The Marketing Hive Podcast

EP 7: How To Sell Without Being Salesy

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Amy: Hi guys, and welcome to The Marketing Highs, a podcast for helping you navigate the world of digital marketing. We’re your host, Amy Cook and Kate Smoothy, and today we’re talking about how to sell without being salesy. So Kate, what is your one pet hate with people trying to sell to you? Because I think this is gonna be a run tee topic.

Kate: It is. I don’t even know if I can pick, like, what is my number one? I’m just gonna pick the, So Amy and I talked a little bit about this before we came on the episode and I was already ranting about it, so I feel like it’s really fresh for me to rant about . Um, so one of the things that I really hate, and it actually, so Amy and I talked about this a lot in the past because it happens to us on postal meet.

We promote the podcast and that’s how we both realize that we are absolutely freaking hate when people do this, But, Obviously engagement on Instagram is a huge thing that people push. I don’t even know if it’s still relevant to the algorithm anymore, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then it’s the idea that you should engage on other people’s posts in order to have your own posts boosted higher up, the algorithm, have your own profile pushed up.

Higher people are more likely to see your content, blah, blah, blah. Now I get all of that. Obviously, these social media platforms are all about encouraging conversation and connection, but there are so many people that use this. In completely the wrong way. So why on earth among things that they can comment on every single one of my posts saying, Great post, love this, and wow and all that kinda stuff, and that I’m in any way gonna buy or even interact with their comment.

I just don’t even reply to those comments anymore. They really piss me off. Like in a way that is probably a bit unhealthy, how angry I get about it. But I know, I mean, I was 

Amy: gonna say we end up. Clicking on each the person’s profile and then sending it to each other, like they don’t even follow us. , why do they, to get this crap

It’s literally so 

Kate: frustrating because especially I think 

Amy: if you know what the post is about, like, and if you say at the end of your caption of it, like what are your thoughts on this? And then someone goes, This is so valuable. You’re 

Kate: like, Well, what the fuck 

Amy: does that mean? Like, that is not answering the purpose of this caption.

Kate: So 

Amy: piss off and don’t comment. Like, yeah, it’s really, really annoying. And again, if you are doing that to, you know, build a community and get more ground awareness, do it in the right bloody way. Go and actually comment with value and purpose and build a connection with that person if that is free.

Commenting on their post, make sure you actually read the post before commenting. Like 

Kate: it’s so annoying. It is so annoying, and people do it with stories as well. And I must admit. Instagram, I think is, is probably the worst offender. Yeah. You do also get it a little bit on LinkedIn, a lot less, but you do get it.

Um, so you’ll get people be like, this is super helpful or whatever. And what’s a bit more difficult about LinkedIn is that people will put like a little bit more effort in. But you are ultimately, you’re still like, that feels like an engagement comment that doesn’t feel authentic. Yeah. Um, and I think that’s the real problem here is that the person on the receiving end of your comment, Can see straight through it.

And while you might think you’re boosting yourself up the algorithm, actually what you’re doing is alienating the person who’s post or commenting on, because at this point, I think most of us know that tactic. Yeah. Um, And with store with story replies, it’s actually worse cause I feel a lot more invaded.

Like when they, when they send me a private message in reply to a story like, Wow, this is so interesting or whatever, and I’m just like, What? Or I’ve had it before where people, um, DM me and be like, Hi Kate, I absolutely love your content. Like, and then they’ll like, Go off immediately into like something else.

And I’m like, Oh really? What video did you like ? I loved doing that because then I won’t get a reply for ages. And I’m like, Well that’s funny. Cause if I love someone’s content I can tell them straight away what I loved and I’m probably fangirling over the fact they replied and like, you know, like it just, it, yeah, For me, it is not something I want to include in my marketing strategy.

It’s not something I’ve done for a very long time because I think it was probably. Over a year ago now, I just got to the point where I was like, This doesn’t feel authentic. It doesn’t feel like me, and it’s not something that I wanna invest my time 

Amy: doing. Exactly, and yeah, it’s not gonna help you connect with that person, which is then gonna want to purchase from you by like commenting, Oh, I love this.

They’re not gonna be like, Oh, this person wants to buy now. No, it works. 

Kate: And that’s the problem, isn’t it? Like the problem is when someone comments something like that on your content, it often comes across like they might be a potential lead for you. So when they’re actually doing that to promote their own business, , it’s just a complete conflict in terms of what that’s doing, how, how that’s gonna work, the either side.

Um, and the other problem is you might be negatively affecting their algorithm because if they don’t wanna attract people like you and people like you are going to their posts and Instagram thinks that people like you should be seeing their content and there’s just so many reasons why it doesn’t work.

Yeah. Um, I’m not really sure, but actually, I dunno if there’s like less of. Happening now. I’ve noticed across the board that Instagram has got less, People comment less on Instagram now. So what I don’t know is what does that mean for that engagement side of things anyway? Because does that mean that people who do it are boosting that post up and therefore it’s better?

Or does it mean that we’re only getting those kind of comments now? Cause like on our post where we are promoting the podcast, we might only, we might get a comment from someone like one of you guys is listening. But I don’t normally expect comments on Instagram anymore, but we might occasionally get one from one of you guys that’s like, Love this episode, or this was brilliant, or whatever.

But then, yeah, we get these random like spammy engagement ones where you’re like, I think someone commented and was like, I’m so excited for you two. Or that you’d, 

Amy: that was it. And then we looked and we were like, She doesn’t even follow us. Why is she excited? Don’t . But no, I think that’s it. If you are gonna, I don’t know, with Instagram, like you say with engagement, where it’s going, who knows.

That’s a topic for another day, I guess. Um, but like if you are gonna comment, just make sure you’ve like, read the thing or you know, the person or what, because yeah, it definitely was something like, Oh, congratulations. I’m so excited for you both, or something really like, it was like she knew us. Yeah. And.

She didn’t 

Kate: know us and she didn’t know us. And that’s, that’s why I think that might have even been why I initially looked at her profile because I was like, Oh my God, I assume she follow. Cause I was like, she must know her really well. Yeah. This is an example of how we do get, we take it quite far. We were like stalking in our profile and whatever and actually is like, Why did we even do that?

That’s a complete waste of time. Friday night chat is lot . I’d probably had a couple of glasses of wine. I was just feeling a bit angry. Um, but actually leading on from that, cuz I was, I started to feel myself leaning into it and then I was like, No, I’m not going to because I’m not finished ranting about this.

But something else that kind of follows along the same line as. Is when a person will on Instagram or LinkedIn. So you can’t really do it on TikTok, which I think is one of the nice things about TikTok and why it’s maybe hasn’t gone in this direction, but they’ll come into your dms out of nowhere and just start selling to you.

Yes. Um, on Instagram, I think it is most likely done through stories. So they might reply to a story and be like, Wow, this is so interesting. And then before you know it, they’re like, So how long have you been in business? And it yeah, immediately becomes clear that they’re like, leaning in to sell you something.

I can’t imagine this tactic works ever. It completely puts me off. As soon as I realize that’s where the conversation’s going, I’m immediately like, they didn’t mean it when they gave me their first response to my story. Like they probably sent this to like 10 people. Um, and I find it quite invasive. Like for me personally, I don’t like to be approached in a cold way, like as.

Cold dm, cold email, whatever it might be, and try and someone trying to sell me 

Amy: something. I think it’s because like it’s that thing of you don’t even know what I need or want. You’re just assuming. Yeah. Um, you know, you haven’t even got to know me, land my business, you know, land anything, and then you’re just trying to sell to me.

And I think it is that thing of. You know, just not knowing the audience or knowing the person you’re talking to. Um, and it does make you feel like that cuz Yeah. I’ve had so many ins. You just read it sometimes and you’re just like, All you’ve done is clicked on my profile and then just copied and pasted, and I think that’s another thing that annoys me.

Yeah. It’s not like that’s, it’s not even personalized. Like they haven’t even gone out to make the effort to personalize like it. They might have maybe changed like, Hey Amy, and they’ll change it to, Hey Kate, but , other than that, like the rest of it is literally a copy and paste for like probably 30 people or whoever, you know, however many people they’ve decided to send it to.

And I think that again picks you off cuz you’re just like, you can just see it doesn’t like have any. Like 

Kate: context to it, I guess. Yeah, 100%. And I think that that is a huge, huge issue, particularly on Instagram. I think the selling through dms trying to do that kind of thing. And you also get people who, it’s very similar to the scammy messages that you get.

Um, do you ever get those, I’m sure you probably do, where they’ll be like, Hey, like. We’re looking for like Instagram models or We are looking for Yeah. Someone to wear our t-shirt and, and like, you know, those kinds of things where they’re like just trying to promote random stuff. They send it to everyone, but they’re like, You look like the next influencer.

Like, can you, Yeah. 

Amy: Or like you get, um, like talking on like cold emailing, you’ll get one where they’re like, Hey, you love your Instagram profile. Did you know we can help you increase it by X amount? And you’re like, No, you can’t. . Yeah. 


Kate: I know. Yeah. They’re all kind of wrapped up into one, actually. I think those like, Well, it’s all cold.

It’s like hold selling, isn’t there? Yeah, exactly. Um, and I think the problem with it is in this day and age, we all know what that looks like. 10 years ago that probably worked really well, maybe even five years ago. But the generation of people now who are in business, most of them are savvy enough. You know, we are not having hackers call us up on our home phones and being able to hack into our computers and stuff like maybe our parents or our grand.

Might have fallen for like, we are a generation of people who have grown up with this and we know how to spot scams and therefore that makes us very, I think we automatically have. A negative approach to someone contacting us who we don’t know anyway, if you don’t have a prior relationship with them.

And then on top of that, when they’re trying to sell you something, I think like worst case scenario, they’re trying to like hack into your stuff or scam you or whatever. Get your card details. Best case scenario, they’re just trying to earn money out of you, but they’re not doing it in an authentic way where they know your business and there’s no way someone can sell you something without knowing your.


Amy: exactly. I always like to think of like colds. The end cold emailing, like telephone sales. Yes. Step. You pick up a telephone and they go. You know, Hello, This is from, um, you 

Kate: know, car, phone warehouse. I get loads of, 

Amy: You’re like, hang up. You’re like, don’t wanna talk to them because it’s, that is literally what it is.

Sending someone a DM is no different to you calling them and trying to sell over the phone. I completely agree. It’s not 

Kate: a strategy, don’t, it’s not. It’s, it’s literally modern day cold calling. Yeah, it is. Yeah. Yeah. I absolutely hate it. So, uh, in terms of how to sell without being salesy, that is one thing you 100% just don’t do.

So Amy and I have covered off, We, so we’ve half covered off email marketing. We’ve got some more episodes to come on email marketing and ways to do that authentically with people who want to hear from you and interested in what you do. That is the way that you are strategic about it, and you are already nurturing like a warm lead.

People that come, Oh God haven’t even mentioned this, the amount of people that email me asking to sell me SEO service. Yeah, and I, I actually, sometimes I get really pissed off with those, particularly if I think that, So it depends on who it is. If it’s like a real generic, like they’ve sent out a mass email, which they probably all have, but on the odd occasion I’ll just reply and I’ll be like, No, thanks.

You haven’t even looked at my website. Cause they’re like, How? Why would you try and sell me seo? Or like, people will be like, You’ve got a great website, but did you know you could show up number one on Google? I’m like, Yeah, I fucking did actually. , like that’s what I help people do. Like leave me. I can’t help myself from replying and I don’t, I think cuz I want them to stop like doing it in general.

So I get like really personally invested. I hope like they do stop. Yeah. . There’s no way that they do. They’re probably just like, Oh, this is some snarky cow, whatever. But it makes me so angry. I just. Oh no, the, the SEO ones in particular. 

Amy: Yeah, I was gonna say, I think, And that’s it, isn’t it? Especially when people, you just know because they haven’t looked at what you do, so you know that then when they’re sending you something about something you do, yeah.

Know that it’s, uh, fake. Um, So I guess like, cuz obviously we’ve mainly probably talked about social media. I guess like the key takeaways for social media is to do it in an authentic way in terms of, you know, if you see someone and you think this is gonna be someone who I’d love to work with, follow that person’s account and build a relationship with them.

Whether that is through, you know, liking their posts, you know, if they do a story that’s something personal and you, you know, want to reply to. But make sure it is authentic and actually for a reason. Don’t just literally do it for the sake of doing it because it’s not gonna work. Um, absolutely. Um, and I guess like this one is kind of like, I guess it is related to social media a bit as well, but there’s other ways.

There’s other places, um, but like groups. So one I wanna cover and I’ll leave you to cover yours cause , I love that one. Um, , um, like Facebook groups. Now I am a member of hundreds of Facebook groups. Um, I’m pretty sure from probably when I first started business wanted to, you know, learn everything I can, but they are a really good place to get new potential work and stuff like that.

But I’m pretty sure groups probably have a lot more stricter rules on them now. Um, 

Kate: but don’t go into these groups 

Amy: or. Like just to sell and also not even just like big breeds when I think about it, sometimes I’ve, I’ve found, um, People join, like a group challenge to then just sell to them People after the challenge?

Yeah. Like, um, I can’t remember what it was. I last joined one. I think it was like a tick challenge or something, but then after that there was like loads of TikTok people like, Oh, this challenge was so good, but if you wanna help, I could help you further. And it’s like, This person’s worked really hard to create this group and like build a challenge or something and then you’ve just come in and fucking bulldozed it.

Kate: Basically. , you’ve just like, now you’ve brought me all the audience in. I’m gonna you out the way. Yeah. That is really bad. I have not seen that. I am shock. I’m no. So I am horrified. I’m not surprised. , I’m assuming this is exactly where, because I’m so petty. Like we were talking about earlier with what I’ll even look at someone’s profile when I think it’s a fake comment.

I would go in on that person, 

Amy: I think. Yeah. And I think to be fair, like a Facebook group, you can probably just block that person straight away. It’s still. I just think, think if that was done to you, like you’ve put all that hard work in and then someone’s literally just bulldozed you out the way, like how fucking annoying?

Like I’d be so wound up because all your hard work’s basically gone to pot. Because if people then, You know, do build a relationship with that person. Cause I’ve idiots and decided to do that, then like, it’s just so annoying. So I just think hit yourself in someone else’s shoes of like, if that was happened to you, like how would you feel like?

Kate: Absolutely. And also like consider what that actually makes you look like. Yeah. If it’s for a lot of people within that group, they’re gonna see that for what it is. And they’re not gonna wanna work with you. I would not wanna work with someone like. 

Amy: No, And also talking on like being salesy. I personally think it makes you look desperate.

Yeah. Now you know, you could be having your worst month possible. We all have it. I’ve had months where I’m like, so like for example, before summer, this month, this year. Summer’s, normally my quietest period, I slightly always go into a panic because I’m like, Oh, I’m not getting any inquiries. Am I gonna get the work?

Stress, stress, stress actually ended up being my business this time of the year, which made more stress. Yeah. But like, I wouldn’t then go and be like doing a mag dash, like, you know, calling people stuff and that like, Cause that’s not gonna get me sales or help me make sales. That’s just gonna. Make my reputation worse actually, because people are gonna be like, Oh, have.

Like God, like Amy constantly is like cold DMing me or whatever. So I’m never gonna get those people to buy from me. So I’m cutting down my audience more by doing 

Kate: that. I also actually think on that note entirely, that is something to to consider in terms of your entire content strategy, is that you actually don’t wanna sell that much.

So you wanna be selling behind the scenes all the time, obviously, but you don’t wanna be doing the hard sell. Externally all the time. You don’t want people to ma like to see that you are constantly having to promote your business because it makes people think that you don’t have work and you don’t have clients.

So Amy and I were talking about this not that long ago about how I actually put very little salesy content out there on LinkedIn and TikTok, which are the main two platforms that I promote. So at the moment, but they are my biggest. Drivers for new clients, whether that is someone purchasing a course or whether that is someone working with me one on one.

But I don’t lead with selling. I lead with providing valuable content. And the idea is that people are like, Oh my God, like she really knows her stuff. Like, how can I work with her? How can I learn from her? How can I do what she’s doing, what she does for her clients, whatever that is the way that I use social media to make money in my business.

And since I’ve really, really leaned into that, my business has grown so much more. Um, whereas I think if every post you put out is selling, Even if you don’t have any clients, you don’t actually have any work to do. Just act like you do. Yeah. Or provide educational, valuable content. Like we’ve talked about this quite a lot, I think already in our Teach Talk episode that that is, that’s where it’s at.

On platforms like that, that’s the same across the board. People wanna learn from you, and the idea is, Rather than you putting one post out or one dml or one email out and getting that one person that they might bite, but they probably won’t. You could put a post out on TikTok and 3000 people could see it, and you could get five leads come in from that.

Yeah. So I think it’s about how, what the best uses of your time to attract the most amount of people. All the while you wanna be building a community around you of people that still see you as an authority within the industry. It might be they don’t have the budget to work with you. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to.

Like I’ve got like 17,000 follows and TikTok right now, I don’t have 17,000 clients, but out of those followers, there’s probably quite a lot of them that are like, if I had the budget. I would work with Kay. And so what you know, the idea is that behind the scenes, hopefully once they get to the point when they have that budget, they’ll work with me.

And in the meantime, the people that do have the budget are coming through and working with me anyway. So that’s kind of the kind of stream that you wanna build rather than this constant just contacting people out of the blue and having to prove who you are and what you know and how you can help them.

That doesn’t make any. Yeah, 

Amy: exactly. And I mean, it’s probably something we can cover on another topic in terms of like short term and long term strategy plans. Um, because obviously you do have to have a balance. Yeah. Um, in terms of like, You know, you might need to want or want to make quick sales. So do that in, you know, one way compared to a different way.

Um, but we can cover that in like another topic cuz it’s probably a bigger conversation. Yeah. But I think it is just thinking about, I always just think as well, like, how do you like to be sold to. And then think how your audience might, you know, like to be sold to as well. Um, nine times outta 10, people don’t like to be sold to.

Yeah, it’s the same as, you know, another example of when you go in the shop and they go, Anything I can help you with? Oh, I 

Kate: hate that. 

Amy: Leave. Now I don’t wanna buy this TV because all you’re doing is 

Kate: staring me out. Like you literally feel like they’re breathing down your neck, don’t you? Yeah. There’s always like a 10% of me that’s like, what if they think I’m a shoplifter?

And then like the 90% of me that is like, they want the commission from my sales, I’m gonna buy. And I don’t even know if I want. I know. 

Amy: Exactly. And I think it’s that thing of like, most people don’t like that. Um, so if you are like that, don’t do it to other people. Um, So, yeah. Is there any others in terms of like, 

Kate: What you Not really.

I mean, I feel like we’ve covered, I feel good for getting the run off my chest. Yeah. I feel like we need . Did we? Yeah. Really, really did. So Amy and I filmed two podcast episodes today, This one and one before, and the one before was really, really value driven to give you guys some really helpful tips.

With this one, we were like, just feel like we need to get some stuff on my run every now and that. Yeah. Yeah. So actually it’d be really good to know from you guys if you can let us know, um, on socials, like what, what you prefer, like, do you like a mixture of both or do you want Amy and I to just come on here and ran?

Or are you like girls, like I’m not gonna listen to you, ran for half an hour, so please just give me the educational stuff. Um, obviously we are still new to this, we’re new to the podcast. We don’t quite yet know. It’s direction. We just know we want, we know our goal is that we wanna provide value for you guys in this 

Amy: Exactly platform.

And I, and you know, I still think there’s value in this in terms of like, if I round up the podcast, like I guess key takeaways are like if we talk about. Direct selling, whether that’s through dms engagement and so forth like that. The key takeaway is to be authentic and, you know, do it in an organic and natural way.

Don’t try to do like hard selling of, um, you know, just dropping a DM that then talks all about yourself, for example. Um, and then I guess in the, the other takeaway would be kind of like, If you’re thinking about like strategy and things of like content, you can do that in a way of doing it as like educational.

So you are selling your expertise by telling them educational content that’s going to help them. You know, if you are giving five tips on SEO and that’s got so much value in it, people are gonna be like, if this is only five things, like what else does that person know, for example? Yeah. Um. So, yeah, I guess it is just finding those ways of not being, you know, a, a hard sale as such, or too salesy.

Kate: This is it, and there, I think it’s the. It’s the whole idea that there are so many ways you can sell without being salesy. And the whole point of us talking about this was to talk about how to sell without being salesy. And actually, if you are here, chances are you have connected with Amy or I on social media and we both sell without being salesy.

And you are here. So what, Even if you haven’t bought something from us, you are part of our community and that, and we’ve done that through not being 

Amy: sales. Yeah, exactly. And I think a thing, another thing just to quickly round it off is a sale doesn’t have to always mean a sale because if you think about long term and short term, like short term could be a quick sale, but long term could be building up a relationship with someone to then become a sale.

I’ve got someone who’s recently signed on, he’s been following me on social for over two years. Wow. I don’t even, I didn’t even know they followed me , to be honest. . But now they’ve purchased because they’ve followed that journey. They’ve listened to my educational content, They know that I’m the expert to help them with that.

And they’ve purchased like, yeah, it doesn’t have to be. You know, straight away, I 

Kate: guess. Yeah. Yeah. And that idea, and obviously I know we, I think we should definitely talk about this in another episode, but obviously that is the idea, isn’t it, about building these audiences, is that you are kind of covered in the long and short term.

Exactly. Um, rather than yeah, having to rely on buying email lists and sending out cold emails and. I mean, I don’t even think that works. When I worked for a marketing agency, I don’t, I know we are rounding up the episode, but I just wanna finish up. I’ll do a little, So I worked for a marketing agency, and this is pre gdpr, where you could get away with buying like the email marketing list of like thousands of people’s notes.

Yeah. And the actual conversion rates on a list like that, if you buy a list of contacts, are so horrendously low compared to the cost. I think the list of contacts costs. in the region of like six, 700 pounds. And I wanna say that I think it converted not even sales. We are talking people who were interested, who became like a lead within the business.

Something ridiculous, like about 1%. Yeah, when you think about how much you’ve spent and then they, that’s not even a customer that’s been converted. It’s just someone who may become a customer and actual conversion rates are then lower, aren’t they? For someone who’s like on an email list compared to, So yeah.

Um, again, that’s probably something that we should cover off. Cause you guys are probably sitting like, well, the, are they talking about? But we can cover all that kinda stuff off, um, in another episode for you. 

Amy: Definitely. Um, cool. Wow. This has been a very roundly ranty episode, but we hope you’ve enjoyed and it has given you some, you know, value in terms of ideas on how not to sell.

Um, like we said before, we’d love to hear from you guys on what you would like episodes on, what kind of style style you would like. Um, but yeah, if you have any questions or um, wanna chat to us, do reach out via social media.