Want to Succeed at Social Selling? Take Out the ‘Selling’

By: on March 18, 2016


Every evening, I run away with the circus.

When I’m not writing about sales, marketing and software I swing from hoops suspended in the air. I balance on fitness balls (and on other people). I do flips and tricks on trampolines, and belong to a passionate community of fellow circus arts enthusiasts.Cyr_Wheel_Clean_3


For the past year, I’ve been ogling Cyr wheels.

A Cyr wheel (pronounced seer) is a large ring made of aluminum or steel, with a diameter three to six inches taller than the person using it. The user stands inside the ring while it spins gyroscopically, performing acrobatic moves in and around the rotating wheel.

It’s what’s known as a “flow art.” Cool, right?

The problem is, Cyr wheels must be perfect circles, custom-made to a person’s exact height. Otherwise, they would be really difficult to maneuver.

So I can’t pick one up at the local fitness store or even test one before I make a purchase. Buying one is a big investment, sight unseen.

Naturally, I looked to my various social media communities for advice on where to start.


The name “Sam Tribble” popped up over and over again. Who is Sam? Turns out, Sam’s pretty awesome. He’s a performer, teacher and builder of custom Cyr wheels.

Many say his wheels are the best, and everyone speaks positively about him online.

This is Sam.


Sam has a website for his wheel business, but it doesn’t list prices or even many details about his wheels. In fact, it’s pretty light on the typical sales jargon you’d expect from a business website.

However, it has a nice feel to it. There are pictures of classes he’s taught, full of smiling people. You can tell Sam really loves what he does. So I email him.

Sam’s response makes clear his goal is to help me learn—not just to sell me his product. He offers links to his workshops, and points me to some of his YouTube videos showing basic Cyr wheel beginner moves.

Already, I feel like he cares about me, not just what’s in my wallet.

Then Sam does something really smart: He suggests I friend him on Facebook.

His offer doesn’t feel creepy, like it can when a complete stranger approaches you on social media. Instead, it feels like we’re building a genuine relationship. Plus, his Facebook page seems like a great place to see what he’s all about.

Sam’s Facebook is a treasure trove of Cyr wheel eye candy, and his followers have sprinkled his content with “likes” and positive comments. You can see he readily engages in conversation and has some really interesting things to share.

He feels like a good connection. I want to be his friend.


Over the next few weeks, Sam and I chat regularly. He engages in real conversation about the topic at hand, rather than just launching into annoying sales talk.

On the contrary, conversation with Sam is easy, informative and palatable. It’s unlike any sales experience I’ve had.

I ask questions about wheel design, such as what colors can be used for powder-coating and which look best under stage lighting. He points me to his photo album and I drool over the awe-inspiring pictures of his wheels.


He also sends me a link to a YouTube video he made about assembling and disassembling Cyr wheels, which he humbly describes it as “boring, yet informative.” I’ve watched it eight times.


When I’d finally run out of questions, I asked Sam how to pay. Three weeks later, my new Cyr wheel arrived at my doorstep.


Noting Sam’s meticulously, hand-placed logo on the inside of the wheel, I felt wholly satisfied.

Now I understand why people refer to his wheels as “a Sam” or “a Sam Tribble”: He really puts a part of himself into every wheel he creates.

And that wasn’t the end of my relationship with Sam. We remain in contact, and continue to chat about the art of the Cyr wheel.

I share about my experience, too, enthusiastically recommending Sam to others. We’ve come full circle (pun intended).

How You Can Be More Like Sam

To understand how to sell on social like Sam, let’s take a closer look at what he did right:

Sam didn’t “sell” me anything.

  • He never compared his wheels to others’
  • He never told me I should purchase from him
  • He never asked when I was going to purchase
  • He didn’t ask for payment until I’d already offered

Sam built a relationship that just happened to involve a purchase.

  • He opened the door for connection on social media
  • He provided meaningful conversation
  • He gained my trust as a person with knowledge and experience
  • He shared content that addressed my pain points

People join social media to be social. When they’re on social networks, they aren’t in the mindset for hard-sell tactics from intrusive salespeople.

Think about it this way: If you’re going on a social outing with a friend, you’d probably be really turned off if they suddenly started giving you a sales pitch in the middle of dinner or drinks. It would feel awkward. In fact, most people I’ve asked say they just tune out sales-heavy social media communication entirely.

Yet even if they don’t want to be “sold to” on social media, many people still use the medium as part of the purchase process. They tap their networks to research products and companies, and get recommendations from their peers.

So, what’s the right way to sell on social media? Hint: It doesn’t involve “selling” in the traditional sense.

Here’s what to do instead:

  • Offer interesting content that draws buyers in. Don’t flood social networks with ads (or anything that feels like an ad). Instead, learn about prospective buyers’ pain points and offer content that addresses these. The content will catch their attention, draw them in and establish your business as a trusted source of information.
  • Educate and inform—but don’t sell. Don’t force a purchase. In fact, ditch the concept of “selling” entirely, and act more like a buyer advocate. Provide tailored, one-on-one education (using meaningful content) to nurture your prospect until a purchase becomes the natural, organic outcome of your interactions.
  • Stay in contact, even after the sale. Active engagement reigns as king on social media. Don’t disappear after you make a sale. Stay in touch with your buyer, even if just periodically. This extra step feels good to buyers, and keeps you in mind when their peers ask for reviews.

Next Steps

Need help choosing the best software for selling on social media? Here are some steps you can take to narrow down your options and get more information:

  • Email me at lukewallace@softwareadvice.com. I’m available to help you start the software-selection process, or to answer any additional questions you might have about social selling (or circus arts).
  • Call Software Advice at (855) 998-8505. In less than 15 minutes, our experienced Software Advisors can help you make an informed decision. After learning your functionality and budgetary requirements, they’ll send you a detailed list of products that meet your needs, for free.

You may also like:

5 Really Cool Mobile Sales Solutions for Sales Teams

How ‘Smarketing’ Paired With Software Can Help Align Sales and Marketing

3 Technology Trends Making Sales More Buyer-Centric

Compare Social CRM Software