Be forewarned – this is Part 2 of many more. I wish that wasn’t the case but there are too many misconceptions about Social Selling in the market that are outright false. There are still naysayers who don’t believe that the buyer has changed. The same people have also neglected social altogether by opting for traditional sales techniques such as cold calling even though they've been proven to becoming less effective.
Take a look in particular at this shocking conversation on LinkedIn! It represents just one example of the many discussions Social Selling sparks in many organizations. For privacy reasons, I’ve redacted their names.
I present Exhibit A:
How They’re Wrong!
Let us count just some of the ways these individuals are completely incorrect in their thinking:
1. “Social Selling is a tool.”
Please don’t buy this bad advice! It’s extremely dangerous to your success in sales. Social Selling is very much a philosophy. Just like cold calling – yes, it’s an activity, but it’s a philosophy and mindset FIRST.
2. People buy from social sellers all the time.
Please meet a few of my favorite ones here and listen to the countless sales leaders who know that the buying journey has changed and are leading their sales teams through social education and seeing results (like Carl Farrell, Kevin Coppins, Travis Tom, Mario Martinez, Greg Randolph, Jen McClure, Tony Magro, to name a few).
3. I’m not sure why (lack of education is likely the reason) but the individual here also assumes that deals are closed on social media.
I don’t know why anyone would think this. I don’t know anyone who closed a deal on Twitter or LinkedIn. What they have done, however, is effectively found, educated and engaged prospects using social networking, but then moving that conversation offline. Therefore, this statement is absolutely bizarre – in fact, it’s stating the obvious. He may have well said “Hey everyone, you need oxygen to live.” Thanks Captain Obvious!
But Wait, There’s More!
Other people chime in on this nonsense with how this is bad selling advice for young people. No one is saying that you shouldn’t know and be trained on the basics. However, not knowing how to engage potential buyers online is equally dangerous.
I’d like to remind everyone of some basic facts:
- Buyers are now going online to conduct due diligence, research and network with like-minded peers. CEB and Forrester peg this number at 57% and 74% respectively. I’m sure for some industries it’s less but it doesn’t negate the fact that buyers are going online.
- According to IDC, 75% of buyers are now using social media to research vendors. Don’t you want to be online educating them there?
- Plus, in a study done by The Harvard Business Review, 90% of decision makers never answer a cold outreach. This doesn’t mean we don’t use the phone but it does mean you’ll have to warm up your calls. You’ll have to up your game and bring your knowledge to every phone interaction. Leverage social media to to research and find relevant information specific to your buyer.
Despite this, every sales professional should do a mix of traditional activities. But, they should also focus on learning how to be effective with social media to network with potential buyers. So why is this such a bad thing?
Additionally, the digital world is becoming more flat. This means one domino that has already fallen is the ability to share one’s own thoughts. This is no longer a privilege of the few. It’s the right of the many.
Notice how yet another individual above is trashing that idea. One thing is for sure; the ability to share ideas is now open to anyone. Filter out what you don’t want to read if you don’t like it – that’s the online world today. Very much like TV, if you don’t like a channel, change it.
The Bottom Line
Dear reader, if you can’t already tell, there is plenty of bad advice out there when it comes to Social Selling. I’m okay with this – but what I can’t stand, both personally and professionally, are uneducated statements that aren’t backed up by anything.