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The Sales Review

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Why Your Social Selling Efforts Aren’t Where They Should Be

Posted by Jamie Shanks on Jul 25, 2016 1:14:59 PM



Sales repetition is the mother of all learning.

Sales repetition is the mother of all learning.

Sales repetition is the mother of all learning.

Sales repetition is the mother of all learning.

People always ask sales and sales enablement leaders: what will yield the greatest results for providing skill-based enablement for sales professionals, especially around social selling?

To answer this question, you need to look at the science of enablement:

  • 10% of the impact comes with the delivery of the training. This means people have enjoyed your training because they related to it and it was contextual.

  • 20% of the impact comes with behavioral change. Did it make an impact that soaked into their DNA? Are they applying it? Are they creating action?

However, reinforcement is the most important thing you can do to create results and return on investment. It fills in the remaining—and most important 70%.

Reinforcement means repetition—that week upon week, month upon month, your sales reps are doing micro bursts of social selling activity and being tested and reinforced on that behavior. It then truly becomes part of their DNA. It becomes habitual.

No matter what skills you’re training your sales reps on, you need to reinforce the learning. In our program, we do this through:

  • A multiple-choice exam,

  • Weekly assignments,

  • A final social selling routine assignment which requires booking a new meeting or opportunity which is presented back to a sales leader.

The best ways to create reinforcement

  • Provide simple concrete tests that a sales professional can do week after week to keep their skill base high.

  • Provide a video.

  • Conduct a workshop.

  • Create role-based scenarios where sales reps present to the teacher.

  • Showcase an outcome. A sales rep books a meeting or an opportunity and showcases how they did it.

All of these are ways you can create reinforcement, but you must do this in a way that has virtually no material impact on their day-to-day routine. You want to see their routine is completely embedded in skill-based training that you provided. So when you monitor and audit the sales reps’ routine, social selling as the example, will be part of their DNA. They are finding accounts. They are educating themselves. They're engaging their customers. They're developing their network.

You have to be able to identify that the three major pillars of social selling: insights-based selling, trigger-based selling, and referral-based selling, is part of their DNA before you can pull off the gas and slow down the reinforcement model. Otherwise, like any sort of activity, they will revert to what is inherently part of their DNA.

Let’s face it. We’re all human. Some people try to change their diet or start an exercise program. Your DNA, what's in your bones, is already set for what you're most likely going to do. And if you give up too soon—before the habit is embedded in your DNA, which typically takes weeks upon weeks—you will revert back to muscle memory that you had before.

In summary, when you’re measuring impact, delivering skill-based training, testing against it, and making sure that it turns from behavior to action will cover the first 10% and the next 20%. But the remaining 70% is will come from repetition: keeping people honest, testing and auditing and going through their social selling routine, until you’ve done it enough times where it's clear and obvious that it’s part of their DNA.

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Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks

About the Author

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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