Can I Talk to Strangers Using Social Selling?

I read a LinkedIn post the other day from a cold calling guru who proudly talked about the importance of talking to strangers as if cold calling was the only way to talk to strangers.

I thought it would be useful to clear a few things up.

The first thing is that social selling is a great prospecting mechanism. There I've said it, it isn't about posting photos of your lunch and cat photos.

In fact this is how modern salespeople prospect. Why?

If you think about it the world has changed. 18 months ago I didn't use Zoom and teams much, now I use it all the time. We are not able to take customers out for dinner and have drinks. That is how much the world has changed.

We are used to being on line and we are used to be on social media and so do are clients.

I've just been cold called

The problem with cold calling is many fold, first you have to get through to the person.

I don't take cold calls.  Why? Simple, each one is an interruption, a cold call pisses people off.

It also shows me that the company isn't forward thinking. Why would i want to do business with a company that thinks pissing people Off is OK. There's obviously something wrong with their leaderships moral compass.

It is totally bizarre to think that a sales starts by pissing people off.

Because I had a missed call, I called the number back, the person said he wanted to talk to me about my IT. I just cancelled the call and then blocked the number.

Cold calls are asynchronous communication

This cold calling guru keeps leaving the comment that cold calling is great because it's synchronous communication. Utter rubbish, I haven't been on a cold call where there is a two way discussions and conversation. Cold calls are pitches and asynchronous. It's about time these gurus had some integrity and were honest. 

Can social selling enable me to talk with strangers?

Of course, I talk with strangers all the time on social media.

People are on social media, because they want to be there.

Research shows that we are on social to be social. So let the conversations flow. 

Don't treat social as a place to pitch, treat social as a networking event or a cocktail party.

Of course on social you have a great profile, so people can see who you are and what you stand for.

People on social can see who you are connected to, so they can see you are connected to other people in their industry and company.

They can also see you share great content and have industry insights and have humanised content that makes you just like them.


You could be some people that just calls up at of nowhere and interrupts somebody's day.

I know where one is going make the sale and it's not the cold caller. 

Conversations lead to sales

By having conversations (at scale) with social and let's not forget you can stay all day and have as many conversations as you want.

Conversations mean people will start to know you, to like you and trust you.

So who's doing this?

In case you missed it, the Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have banned cold calling and have moved all their people to social selling. This isn't some trendy tech company that might have decided to do this on a whim, this is a very conservative financial services company that has made a decision based on data.

But surely cold calling has a better ROI than social selling? Not according to Merrill Lynch.

"They will also be encouraged to contact prospects over LinkedIn, which has a higher hit rate than cold calling"

The CRO (chief revenue officer), Richard Eltham of Namos Solutions, of one of clients posted a comment on LinkedIn about social selling. See here.

“Social selling is not an option now it is the way of the world and you either learn and execute it or fear getting left behind” 

Kevin Murray who is the Head of Sales at MacArtney Underwater Technology recently posted about his success with social selling here and wrote an article about the transformation that has happened in sales here.

Related: You Are the Sum of All Your Digital Handshakes