First you need the right to be here. Playing golf requires a minimum understanding of the rules and how the game is played. You need to learn the etiquette of the game so that you can play respectfully and safely.

Just like golf, the right to play in the realm of social selling is earned. You can’t just show up.

Interruption marketing died in 2007. The social revolution can approximately be dated back to the birth of Twitter. We’ve since experienced two large phenomenon: The democratization of information and the total empowerment of individuals through social media. People were given a voice and the ability to turn people off. I can unfriend or unfollow you at any time. I can pick and choose what I want to read or consume.

We have not turned back, and in fact we’ve seen the slow death of traditional media forms. We’ve also seen the slow death of traditional selling. It’ll never be dead but will progressively disappear as transactional platforms like Alibaba and Amazon are getting more sophisticated. As a social seller, you need the right to be here and talk to me (the buyer).

Earning this social selling right with your prospects takes time. You can stalk a buyer as much as you want but earning their conversation is where it’s at. You’ll need to earn each buyer’s right to converse and move up the conversation ladder. You may start by asking them a question on Twitter. You may converse with them on LinkedIn before you can connect with them. It’s only after a few rounds that you’ll be able to invite them for a phone conversation… Are you ready?

I’m starting this “birdie book of social selling” because of my passion for both golf and social selling are unstructured forms. You’ll need to balance the science and art of selling to excel with both. Why do you love selling? See you on the No. 2 tee box.

This is the first blog in the series 18 Ways to Master the Game of Social Selling.

About the author: Yann Ropars is the vice president of digital marketing at Miller Heiman Group. Follow him on Twitter @YannR.

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