There’s a lot of news coverage on the effects of social media lately, especially on children. The movie “The Social Dilemma” has brought this conversation front and center.  I listen to a lot of Podcasts. On a recent car trip, I caught Joe Rogan’s interview with Tristan Harris (Episode #1736) in which they discuss the bend in perception of reality caused by all these AI’s and Bots manipulating our emotions at lightning speed.  Wanting to be liked, wanting to have friends are powerful human emotions. Another podcast I caught once featured the famous Dr Phil being interviewed and the subject of social media’s effect came up. He said something that struck me as highly sales relevant. He mentioned teenagers in a therapy study that documented the effect on their mood by how many likes they get on a picture they’ve posted on social media.

“If your mental health and emotional well being is dependent on being liked by strangers, you’ve set yourself up for a really dangerous slide, ” Dr Phil stated.

“friends” on social media are not the same as real friends. “likes” on social media don’t equate to actually being liked!

The very same concept is a huge factor in sales prospecting efforts. Sales is a really lousy place to chase your emotional need to be liked. The pursuit of being liked leads to a lot of call avoidance and dropping activity numbers if left unchecked. It’s dangerous to your sales effort, in the same way as it is dangerous to your mental health.

Ask yourself:

Do you have to personally like your doctor for him/her to do a good job?

Do you have to like your lawyer for him/her to represent you?

Do you need to like your car mechanic for you to be satisfied with him/her as a service provider?

Nope. Then why do we think that we need to be liked as sales people in order to win and keep business? This is sales, not Tinder. If you make sales and prospecting personal, then rejection becomes personal, and unless you have the emotional control or Dr Spock from Star Trek, that is going to wear you down and cause you to avoid making calls.

Your prospects do NOT need to like you. They are not in search or in need of a new BFF. They need to respect you. Respect you because you provide an honest assessment of need, and a valid determination of a fit. They need to respect that you tell the truth, and that you’ll do what you say you will do. Love or affection are not part of the sales equation.

Over the years, I’ve become personal friends with some of my clients, and that is fine, but I don’t make cold calls with the objective of finding new friends, and I usually react negatively to someone cold calling me trying to be my friend, because it comes across as insincere and manipulative. I don’t really believe they called me to be my bestie. Clients need you to tell them the truth, even and especially when the truth hurts. That’s the difference between a professional and a needy sales person.

Be polite and friendly, by all means, but avoid seeking to be liked by strangers. It creates a far too personal aspect to the rejection that is part of everyday life in sales.