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  • Writer's pictureTracey Matney

Social Selling Dos and Don'ts: How to Sell in the DMs

“How do I get better at social selling?!”

I hear this question all the time when people find out I get most of my clients through selling in the DMs. They think all I do is send some cold DMs and get clients… Not exactly…

When I first started my business, I got new clients by going door to door. Like, literally, from restaurant to restaurant, I would strike up a conversation with the owner and try to get him to hire me. And it worked really well (a million times better than cold phone calls)!

But after my baby was born, it got harder and harder to be out and about with a toddler trying to sell. I was exhausted and frustrated that I couldn’t get childcare all the time and business owners were hard to track down in person.

The inefficiency of selling in person combined with the desire to spend more time with my son caused me to try a new way. I taught myself how to sell online… how to sell in the DMs. :)

So, what is social selling – and what is it NOT?

Social selling is having conversations on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to interact with potential customers and drive sales.

I like the way Fearless CEO explains it for the online coaching space… “To put it simply, social selling is the art and science of asynchronously enrolling clients by answering any last questions they have about your programs in the DMs or text messages.”

Social selling is NOT just copy/pasting messages to a bunch of cold people.

Social selling is NOT a replacement for meeting with people over the phone or on Zoom to close the deal. (Although it can be, depending on what you’re selling).

Social selling is NOT the end-all-be-all. Because I have great content, an optimized Facebook profile, and solid sales pages with connected automated emails, selling in the DMs becomes really easy. Social selling is actually just 10% of my process. Many times it’s what starts off the process like this…

FB Profile → DM → Sales Page → Book a Call → Email Automation → Sales Call → Client

And other times it’s the last part of the process for a course or group program sale that doesn’t require a sales call…

Content → FB Group → Lead Magnet → Email Automation → Conversation → Customer

I am living proof that Direct Messages (DMs) are a powerful tool for social selling, allowing businesses to have personal and private conversations with their prospects.

However, like any sales approach, there are certain dos & don'ts that you need to be aware of.

✅ Do: Personalize your DMs and be a HUMAN! 😊

When reaching out to potential customers via DMs, it's important to personalize your message. Using generic, automated messages is likely to turn off your prospects and decrease your chances of making a sale. Take the time to research your prospects and tailor your message to their specific needs and interests. It all comes down to creating an authentic connection with the person you’re talking to – and the best way to do that is by simply acting like a real human.

Here is an actual example of a sales conversation that worked:

Let’s break down what actually worked here.

1. Have a little back-and-forth conversation before jumping straight into the meat of a sales conversation. Connect with something they said on their profile (I replied to one of his stories). I demonstrated that I wanted to know more about this person. I wasn’t making it all about my offers or whether the prospect is interested; I’m getting to know the context before presenting any kind of solution.

2. Then, engage with their content on their posts or ads. (I commented on his ad which triggered him to reach back out to me).

3. I was then honest with him and told him why I reached out (which was genuinely true!)

4. He then reached back out after I added some screenshots from his talk at an event we both spoke at (providing value to him and making him look good!). He knew I was a speaker there but we’ve talked before. I was really excited for him!

5. THEN he asked about my work with Pedro Adao whose stage we both had just spoken on. So I asked if he had checked out my chatbot (my work) and he asked about it… I had now gotten permission to move the conversation forward because this person is actually engaging with me and showing interest in my services!

But wait until you see what he said next…

6. I sent a sample link to my chatbot I had done for this 8-figure coach, and he said “ok… this is lit. I know you’re selling me and I like it! 🙂” – OK! He’s how excited about what I can do for him and his business.

7. Notice I never gave him a link to book a call… he saw it on my Facebook profile which is optimized… Then he went and asked for a longer consulting session!

8. He signed up and paid in full right after that sales call.

Super important to be a real human, care about them and only provide value, not spammy “hire me” messages.

✅ Do: Be respectful of your prospect's time.

Your prospect's time is valuable, and they likely have a lot of other things on their plate. Be respectful of their time by keeping your DMs short and to the point. Provide value in your message, such as by sharing a relevant article or offering a discount code.

The beauty of social selling is that it’s actually better for your prospects. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. You’re winning if you can save them time too!

✅ Do: Follow up.

Following up with your prospects is crucial to the success of your social selling efforts. If your first message doesn't lead to a sale, don't give up. Follow up with your prospect in a few days or a week, and continue to provide value and build the relationship.

You can follow up by sending another message OR by commenting on their posts or replying to their stories (my preferred approach).

Don't: Spam your prospects.

It's important to remember that your prospects are real people with real lives. Sending them multiple DMs a day is likely to turn them off and decrease your chances of making a sale. Be mindful of the frequency of your DMs and respect your prospect's boundaries.

Because you’re asking great questions and showing up with curiosity, your clients feel seen and understood. You’re putting your best foot forward and creating a stellar first impression before their time in your program ever begins.

A great social seller genuinely cares about the prospect’s situation. It’s important to figure out whether you’re actually a fit before convincing them to book a call and wasting both of your time.

Don't: Use a hard sell approach.

Your prospects are more likely to make a purchase if they feel like they're in control of the decision-making process. Using a hard sell approach in your DMs is likely to turn them off and decrease your chances of making a sale. Instead, focus on building the relationship and providing value.

If you’ve gotten cold-messaged like this, you know exactly how uncomfortable this tactic feels to be on the receiving end…

❌ (This girl acted like we’re friends but we don’t know each other…)

❌ (I didn’t reach out… and my website converts great…)

❌ (The stats stood out, but I don’t believe her… too many services to be an expert in them all...)

A common theme is that the people behind these messages jumped right into talking about THEM without having any information about ME!

An empowering sales conversation makes a person feel heard and understood. A solution is offered from a place of finding the right fit – and that’s exactly why it feels so off-putting when someone bombards our DMs with unsolicited answers to problems we never even said we had.

These messages have all the clues that reveal it’s a copy-and-paste approach with absolutely no personalization. There’s no actual conversation here, and they don’t know the first thing about me or my needs.

Don't: Ignore objections.

When your prospects raise objections, it's important to address them directly and honestly. Ignoring objections is likely to make your prospect feel like you're not listening or that you don't care about their concerns. Instead, be prepared to address objections and help your prospect feel comfortable with the decision to make a purchase.

For example, if a prospect raises an objection, such as "I don't have the budget for it"... instead of ignoring it, be prepared to address it directly and honestly. "I understand that budget is a concern. Can we schedule a call next week to discuss some options that would better fit your budget and increase your ROI?"

Social Selling is a Win-Win for Everyone

Chatting in the DMs or via text messages is convenient for your leads because suddenly a 60-minute sales call, which is high pressure for both you and the prospective client, is replaced with a conversation that takes a few minutes.

And in the age of Zoom fatigue, your clients will love getting their questions answered while hanging out on the couch, at the grocery store, or running their kids to soccer practice.

As a business owner, there’s nothing like closing sales in the little moments of your day while you’re doing other stuff!

I know I was very happy to have a little DM conversation with a new client, while I was making coffee on Christmas Day when she agreed to sign up for my $15k program. 🎄

Social selling in the DMs can be a powerful tool for businesses, but it's important to keep in mind that your prospects are real people with real lives.

By personalizing your messages, being respectful of your prospect's time, and following up appropriately, you can increase your chances of success. At the same time, avoid spamming, using a hard sell, and ignoring objections will also help to improve chances.


If you have any questions, I’m ready to chat about your unique situation in the DMs!

I would love to know what's on your mind. Questions, hesitations, feelings, or celebrations - don't be shy!

👉 Find me on Facebook.

👉 You can send me a text any time at (909) 584-5122.

👉 Follow and DM me here on Instagram.

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