The Difference Between Followup & Harassment

This past weekend, a distant relative of my husband’s messaged me on Facebook about her “new business.” For the third time.

I kindly replied letting her know that my ignoring the last two messages wasn’t an accident and that as someone in the marketing and branding field, I was giving her loving advice by letting her know this is not how to market. It is not how to sell.

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This side of the family already has misgivings about me. I took their family member across the country. Even when I did live in New York, I rarely showed up to their family events due to my work, and also, if I’m honest, because I didn’t know them and my husband couldn’t explain to me how they were even related.

And that’s the crux of this. This woman doesn’t know me. I met her once at her daughter’s christening. Yet she felt the need to message me about this product she sells. It might be the best product in the world, but messaging someone you don’t know about it is never a good sales tactic.

What happened to leading with value? With offering to serve, to help?

Had she led with a simple question about my skincare routine and politely asked if I was seeking any further insight about my skin, this could have been a different story. Had she acted at all interested in me as a person rather than copy and paste a standard script, again, this post wouldn’t be here.

I’ve struggled all week with how to turn this from a solid rant into a viable business lesson, and finally gave up. The lesson IS the rant.

How this woman has chosen to market is so ire-inducing and so off base, there’s nothing to do but rant.

She tried to butter me up (“I think of you because you are smart, very artistic, talented and you have a great network!”) with fake niceties. Since she does not know me, how does she know I’m smart? Or even that I have a great network?

She invaded my privacy. The first two times I ignored the message, so she just kept going. I don’t like the red notification dinner going off on me so of course I have to look at the message. Other MLMers create events that notify you every single time someone comments in their party page, and that is equally invasive.

I’m currently reading Go Givers Sell More and this quote is appropriate here:

“Some salespeople have been taught what is called the “three-foot rule,” which says that everyone who comes within three feet is fair game to pitch to about your product. But what if this person doesn’t want to hear about your product? Doesn’t she have a choice?”

But ultimately, the key point that inspires the rant is that I feel used.

I’m only her friend on social media out of courtesy. She’s never tried to communicate with me in any real way. And there’s no reason for her to do so, as we live a country apart and are so distantly related. Except when she wants to sell something. Then suddenly, I’m on the radar.

The online marketing world in which I live provides value first and follows up with possible sales later. The retail marketing world in which I live works two ways: I go to your store with the possible intention of buying something or I got to your website to possibly buy something. The store doesn’t get to email me multiple times unless I choose to opt in to their mailing list, and the same is true from the online business world.

The difference between good sales and tacky sales is right here. The difference between followup and harassment, also here. Offer value first, and perhaps I’ll consider buying from you. To offer value, create a relationship. Show something real and honest and true. Offer to help a person in some way, even if only philosophically from an email away.

I’ll let Bob Burg and John David Mann close with this quote, also from Go Givers Sell More: “Money is not a measure of goodness or worthiness. It is a measure of impact. You want more income? Have more impact.”

Offering immense value will create more impact. And that’s pretty badass.

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