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Social Selling: Is selling a science or social activity?

Do you believe that personal selling is a social activity centered on relationships? Is this the reason so much attention is directed towards networking, establishing rapport, and leveraging existing relationships? - by Community Mailbox
Do you believe that personal selling is a social activity centered on relationships? Is this the reason so much attention is directed towards networking, establishing rapport, and leveraging existing relationships?

First, I don't buy into either terms, "social activity" or "relationships." Both terms are very fluid and are never properly defined. Standing in line at the local cinema is a social activity. In fact, as soon as you step into a car and get onto the road, you're engaged in a social activity.

So yes, selling involves a social activity but by default: society generates community shared meaning as a foundation of cooperation.

Selling is a contrived situation within a business environment. The "relationship" between buyer and seller occurs again by default.

If your talking to someone, you are relating to that person in the moment. Is every buying prospect a reliable friend to the sales agent? Of course not. So, what level of "relationship" is being inferred beyond the default foundation? Does the "relationship remain after the sale?

It is finally being revealed that while success does occur from networking, there is also an overall disproportionate amount of non-buying from these contacts. That is, while people are far more visible due to networking, they are not necessarily making more money on average.

Also with network-flooding, its integrity is being seriously damaged and is being reconsidered as a viable way to earn a living. We always hear about successful networking but not the thousands who spend hours at networking sites and receive very little in return.

Everyone who devotes time to Internet networking, should start writtng down the hours they spend, and the money they should be making per hour. It will be shocking! - by John Voris
Do you believe that personal selling is a social activity centered on relationships? Is this the reason so much attention is directed towards networking, establishing rapport, and leveraging existing relationships?
That's a valuable question and I'll give my thoughts based on how that question was worded.

I do NOT believe that personal selling is a social activity centered on relationships.

I do believe that some people view it as such. I also believe that some people have become very successful with that exact activity. Mindset or belief did not solely account for that. Right time, right place, and right set of circumstances were the critical factors.

Would such a belief be a reason that so much attention is directed towards networking, establishing rapport, and leveraging existing relationships?

I would say only a partial reason--and only among some people.

Social Networking, for instance, is a term which is now popularly attached to the Web--Facebook, Twitter, etc., being examples. That doesn't mean that the term only applies to those Web-based activities, of course.

I believe that our culture's celebrity consciousness accelerated the rise of those venues. A person today can sign up on Facebook, and, in pure Walter Mitty fashion, act as their very own paparazzi. I know people who live an alternate reality on Facebook--one completely isolated from their real everyday activities. I know others who use those venues to become pseudo-activists, as if complaining was all it took to bring about change. With no gender-specific intentions, I believe many are the modern day equivalents of "sob sisters."

Selling is and will always be a people business. But there are just too many variables of how people come together and interact to ascribe one form of interaction as the dominant one.

I want to pose another question: Is such attention often misplaced? - by Gary A Boye
Do you believe that personal selling is a social activity centered on relationships?

Interesting way to pose the question.
To the extent that selling is a communication between two people (or more) it is by definition social. And relationships play a part in selling.

Years ago I read a book that said there was a direct relationship between the strength of the relationship with a customer and the profitability of the account. We then did an analysis at my company and actually verified it was true in our business.

You then ask,
Is this the reason so much attention is directed towards networking, establishing rapport, and leveraging existing relationships?

I think we need to be clear about the term relationship here. This is not being a friend with the decision maker (although that can