I received a LinkedIn connection request from, let’s call him, Mr X

It looked genuine enough, said some nice words about my profile and offered some decent sounding reasons as to why we should connect, I accepted…

Within seconds, I received an overwhelming barrage of information:

  • This solution won't cost me any of my time
  • Small one-time entry fee
  • No monthly fees
  • Makes money even if I do nothing
  • Zero attrition – nobody leaves
  • Daily, weekly and fortnightly pay-outs
  • Bonuses paid time and time again

At the bottom of the onslaught, there was a suggestion that we should have a video call to discuss how I would join up.

I was really annoyed by this (as we all are these days) so I responded by saying:

"Seriously…? 

We literally just connected, and you have auto responded to me with the hard interrupt and broadcast...... You've just done the equivalent of being introduced to me in person and then started shouting a lot of sales stuff in my face. That's not how it’s done here....poor show, really poor".

Mr X responded…

“I use an AI platform which sends automated messages periodically.

Not everyone's cup of tea but if you want a friend then I suggest you get a puppy.

Out of 100 messages sent daily I get a 6% uptake and………” (I’ll leave it there).

I wasn’t offended by this, I was gutted. Is this what it’s become? The beautiful art and science of Sales, Marketing and Business Development condensed into a coded, carpet bombing, brand destroying autobot…?

Why would you make your Social prospects angry with spam!?

I unpacked Mr X's response a little more…

"If you want a friend, I suggest you get a puppy..."

Before I got into Strategic Social media, I had a strong background in B2B Sales and company leadership. It took me 3 months of training and practise to fully understand Social Selling & Influence and how it transforms organisations.  Social Selling is built on a methodology, it’s not something you do, it’s something you use to your advantage. 

Of all the foundational elements of Social Selling, the most crucial is ‘Building Influence’. Presenting yourself in a way that people start to harmonise with your thoughts and perspective and position you as the trusted advisor in the space you want to be known in. This takes training, time, effort, and commitment.

Then it’s about leveraging that influence and building relationships that lead to conversations….

Mr X does not see influence and relationships as important – I do. Mr X wants a quick buck and does not care who you are, what you think or what you do. Mr X wants a quick transaction and does not care what wreckage is left in the wake.

"Out of 100 messages sent daily I get a 6% uptake..."

Imagine this was someone in you business doing this! Sending out thousands of spam transactions, annoying so many people in your target client base, gaining the reputation that your precious brand is fake and a spammer – All for a 94% failure rate in the campaign…?

In which other area of our business would we accept 94% failure as a success…?

Add the crippling reputational damage and this is becoming a mess...

Spam = Waste

Now more than ever we need to get a grip on how we will Sell our products and Services now and in the future – The answer is Social Selling, Remote Selling, Digital Selling, Modern Selling, Virtual Selling – its all the same.


Our employees are now all scattered throughout the world. Less and less are working in-person nobody is attending live events, salespeople are inundated with "digital" communication and struggle to sell virtually. 

Social Selling is not sitting at home, doing what you did for the last twenty years, calling people and emailing them. We are seeing more and more ‘experts’ advising that Social Selling is bombarding people with video messages, rather than bombarding people with cold calls…

Don't fall into this trap, Social Selling is not about being an expert at Zoom, phone calls, emails, and text messages – this is about selling virtually, in a digitally enabled world.  Bombarding us with pitches on LinkedIn is not Social Selling - it's just cold calling on a Social Media Platform!


Social Selling – what is it?

Put simply it is...

"Using your presence and behaviour on Social Media – to build influence, make connections, grow relationships and trust - which leads to conversations and commercial interaction..."

Sure, it has a bit more to it than that but that the foundation. No bots, no hard sell on social, no automated responses or scraping – person to person.

 Sales has always been evolving

There was a time when being able to create relationships wasn't enough and so you needed to be an expert in what you sold, then the internet arrived and changed the game.

In the past, the only way you could find out about our products and services was by talking us. Now you can go online (without us knowing) and get all the information you need. You can add our company to a short list or disqualify us and we won't even know.

 The Sales Problem Today Even in A Virtual World

Everything has changed in Sales. For new business in the digital age, how can a salesperson create a positive environment with prospects and do it in a way that will:

Show that that know their stuff?

Show that they can be trusted?

Start a Conversation that leads to commercial engagement? 

Mr X clearly doesn’t care about any of that, he just wants to fake it and fake you.

We could all pay for a bot to send hundreds of messages daily, but this doesn’t create trust.

The average person today is bombarded with over 10,000 messages per day - How are you going to differentiate yourself and not be just another ignored message?

Back to Social Selling

Social selling isn't new. We have been in business for 4 years and have been transforming organisations across sectors to a new way of thinking and a new way of selling.

Mr X thinks that Social Selling is spamming people with connection requests and then hitting them with a hard pitch. This is just cold calling on a social network and we now view it in the same way – It does not create trust, relationships, conversations or win you deals.

 

Are your competitors ahead of you on Social?

What if your competitors have trained their teams in Social Selling & Influence and have a Social Media Strategy?  It will mean that your competitors look interesting on Social Media, they are proactively building networks, they are creating and sharing content. This content is insightful and educational. They don't look like "just another corporate message".

(Question: What’s the difference between a network and contacts? Contacts don’t remember you, your Network does.

Simply building contacts on LinkedIn is a waste of time, you need to build a network, as these people will remember you, these people will help you and you can help them.

  

Social Selling – How cold calling, emailing and/or spamming puts you behind…

So, you train your teams in Social Selling & Influence and develop a solid strategy, so what?

While your competitors are calling me, emailing me and spamming my LinkedIn hoping to interrupt me and grab my attention, your sales team will have already, connected to me, they won't have spammed me because they know that spamming and using templates does not build trust with me.

Your people are looking to create conversations, your team are building relationships and conversations.

Your Salespeople know that in 2020, we buy from people we know from out trusted networks.

This is how we outsell the competition who are still using legacy sales methods.

This is why you need to switch to Social Selling.

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The typical outcome we see when we train a Sales team in Social Selling & Influence is:

30% increase in Sales

40% decrease in deal flight time (Sales cycle)

Think about that….how long is your average sales cycle?

 

In closing, Social Selling & Influence done well is repeatable, measurable, and scalable – Mr X and his Social Spamming has a short shelf life.

You may have entered the Pandemic analogue, you can leave it Digital...

Let’s talk about what Social Selling and Influence will do for your business today and tomorrow.

You can reach me here

Eric Doyle

Crux / DLA Ignite