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The Sales Review

Learn about emerging best practices, strategies and insights on B2B sales today dedicated for the modern sales organization.

Sales Leaders: You Don’t Need Permission To Use Social Selling

Posted by Amar Sheth on Jan 22, 2017 11:00:00 AM

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If you believe that technology is changing the world faster than ever before in our civilization, you’re not wrong. It is. And it’s not stopping.

Now, one of the biggest advantages of technology is speed. And one of the biggest barriers that has existed before is an information vacuum.

What do I mean? Let me elaborate. The information vacuum was pre-1995, before the “You’ve got mail” days. Pre-1995 human beings were extremely reliant for their information on very few sources.

Authorities like Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute, have identified that prior to the internet, there were only approximately eight sources of information, including things like newspapers, magazines, radio, television, etc.

But now, every YouTube channel is an information source. Every Twitter feed is an information source. And yes, we’re now in an interesting time where there is clearly a shift happening between the old world of media and the brave new world of media. There is still immense opportunity for those that recognize where we are heading as a species.

Sounds flaky, right? It really isn’t.

We as a species are choosing to communicate in a different way. It’s happening all around us. It’s unstoppable. Leaders in this movement like Seth Godin have described this movement as “The connected age”. Major research houses like Forrester have called this, “The age of the customer” and there are many other valid descriptions for this era.

Start Selling The Way You Buy

Whatever we call this, let’s not kid ourselves anymore. If you are selling the way you did ten years ago, you are in deep, deep trouble and you need to wake up.

I don’t want to sound harsh, that is not my intent, but the day reckoning is coming. Because you, as a consumer, have decided in your non-work life, to get information in a very specific way:

-You choose not to use the phonebook, you choose to use Google.

-You choose not to call asking the restaurant about certain dishes, you choose to get reviews from Yelp.

-You choose not to buy a newspaper subscription, you choose to get information from the Huffington Post or your favorite online source.

-You choose not to buy a bigger cable package, you choose to consume video on YouTube and “cable cut” and watch Netflix.

-You choose to make a decision to participate in the digital economy every day by buying stuff from Amazon and eBay. 

Every single decision you make to consume information validates where we are heading as a species. Yet, at work, you are choosing to, surprisingly, still only cold call and reach out via cold email.

Why? Why is it that you are afraid to use social as a legitimate medium of research, collaboration and communication? I’ll tell you why: it’s because you’re waiting for permission.

What I’m here to tell you is that you don’t need to wait for that permission. You don’t need it from me, from my company, from your company, your manager – you don’t need it from anyone. You need to start today with whatever you have in any which capacity you can start it in. Starting is the goal, inertia is not.

Okay, so what should you do? Why should you do it? What are your next steps?

Give Your LinkedIn Profile A Makeover

I would start with sprucing up how you look online. I would start with fixing your LinkedIn profile. If you need some strategies and some help, click here.

The way you look online is very important. If you look, feel, sound and act like a sales person online on your LinkedIn profile with your picture, your headline, your summary or lack thereof, then you will basically be considered a commodity. Because your profile mimics the millions of other sales people on the planet who have not bothered to change the look and feel of their LinkedIn profile.

What Information Do Your Customers Really Value?

If you don’t have the answer to this questions, there’s a really simple way to get it. Talk to them. Pick up the phone or send them an email and say, “Hey, I’ve never asked you this question, what’s on your reading list right now? What do you care about? What are you planning to read six months from now? What are your problems today and what are you trying to read to solve those problems?”

If you simply get that information and share it with your entire territory, your entire named account list, your prospects in general, you will basically start to stand out versus all of the robot-sounding salespeople out there.

This is a fact. It’s happened thousands and thousands and thousands of times right in front of my eyes. So, why should it be any different with you?

Now, here’s the strategic advantage if you do this. You will basically join the elite .5% of the world’s sales population who are doing something like this. Why does this matter? Well, it basically just means that you have a huge opportunity to stand out and get attention versus the rest of your peers in the world.

So, you make the choice, where would you rather be? Would you rather that your sales rep sound the same as everyone else? Or, would you rather that they stand out? That they represent your brand, and that they really care about what the customer cares about.

Mr. Sales Leader, Madam Sales Leader, I have a question for you: Why are you asking your reps to sell the way you don’t currently buy?

Your next move? Connect with me - on LinkedIn and Twitter.

New Research: What Hundreds of Sales And Marketing Leaders And Professionals Told Us

Amar Sheth

About the Author

Amar Sheth has trained thousands of people worldwide on the topic of Social Selling, through a style that’s part storytelling and part motivational.