One of the mistakes that people make in Social Selling is aiming too high, too quickly. I’m sure I will be hit with a comment that I’m not man enough by the sales macho types but you people with the open mindsets please read on. The 10-1-1 method is to allow social sellers to get maximum coverage in accounts and of course, to sell more than your competition.
Social Selling Doesn’t Work
Before you go any further let’s take a step back, a prospect of ours once said to us “Social Selling doesn’t work, we sent 250 inmails and got nowhere”, at that point I got the “beat that” look. I calmly pointed out that the reason why they sent 250 inmails and got nowhere was because they looked like spammers. If you want to be a success in social selling, you need to be “attractive” to buyers.
Buyer Centric Profile
Which is why the first thing that you have to do in Social Selling is have a personal brand, or put it another way, a buyer centric profile. We have to unlearn all that stuff about being a hard hitting salesperson. Why? Not that you stop being a salesperson but you won’t get people connecting with you if anybody thinks you will pitch to them after you have connected. Think about it, none of us like being pitched to, so your buyers don’t like it, I don’t like, so if you want to achieve maximum return from Social we need to unlearn that trait.
Selling at C-Level with Social
One thing we have always done in sales is go to the top. Sell at C-Level is the mantra we have heard for many years. While I agree with that, on social let’s slow down a second. If you send a LinkedIn request, people will check you out … especially c-Suite people. You, me and all the C-Suite people are bored of spammers and people pitching to them. The thing about C-Suite people is they are least likely to use LinkedIn, (I will come back to that in a second) and they are highly likely to get a lot of speculative connection requests. So going straight to the top with a speculative request puts you in the “just the same as all the other salespeople” box. 10-1-1 helps you get around this.
Buyers Don’t have the Same Sense of Urgency and Sellers
Note: It sometimes surprises salespeople *smiles* that buyers don’t have the same sense of urgency as us. Just because you send somebody a LinkedIn request, don’t expect them to be sitting at their desk awaiting to get requests, so you can immediately accept them. People may only log into LinkedIn, weekly or monthly.
Why You Need a Network and not Contacts
The next thing you need in social Selling is a strong network, so that as you share insightful and educational content they will amplify it for you. As we explain in all our sessions, don’t sell to your network (they after all know and love you) sell through your network!
When you are building that network you need to go “high” and “wide” but to do this start with the wide first. This is why and how you do this.
So what is 10-1-1 in Social Selling?
Let’s remember that CEB now Gartner say that in B2B Enterprise there are 6.8 people who are now part of any decision. In tech that figure is more like 8 or 10 people that are part of the decision. When a decision is made, while in an ideal world you will have meet with all these people, it’s not always possible.
When you have a target account, you need 10 people in the “rank and file” who will connect with. Still write a LinkedIn connection request, in some cases this can be “cut and paste” in other cases you will need to bespoke each one. You need to be the judge. Don’t forget that anything that smacks of “I want to sell you my shit” or anything that smells like you will try and pitch will reduce your strike rate.
But if you are connected to them on LinkedIn then when it comes to that all important decision. Just think, the decision could come down to two suppliers you and your arch rival and there is a casting vote on somebody who has never met you. If they said “yeah, I know never met them but they posted a really insightful blog last week, let’s give them a try”. Now while I know in work, hope is not a strategy, but in work (as in sport) Let’s champion a philosophy of ‘marginal gains’ as used to winning effect by Dave Brailsford at British Cycling.
And there are no silver medals in sales. That deal is shit or bust. We need to get this right first time, every time. We don’t recommend just firing off LinkedIn connection requests, take you time and be focused.
Selling at C-Level
Back to the 10-1-1 – Once you have 10 connections with the rank and file, then go for the top person, the C-Suite. First of all, you can legitimately say you are already working in the account and name the people and they will see the joint connections. You have a higher chance of them connecting, it is “safer” for them and they will be in good company.
Don’t Forget the Account Influencers
So 10-1-1? 10 rank and file, 1 C-Suite and 1 external advisor. What do we mean by that? Somebody who is in an external company that is advising them. For example, the company auditors, a big 5, or even an analyst type company, Gartner or Forrester. These companies can act as gatekeepers. After all, this is about getting on short lists, often it is these companies that draw up short lists. You want to be in the situation that you get on short lists as people are central to your network and because you are sharing insightful and educational content.
There you have it, the 10-1-1 Social Selling method, which should enable you to get higher and deeper penetration within accounts. This will give you the necessary coverage to cover the buying decision bases, but also should cover you in terms of selling high and broad.
Thanks to Catherine, Bill, Joe and Adam for their inspiration on this blog.
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