Just a little over a quarter of a century ago, a little pamphlet called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People sold 25 million copies and introduced the world to the concept of the "paradigm shift" and the three stages of the "upward spiral," which are Learn, Commit, Do.
Even though the web hadn't even been invented when the book came out, many principles of Social Selling align with that advice on how to live a better life. No matter what technological tools we will use for sales in the future, the following Social Selling principles are eternal.
Here are behaviors that successful social sellers have turned into habits. Keep these in mind when going through your sales process. These are our top 10 (it's gone up from 7 due to inflation) habits that will shake you out of your old sales paradigm and launch a new, upward revenue spiral.
1. Be Passionate
Tell your story and be wholly original. There is no one else on Earth who can tell your story better than you as long as you are passionate about it.
"If you aren't passionate about sales as a profession that requires discipline, then you should get ready for mixed results and some lean years ahead."
- Craig Nelson
2. Invest In Yourself
Devote a significant portion of your resources to continuous improvement. Try to learn about a new tool or tactic or tip every day.
"Most sales organizations don't have anything that resembles a learning loop. There is no process that helps the knowledge transfer to be so embedded into the sales reps process, that it's part of their DNA. Trust me, we've trained over 40,000 sales reps; I've seen the effects of sales training getting deep into someone's bones!"
- Jamie Shanks
3. Seek Support
Having the right support, knowledge and tools ensures that your initial Social Selling process turns into a routine that you can build from. Ultimately these elements will drive a long-term behavioral change which will consequently impact your pipeline and revenue.
"After setting up a Social Selling regimen, my client is finding better leads at a swifter pace with better timing, and, as a consequence, he's closing more business."
- Celina Guerrero
4. Master Your Time
As long as you manage your time wisely, it's not necessary to spend more than 20 minutes/day on social networks.
"LinkedIn success does not depend on the exact amount of time you spend on the platform. The key is how you spend your time and the quality of your network and groups."
- Jose Sanchez
The web and social media have fundamentally changed sales forever. Trying harder with obsolete tactics will never deliver the results you want.
"If you are not online or doing Social Selling this will inevitably happen to you: a) You will be engaged at the late stage of the game; b) You will have no opportunity to add value because you are not the first to bat; c) The discussion will generally move onwards to price and commoditization very quickly."
- Amar Sheth
6. Become A Resource
When you share valuable content, rather than just content designed for clicks and shares, you build something more valuable that leads: a solid reputation as an authority.
"Social Selling is about building your own personal brand so eventually people come to you and see you as an industry expert."
- John Barrows
7. Seek Introductions
Social Selling goes far beyond sales using social media. In fact, cold calls using LinkedIn and pitches sent in a Twitter DM are the exact opposite of Social Selling. It's really about offering help and getting advice from people in your network. The introduction is the atomic unit of Social Selling.
"Going in cold is no longer a viable solution for sales professionals. Leveraging connections and existing relationships to get introduced to decision-makers has proven to have a much higher success rate."
- Koka Sexton
8. Focus on Relationships
Sales used to be about closing when repeat business didn't matter. Quotas were measured in closes and churn was a way of life. The companies that still think that way are rapidly going out of business.
"Forget today. Think about the future. While it can be rewarding in the short-term to focus on transactions, it will harm you in the long-term. Build and sell relationships."
- Amar Sheth
9. Prove Yourself
Sales give prospects information to help them make buying decisions. A large number of buyers gather all the information before even talking to a sales rep. Your job as a sales rep is to become a resource for those buyers and make sure that they talk to you instead of anyone else.
"Your buyer is smart, knowledgeable and doesn't want to talk to you...unless you can give them confidence that you are going to help facilitate and educate the buying process."
- Julie Weill Persofsky
10. Build Pipeline
Remember that all of your efforts should ultimately be tied to pipeline and revenue. Everything else is a distraction. Be proactive in defining your qualified leads early and don't waste your efforts.
"In order to succeed in sales, sellers need to be able to generate as much as 70% of their own leads to make their sales numbers."
- Chris Carlson
Ingrained Habits of Social Selling
Never forget that Social Selling is not just a new technique, it's now the way our society is organized. If you want to be successful at Social Selling over the long run, it's critical that you develop habits that make a better social seller. Just as routines develop into habits, your habits define your character. Consistency is the key and the only way to guarantee a paradigm shift in your approach to sales. You can't be highly effective at Social Selling until these habits are ingrained.