An interesting thing about humans is that we seem to prize knowledge very highly…but in itself it has little or no value.
I’ve worked at a number of organisations over the years that have treated training programmes as a major objective each year. Staff were expected to complete one…or two…or three courses every 12 months. Many times attending training programmes was part of a person’s job description and whilst I think this is a very laudable thing to do (you know, personal development and all that) it actually, in my experience, had little or no benefit to the company or to the individual that sat the training.
Please don’t think that I’m saying that training is a waste of time, because I don’t think that it is. It can be very useful, but as our Asian reseller (David Foo) says on his LinkedIn profile “knowing without doing is folly”…and it is. Simply cramming people with knowledge, skills and techniques that they seldom if ever use is a total waste of time, money and effort.
We all know this…but we still seem to do it as if upskilling people is a silver bullet that will turn the company around.
It isn’t…and it won’t.
Simply because I pass on a skill that you don’t already have and I can convince you that it’s great is no guarantee that you will use that skill.
That’s why webinars, immersion training events and one-day-seminars have little or no effect on people’s behaviours.
Knowing something and doing it are poles apart.
Success in social selling (as in so many other things in life) is governed by taking action, not by know thing things. If it were I would be and Olympic sprinter and the world’s No. 1 at golf!
So often we see people saying things like “learn the secrets of social selling in a day” or “our webinar programme has educated thousands of people” but sadly this isn’t enough. Yes you can learn the principles of social selling in a day. In fact I can give them to you now:
- create a strong personal brand
- grow a large network
- engage the network in regular conversations
- create and publish regular content
That’s it, simple, you know the secrets now…but sadly there’s a big difference between “simple” and “easy” and this is often not explained to people.
These time-wasting activities (seminars and webinars) are sold to the recipients as a “magic bullet” which will help you to be successful and it simply isn’t true.
Sometimes the person selling the programme believes that their good ideas will propagate through the company they work with (and they won’t) or they believe that the little bit of luck that they’ve had is in fact not luck but magic!
I have seen one social selling “expert” who proudly proclaims “how I sold a million dollar deal with one inmail.” That proves nothing except that they were lucky. Was the inmail good…yes, it was. But is this a methodology? No, it’s not, because if it was this person would be selling “million dollar deals with a single inmail” every week (and so would all the people that they trained) but they’re not. It happened once. They just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right message. It’s just lucky…and you can’t build a business on luck.
What you can build a business on though is creating behaviours that make the lucky chance of being in the right place at the right time happen more frequently.
We think that if you do what we say from one of our social selling programmes you should be able to generate one additional face to face sales meeting each week (you may be able to do more than that, but let’s assume it’s just one).
If you close one opportunity in four then that means that you could have one additional sale per month, and if you have an average deal size of £100k then that’s an additional £1,200,000 per year. For each person who goes through the programme and does what they’re supposed to.
That’s not a million dollar deal with one in mail, that’s an additional million dollars in sales per person…every single year.
Clearly there are some caveats here:
- “If they do what they’re supposed to” is the big one. If people come through the programme and simply don’t do anything then there will be no difference. That’s why we have made the programme a 12 week programme so that we are increasing the chances of people forming good habits rather than just cramming them with knowledge.
- If sales people don’t close one in four opportunities…if they can’t close at all…then it doesn’t matter how many meetings they generate it won’t turn in to revenue.
- If the salesperson doesn’t keep up this good behaviour then the benefit will, like going to the gym, diminish over time. They must keep growing their network, keep interacting and keep publishing content and if they don’t they will slip back to their old habits.
So, why do we think that social selling is so vital when people have been selling for generations and social selling’s relatively new?
Well, because the ‘old” ways are becoming increasingly uneconomic and inefficient. Where once you needed to make 20 calls to get to the decision maker, then 50, then 100 and now it’s perhaps 200 calls and tying up skilled people for hours on end speaking to voicemails and gatekeepers simply doesn’t make sense. Use social selling to warm them up so they will actively want to take your call. The same is true for email and advertising. Does that mean that you can’t get a sale from cold calling (or email of advertising)? No, of course not. It does mean though that it’s much harder to do so and where people are actively trying NOT to take calls, read emails and watch adverts persisting with these methods to generate opportunities is really not so smart any more.
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