking for what you offer.
Do not pitch in that first message.
What about informing someone of an event or something coming up that they have or would be interested in? I’m ok with this. For example, I will message someone (who I know or have met) and invite them to come to an event within the first comment. But with those I don't expect a reply. If I ever message you an invite to an event that looks like it was copied and pasted en masse, I’m totally cool with you not replying to me. Why? I see this like an email newsletter with info in it where you can choose to reply or not.
Pitch #3: Diane, can I speak to your community?
I get these messages all the time: “Diane, I have a really great topic that your community wants.” Well, how do you know what my community wants? Have you asked me about it? Have you attended my events?
Again this person is leading with their own offer. They’re not looking for a connection or leading with anything that I should care about.
At Dynamic Women, there are lots of live in-person and online events. Anyone who’s attended an event, or even read the event descriptions, can see that I don’t have guest speakers. I don't know how many times I’ve received unsolicited offers to speak to my group. I don't have speakers. I never have speakers.
The only time I’ve ever got close to having speakers is when I’ve done an event with a panel. But I get people from my community for those spots, or ask my community who they would like to see.
When someone offers to speak at my events, it’s clear that they haven’t looked at one piece of my content on my website. They didn’t look at my meetup event listings. They didn’t take the time or care to see what my business really does with Dynamic Women. Because, if they had, they would know that I never have guest speakers for the live events. That's not what Dynamic Women is about.
For a while, I was responding to these messages by saying that I don’t have speakers but it was so time-consuming, so now I just delete them. If you're not going to take the time to notice the structure of my events, I'm not going to take the time to write back to you.
Pitch #4: I love what you’re doing
To build connection and get the attention of the person you’re reaching out to it’s great to give a genuine compliment or share what you like about what they do.
However, I often see people sending generic compliments like this, “I love what you're doing to help others.” or “I love how passionate you are about what you do.”
While these are nice things to say, they could apply to nearly everyone. If you're going to say that you love what I’m doing, give specifics.
For example, if you wanted to be on the Dynamic Women Podcast you might send me an email that says, “Hey, I love what you're doing. I listened to Episode 34 and I really resonated with your comments about [insert specifics here].” Or perhaps, “I love when you brought on [insert name of a guest speaker]. They were so knowledgeable, and it showed that you take great pride in choosing your podcast guests.”
In just the last few days I received six of these emails and not one mentioned anything about my podcast only about how great they are or the person they’re representing is awesome so I MUST have them on my show.
I did have a stand out video message that was similar to the positive example above and I booked her on my show. (You can listen to Kris’ interview here.)
Pitch #5: …If you’re interested…
I get lots of messages that start with, “I love what you're doing to help others. I’d love to share how you can triple your leads for your business, if you're interested.” In this case I’m not super annoyed as there is no hard sell here, but it’s not specific enough to show that they truly know me or it isn’t just a bot.
I don't know how they're going to share that with me. Are they going to send me a report? Are they going to give me a mini course? Are they going to share a free webinar with me? Or are they going to sell to me? I don't know.
So again I have to do the work to engage.
Pitch #6: Hey, my name is…
Here's another good one, “Hey, my name is [NAME here].” Ok who is that sentence about? Them or me? It's about them.
It continues, “I help coaches scale up and generate more leads and conversions through their website traffic.” Ok, that’s great, so at least they're telling me what they do. I’m not sure why I should care yet.
They continue on with, “I know you're busy. I just have a quick question. What has been your biggest challenge in getting clients through your website? Your input will help me better serve my clients.”
So, this person I didn’t know wanted me to help her serve her clients. I’m confused. Posting this in a FB or Linkedin group would be ok as anyone can comment or scroll by. Should I have stepped into my coach role to support her? Nope, I just didn’t reply. Is that rude? No it’s about creating boundaries with my time.
So, now that you see what DOESN’T work, how can you approach new contacts without turning into the people above?
How can you contact someone without being salesy or pitchy?
What is the best way to connect with people so they know that you care about them and that you're not trying to sell to them?
Check back next week to learn the secrets. Until then, stay dynamic!
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