Don’t Be A Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

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I spoke at a conference this past weekend and talked to a ton of great people about their social media outreach and how they can use social media to grow their business. As usually happens, lots of people want me to look at their social media sites and give them my opinion. So I discovered some people who are already doing a great job and ‘doing it right’, and some who aren’t doing so hot.

I told one person after looking at their Facebook page that they ‘were selling a bunch of vacuum cleaners’. They looked at me with a puzzled look on their face, because they don’t sell vacuum cleaners. So I had to explain…

Remember back ‘in the day’ when guys went door to door selling vacuum cleaners? I remember those days. Those guys just wanted to get in the door of the house so they could show you how much dirt you really had on your rug and just didn’t know about. They were pushy, and a little annoying. And who can blame them? They had to sell or they didn’t eat. And some of you are doing the same thing today.

For example, look at your Facebook page right now. In the past month, look at how many times you posted something about yourself… a product you have on sale… a special you are running… your latest this or that. Count them now. Now count how many posts are about other people…. how many posts are providing some helpful information to your followers… how many posts are bragging on your customers. What do those numbers look like? The first kind of posts should be in the low single digits. The other kind of posts should be in the upper double-digits.

People love to buy things, and you can probably attest to that, right? We all love to buy. But nobody wants to be sold. I will avoid a salesperson in a store at all costs because I want to buy things on my own terms. Have you ever been to Starbucks and pressured to buy anything? No, you haven’t. And Starbucks can’t make their coffee fast enough. Starbucks is a place that people want to go, to hang out, to socialize, and have fun. Is that what your Facebook page is doing?

I have talked about this over and over again. Talk about others 10 times more than you talk about yourself. Make a personal connection with them. Be their friend. Help them. Talk about them. And for God’s sake, don’t pressure them to buy anything. Yes, you can sell stuff on there and talk about your latest products. Just don’t do it all the time. People participate in social media because they want to have fun, so give them fun. And when it comes time to buy something where are they gonna go? Yep. Don’t be a vacuum cleaner salesman. Nobody likes a vacuum cleaner salesman.


Steve Holt September 13, 2011 at 9:59 am

That’s awesome Julie! I want to hear about your successes, so please let me know about any success stories that you have! I will share them with my audiences when I speak.

Julie McClellan September 13, 2011 at 9:49 am

Thanks Steve for all the great tips! You are sooo right. I first heard you speak in Winston Salem at the Four Seasons/Forever Tan Show. We are now implementing your ideas with our Wholesale Cosmetics, Skin Care & Fragrance business in addition to our tanning salon. Keep the posts coming!

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