After offering a critique to someone who wasn't welcoming to my insight, I felt inspired today to share with you how you can go about selling with integrity, particularly in Facebook groups, so that you see the results you hope for.

This screenshot shows an an example of self-centered selling:

Here's what was wrong with this post: 

1. NO CONTEXT. I'd never seen her interact in the venue (Facebook group) before, and she gave no indication of who she is, what her background is or any other contextual info. 

2. VISUALLY ASSAULTING. Good photography is a basic must-have if you're selling a service and especially if that service is an extension of you. Her grainy mirror picture killed me. At the very least, one should be able to take a quality selfie (not in the mirror) in natural, outdoor lighting. Better, you'd have a photo shoot done. You don't even need to spend money on it if you find a talented newbie willing to trade services. 

Her post, however, isn't just visually assaulting because of the horrible picture. Her post is also horrible because she chose a tone in her horrible photo to pull into a print on the side and used a slightly darker tone for text that she put on top. It's just bad. I insist that if you're going to do your own graphics you take time to learn color theory, composition and really fine-tune your graphic tastes. Otherwise, hire a professional.

3. SELFISH. The post is entirely selfish. Not only does she fail to specify who her ideal client would be, she doesn't appear to care at all who she works with as long as some money changes hands. I've been there, but that kind of selling just doesn't work. And even if you're open to working with all kinds of clients, you could speak to their general issue that your service provides a solution to. 

{Additionally, notice that this person selling PR services, which requires some writing ability, lacks the ability to make the word "company" plural and also doesn't know how to spell "interested." Even if I could get past her bad selling etiquette, I can't get past the bad grammar.}

How could she have done better? Here are my tips for a more palatable sales post, especially in the context of Facebook groups:

A. ADDRESS YOUR POTENTIAL CLIENT & THEIR NEEDS/DESIRES. Let them self-identify based on your description of them and/or their needs or desires. You might pose one or a series of questions (ex. "Do you long to see your business written up by the New York Times?") at the start of the post. 

B. DESCRIBE IN SOME DETAIL HOW YOU HELP THEM GET FROM WHERE THEY ARE TO WHERE THEY WANT TO BE. You're selling solutions and positive outcomes. So if you're selling PR services, like the woman who posted this was attempting to, you might write something lie, "Together, we'll identify what's newsworthy about your business, prepare you for an amazing interview, and pitch our butts off to get every journalist and editor -- and eventually, every reader -- to take notice of you and your business. PR can be a lot of fun and it's totally rewarding." 

You should not be selling them on the idea of being a client of yours. The truth is they only care what you can do for them; they don't really care who you are. That said....

C. TELL 'EM A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. Again, it's best to focus on results, so if you can point to results you've gotten for other clients, that's amazing. If they've never met you before and the group/"venue" allows, tell them how to get more information on you if they desire to do so (in this case, you want to have a website and an About page, neither of which do I think this young lady has).

D. GIVE THEM A CALL TO ACTION THAT FEELS GOOD. If you've done A through C properly, your call to action (whatever next step you want them to take) should feel good to them. But make it feel like there's more of a discussion to have. So try something like, "Ready to talk about how to tailor a PR campaign to your company and your specific expertise? Sign up here [or email me here]." 

E. ASK A TRUSTED FRIEND/COLLEAGUE FOR A CRITIQUE AND TO SPELL-CHECK. Especially if you're inclined to poor grammar, ask someone to proofread your shiz, and ask them if they: 

  1. have a clear idea who you're talking to, and... 
  2. have a clear idea of what you can do for the intended audience.

With their clearance, go ahead and post away.

Selling doesn't have to feel icky, and the best way to do that is to focus on your potential clients/customers and their heart/soul/business needs.