Back in 2014 I was tasked with a social selling roll out across 4,000 sales people and pre-sales people across Europe at a very large US software house. Not long after that I was approached to write by first book on social selling "social selling - techniques to influence buyers and change makers" which has gone on to sell over 5,500 copies.
In that time I have seen massive changes in both social media, we have gone from niche sales tactic to must have sales strategy and of course we have seen social media change the world of business and society.
Being the CEO of DLA Ignite, we are a business that transforms businesses with social, it is what we focus on, we don't do anything else. That means we are at the forefront of this change, we are constantly innovating and changing social and social selling.
For example, we recently changed our program to move away from "being on social" which everybody is in some shape or form and moved to "digital dominance". This is where you totally wipe out the competition.
The problem for many organisation is they still see social selling as a tactic, they will have "read an article on LinkedIn" and therefore taken it as being the gospel truth.
As Abraham Lincoln said
What is social selling?
How about I can pick you up tomorrow from your house and drive you to a place where all your prospects and customers hang out. Wouldn't that be great.
All you have to do is have a conversation with them.
Now in this social situation, would you walk into the room and start pitching to people? No, so why in this social situation on LinkedIn are you pitching to people?
Social media is social, just like a networking event.
The first mistake is that people think that social selling is selling on social. Wrong!
We've all had it, the connection request and the pitch or just the connection request which is a pitch. This isn't social selling, it's cold calling on a social network. As I described above, a social network is about being social, just like a networking event, so leave the sales pitches in the 1980s where they belong.
You have a small network. You must move your analogue territory online. If you are expecting to sell in an account then you need to be connected to the decision makers, the champions, the people will authority and the people with influence. And when I say "a network" I'm talking about having at least 5,000 people. All deal reviews today should have a review of how many connections you have in an account. Don't forget a connection is your opportunity to have a conversation, see mistake 1 above.
You are asking to be introduced to somebody through your network.
Come on, life has moved on, this was social selling a la 2015, you don't need to do this anymore. Using a social selling methodology like the one we teach and coach you can get to anybody and anyone. Simples.
Your LinkedIn profile is still a CV or at least isn't a buyer centric profile. We know our buyers are looking for people to help them, they are looking for somebody who is trust worthy, thinking you can look and sound like a salesperson from 1980 isn't going to get you invited to the ball.
You don't need to be like Sherlock Holmes, be yourself, this notion you need to look for commonality on another person't profile is old hat. Be yourself, the more into this you lean, the more your prospects will walk towards you. Sending connection requests that say "we went to the same university" will get you ignored, it worked in 2014, so did the iPhone 6. We've moved on.
No content. Your buyer is looking for content, they are looking for insight, they are looking to be educated and they are looking for somebody they can trust. They are not looking for corporate brochures.
I know that the common narrative is that "LinkedIn is a professional network and therefore your share corporate stuff". It's utter rubbish. All the research shows that people come to social networks to ..... be social. They don't come here to read brochures. The more you can stop sharing "corporate content" and sharing your own thoughts and experiences the better.
Standing and watching from the side lines. A social network is social, it requires you to engage and comment. You have experience and expertise, then share it.
Thinking that social selling = LinkedIn. There are many social networks out there, Twitter, Instagram, there are social networks that your clients and prospects will be on. You need to be on them too. We talked before about not "being on social" but digital dominance. This is about you flexing your digital muscles and going where your prospects are. On social.
Thinking that people will just do this. In the social selling roll out I talked about above, we presented to the team how if they followed these steps they would make more money. Guess what happened? Nothing. Social selling requires and mindset and habit change and you won't get this by "hints and tips" sessions and death by power point presentations.
We recommend the 70:20:10 change method and having a social selling methodology that has been tried and tested many times before on other companies.
Remember: Knowing and doing are two very different things.
To embed these processes into your team we would recommend that you use a playbook. The mistake we often see is that one playbook will be created and everybody is told to use it.
The problem is that the playbook will be created for one vertical or one area and then the sales people will reject they playbook who work in other areas. For example, if they playbook was created for the contraction sales team, the sales people in mid-market, selling to retail, Government will reject it.
You have to create as many playbooks as you have teams.
I hope you have found this useful, I want you to be a success in your social selling roll out, if you want to make sure that you don't make the mistakes and are up-to-date with the latest techniques then you contact one of the team here at DLA Ignite.
We are a global team, so we will have somebody that is in your locality and will have the vertical knowledge that maybe you need.