Swingers make bad salespeople…

At the urging of some of my staff, I’ve recently signed up for Twitter and started following people on it – and attempted to use it every now and then. I’ve also gotten more and more into commenting on blogs and also on places like LinkedIn and other sites.

Perhaps I’m just too old and out of the loop on total transparancy, but I think there is a very distinct line between being transparent and using discretion in your comments.

As a salesperson, you are on display all the time, and you never want to frustrate or anger your clients – especially on topics unrelated to the sales process. Would you sit in a room with a prospect, not knowing his/her political views and start ranting about a particular issue? Or would you worse, use foul language and slurs against people in the political landscape? If you are a smart salesperson, of course you wouldn’t.

Yet, I see intelligent business people who have public twitter profiles, post regularly on blogs and more spouting off the same type of stuff – in that type of tone. As a salesperson, you need to understand that in today’s world everything you post, tweet, send or otherwise place on the internet is fair game in your sales career. Have an opinion… feel free to even comment on it in a constructive way… but be careful how you start wording things and making fun of things, and in the language you use. It can make you seem juvenile and undisciplined. And worse, it can anger and upset your prospects. You need to use discretion in what you spout out.

This also extends to flikr profiles and other places where your information is displayed. No prospect wants to google you, or look you up on MySpace and hear about your conquests, or drinking binges, or worse. It can kill your sales prospects – and you may not even know why!

I think about the time I sold a customer and he and I laughed about why he chose me over the competition. He went onto MySpace and searched on the salesperson from my competition. He found a page where this man and his wife were advertising themselves as swingers. He didn’t feel comfortable doing business with someone like that, and the deal was mine. (I don’t even have a MySpace account)  To be honest, for what the customer needed, my competitions product was better, yet I still got the deal because my competitor didn’t use discretion.

Are you losing deals because you are sending out flames about the presidential candidate you hate? Are customers chuckling about you behind your back because of pictures of you at that weekend party while they sign with your competition? Do you not get a callback from a prospect because a google search turns up information that in unflattering?

Just like you should not vomit information on your customers, you should not vomit about your life and your opinions. Every comment you make, every thing you post, is part of your sales career. Make sure you remember that as you click “submit.”

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