On the internet, people are bombarded with ads and sales pitches every day. We are actually quite skilful at ignoring everything that comes our way unless completely relevant or interesting to us.

Particularly when we spend time in environments where we don’t intend to buy anything, the last thing we want is to have people putting pressure on us to buy.

There are, however, still too many business people new to social media who erroneously believe that people who use social media are eager to go and buy from their business straight away. The truth is, for the most part, social media doesn’t work that way.

But how, then, do you get people to buy from you on social media?

Well, before you keep reading, the FIRST step is to watch my free training here. In this video, I’ll show you how to sell using social media in a way that gets prospects chasing to work with you…. Rather than you chasing to work with them…

Watched the video? Great… That brings me on to my first point…

Don’t try to sell too soon

People today are skilled researchers and can see through self-serving pitches from miles away, both on the internet and in real life. That’s a challenge when you’re desperate to sell something to others but struggle to think of ways to do this effectively.

The short-term solution here often appears to be approaching people directly to make them aware of your new product or service or just displaying your product or service in various ways.

This is not how you convince people to buy today.

The solution?

You have to take your time.

Interact socially with others. Be their ally or trusted advisor ‘friend’. Listen to them. They will warm to you, and eventually, some of them will voluntarily come to you because you’ve been valuable to them and seem trustworthy and non-greedy for their attention.

Pushy sales efforts, on the other hand, are likely to make them avoid you in the future because you’ve already taken their attention for something they didn’t ask for.

Provide value

Marketing today is notoriously multi-faceted, in that no single marketing channel (e.g. social media, email marketing, search engine optimization) can single-handedly bring all the sales you need to succeed.

So when you’re running lead generation campaigns you need to provide value FIRST.

You need to use a variety of channels to get through to prospects and get the attention you need to win people over.

Social media alone is usually not enough to give you success. For example, what’s the point of generating leads and sales via social media if you don’t provide good customer service? You need a good website, good relations with customers, good service experiences, etc. to achieve this.

Social platforms are, however, good ways to provide value to people who might one day buy from you.

This is where valuable content comes into the picture.

If you manage to create and share content your prospects find interesting, you will accumulate interest around your business, and prospects will start to trust your judgement and voice.

Crucially, your brand values will evoke stronger, positive reactions in people’s minds so that in the end, prospects won’t buy from you because you asked them to – they’ll buy from you because want to.

See also: “How social media and content marketing can grow your business.”

Interact like you would face-to-face

Social media gives companies an excellent opportunity to respond directly to customers’ or prospects’ queries and opinions. This can be a great way to build relationships directly with people who could turn out to be very valuable for you.

Most people on social media are primarily there to interact socially with others.

I want to emphasise the word ‘social’ here, its origin being from the Latin word ‘socialis’ meaning ‘allied’ or ‘socius’ meaning ‘friend’.

You don’t log onto Facebook to be approached the way the person in my above example was approached on a leisurely walk down the street. You go to see what your friends or people you’re interested in are saying. You comment on the things you feel compelled to respond to, and you read the things that peak your interest.

But if you keep in mind my example of a walk down the street after work, you can see how automatic-sounding responses, such as generic sales posts sent out to all your company’s followers, can also put off or not even register for people who are just occupied with their next destination.

What really wakes you up is when someone says something to you as if they know you or genuinely wishes the best for you.

Avoid sounding like someone who’s speaking from a distant room to a vague mass of strangers.

The final verdict

Eventually, these steps will bring your customers to you, instead of your having to talk them into buying from you.

You can’t force customer dedication, but you can create the social foundation for this to grow, if only you focus less on selling and more on meaningful, social interactions.

That’s how you sell on social media (without selling).