In the sales world, there seems to be an ongoing battle between “social selling’ and “traditional selling” people. Social sellers believe (generally) that traditional selling techniques are dead and that they are no longer relevant. Traditional sellers on the other hand believe that social selling is a fad and will pass and that the “old ways” of building rapport and “closing” are still the way to achieve success.
Both sides of the argument are wrong of course!
Social selling enables salespeople to create opportunities, to turn cold leads in to warm leads, to open more dialogues with more people more easily. However, if you can’t run a meeting, close a prospect and push through the commercials then all of that prospecting will have been a waste of time.
The two skills need to co-exist in harmony because social selling without the ability to close business is really just marketing. And an amazing ability to make friends and close business is totally wasted if you can’t find anyone to take your calls.
So why do I say that “anyone can be brilliant at social selling”?
Well, because social selling is a process as much as anything else. It requires the person wanting to become a social seller to do things differently, to create an appealing persona and to be visible. The basic steps are well documented (and pretty obvious).
- Create an appealing personal brand – at Digital Leadership Associates we often talk about people “jumping to conclusions” and that’s what a visitor to your profile will do. They won’t read what you write. They will read what they THINK you have written and there’s a big difference. You need to consider in your most cynical way whether a buyer really wants to read your CV or whether the fact you are a “tenacious salesperson” is going to make them want to pick up the phone to you! “Buyer centric” is Tim’s term for this. Is your profile written to engage the buyer?
- Grow your network – there’s no point in having a huge number of connections if nobody ever notices you (we see that a lot). Once you have created your profile, and only once you have, you should start to connect to people in a charming and interesting way. DO NOT SPAM THEM. Just connect with them to make your network bigger. If you have the right profile and the right approach it’s amazing how many of them will ask to talk to you.
- Look like an expert – on an ongoing basis you need to be finding and writing articles about what it is that you sell. You need to appear like the obvious choice for people who are lost and want to buy, to come to for help and advice. If every day you are publishing (or finding) great pieces which are helping the buyer to make the right decisions, you WILL become the preferred supplier.
- Persevere – “the more I practice the luckier I get” said Greg Norman. The same is true here. If you publish more. If you share good content more. You are maximising the serendipity of people spotting you at the moment they are ready to buy. It may happen on day one. It may not happen for a while. But rest assured it WILL happen if you do things right.
- Persevere – I know that was the last point as well, but keeping going is the hardest part. Everyone can (with help) write a good profile. Everyone can easily grasp the principles. EVERYONE can easily find 30 minutes every single day…7 days/week…365days/year…to become a social selling expert for their business…
But most people won’t. Most people will stop whilst just on the verge of success.
The best example of social selling there is
I often hold up my co-founder Tim as the best example of how to persevere.
He is a great salesman. He has spent most of his career selling large deals to large businesses. He’s a clever, smart and motivated man. A few years ago he decided that he wanted to “own” Social Selling (You could own – HR for Women, AI in marketing transformation, or whatever the niche is that you want to own) so he set about doing it.
He began to write about and tweet and share content about social selling. Now, six years on he is the world’s number one. By such a large margin that he has a 35% share of voice on the subject, meaning that every other person in the world who talks about social selling put together only gets twice the coverage that Tim does by himself. Every day he gets “inbound” from people wanting to talk to him about it (and we have built our business on this) and every week he gets an offer to fly, business class, to another country, and get a fee for speaking on the subject.
He has achieved this amazing feat though just one attribute. Perseverance. He has kept on writing and tweeting and speaking and sharing and engaging where others have just given up and stopped.
That could be you. You could be a thought leader and an influencer and expert. You know what you need to do. So do it.
Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media Strategy, Social Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.