This is written for all sales leaders of a certain age that might find social selling scary. If you are that person, read on, if you know one of these people, please share this with them.
Before, I start I need to state that I’m 54 (in fact it was my birthday just a couple of days ago).
Some context. I was at a conference a few days ago and got into a discussion about how somebody knew of a “fifty” year old sales leader who would find social selling scary.
Social Selling Does not Replace Your Process
They were described as having a “process” and nothing was going to get in the way of that process. This is great, sales is all about process. Follow the process and everybody knows where they are, buyers and sellers.
We Have Always Had Change in Sales
A little bit about my background. I started selling some 25 years ago. There was no internet, mobile and social media. In fact there was little or no email adoption. This was yet to come. I had to hand write my letters and pass them to a typing pool. The common means of communication was the telephone and the letter.
In my next role, the typing pool had been fired and we got 386 PCs with Amipro and Lotus123. (The IT team said that Microsoft Word and Excel would never catch on.) This was a massive change for us salespeople. We had to type our own letters, where would we find time to do this? We were salespeople not typists!
Then somebody should us “mail merge” and we could increase the number of letters we sent out for little effort.
At this point a number of people decided not to get on the “typing” train. Why would you? PCs were just a fad, they would never catch on. Of course, today a PC (I’m a Mac person) is seen by any employee as a right, along with a mobile phone. This has all been lost in the mists of time.
While I had access to email as a graduate at ICL, mainstream email wasn’t common place. A friend of mine was paid, yes paid, to do a cost appraisal for a company to take email. He presented to the Board, they rejected it. At that time lawyers said that the only form of legal documentation was a letter, email was a fad. It would never catch on.
If you look at any article on starting a company, you need email, I doubt any company would expect to work without it. Certainly nobody does a business case on an email purchase, you just do it.
We Have all Been to a Networking Event?
Let’s change the subject. Have you ever been to a networking event? I was was at one last night. After the Conferance there was networking drinks. There is a process to networking drinks.
I walk in the room, scan the room for like likely people to talk to. Go and get a drink and then look for a likely group of people to talk to and head over there. Introduce myself and get talking, not sure what happens as habit kicks in. There was a ritual at networking events where you would swap business cards.
If you are comfortable with networking events, you should be comfortable with social. It’s no different from networking, but without the drinks.
Our best students are ones that understand the power of networking and how you can take those business cards and Rolodex and put them online.
I remember when social networks first started out and I immediately saw a benefit in not needing to keep updating business cards as people moved jobs, they would do it for you on LinkedIn or Plaxo (remember that!)
Social selling is as simple as that.
It’s online networking.
It does not invalidate anything you have learned over the last twenty or thirty years.
You keep your sales processes you have always used. You still pick up the phone and talk to people and go for meetings, just the same as you have always done.
What Have Social Sellers Ever Done for Us?
To finish, some irony (I’m British and I like irony) a recent cold calling conference was launched on social and social is a place where cold callers now hang out to spread their message. So if it’s good enough for cold calling gurus, why not give it a try?
So where do you start, my book “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” available on Amazon and audible is a great place to start. You can read and listen at you own pace.
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