You visited her website, checked out her Instagram feed, liked her Facebook page, and followed her on Twitter. You put her in your email automation queue and carefully tweaked how often she hears from you. You served her up great content and showed how innovative, important, and indispensable your company is. And yet, she still has not bit the bullet and made the purchase...Somehow social and digital media use to prospect for, court, and close potential customers is not the shortcut you thought it would be, so what gives? Here are 3 surprising reasons why online prospecting won't help you close a sale.

Prospecting via social media keeps you chasing rather than closing. For those who are plugged in and swear by all things internet, this sounds insane, but think about it like this: when is the last time you made small talk with someone at a party and before the party was even in full swing, you were able to declare her your girlfriend? Probably never. A chance encounter might develop into a real relationship, but it takes a lot more than 5 minutes of highlights to get to know the person. In the party situation, as in the online world, you only get a glimpse of your potential partner--the glossy, surface kind of information that gets shared with anyone and everyone and tells little about the girl behind the sound byte. To truly get to know her, you have to leave the crowd behind and actually spend some time talking, interacting, and learning about who she is and what's important to her. That's when the real relationship begins. When you try to connect with a prospect by relying only on what you gleaned in a quick online search--her title, the groups she's part of, her degree--your attempts to connect remain purely surface level and you content yourself with hanging out at that noisy party, hoping desperately you might trade numbers before the end of the night.

Digital courting is a conversation killer. To romance a potential new customer, you need to be able to engage with her. Emails get scanned and set aside for later, accidentally pushed to the bottom of the inbox, or deleted. Salespeople who only send emails are like guys who only text--they think that sticking to digital is best because it's less invasive, but the flip side is of delivering the message in digital format is that the information is perceived as less urgent, because it does not require an immediate response. The opportunity to engage in discovery dialogue with a customer disappears when you hit send--and no matter how time-intensive, nerve-wracking, or complicated it may seem, the basis for courting a customer, and ultimately closing the deal is engaging the prospect in an in-depth conversation--much like with a new love interest. To court, you must delve into your crush's interests, habits, likes and dislikes. You must understand her values, explain yours, and find out what she is looking for in a relationship. Selling to a potential customer is no different: you have to discuss, rather than monologue, to know if your product or service is the right fit for your client. And just like you would never marry a love interest you have only met in cyberspace, you will never successfully woo a customer without coming out from behind the screen and really sitting down to talk.

Closing a sale does not happen with one-size-fits-all technology. Using automated contact methods to move prospects down your sales pipeline, despite how time-effective it may seem, ignores the individuality of each customer--and it is exactly this specificity that you must identify in order to get a prospect to buy what you are selling. A potential girlfriend commits only when she feels the person she is committing to understands how special she is, gets where she has come from and what she has been through, and sees and encourages all she is capable of but has yet to do. A prospect becomes a customer when she feels you have understood what makes her different from all your other potential clients, how you can help her to surpass an obstacle in her path, and how your product or service will enable her to leverage her difference into greatness. Sending the same message, at the same time, in the same way, to her and all your other possible patrons wipes out the feeling of personal attention, true connection, and shared ideals necessary to close a deal.

So if all that's digital is not leading to all that's green, it might be time to change techniques and require your sales team to use some good old-fashioned face time to make the sale.