The Nirvana of any sales organisation is to be invited in by a prospect or customer in to their organisation to offer advice.  Maybe even, being seen as a trusted advisor to present to the Board.

Or is maybe it's sitting on the "top table" at an industry event or a conference.

This allows us as a sales organisation to influence the situation with our unique selling points (USPs) and while customers know this, they weigh up the advice given vs the influence a supplier my offer.

  Either way, Ricky Bobby famously said, "If you ain't first, you're last."

(I should say at this point I'm talking Nirvana as in heaven and not Nirvana the 90s grunge band, fronted by Curt Cobain.)

I remember in the days when I sold cloud accountancy systems, we always wanted to be invited in to a customer and help with their on-premises to cloud transformation.  This market is very competitive, there is even have their own three-letter acronym (TLA).  MAGS, which stands for Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.

It's worth saying that being a "trusted adviser" is not the same as a "discovery call" and not the same as being good as asking questions.  If a client suspects you are reading off a script then you won't be the trusted adviser for very long. 

For any organisation being a trusted adviser to your prospects and customers is a critical sales strategy, so how can this be achieved in today's digital and virtual worlds? 

How as a business do we get invited into a company at a senior level and set the strategy?

The answer is teaching salespeople how to sell value?


Sure, once you have got the meeting, you need to sell value, but a value selling course won't get you the meetings.  

Let me explain. 

Your prospects and customers have business issues and to solve them they will search on social media to find a solution.  That solution, will be a company, for sure, but more likely be a person. 

Being trusted adviser isn't about brochures and white papers, it's about insight, being educational and offering an opinion.  Most importantly it's being you and not some corporate suit. 

What can you do to be a trusted adviser and work on the top table of clients, regardless if you are a big or small company?

A profile that positions you not as a salesperson but as a trusted advisor

If your social media profile is a CV or makes we look like "just another salesperson" then prospects and customers will bypass you and you won't be invited in.  All sales people today, regardless of company you are selling to or vertical market you work in, need a buyer centric profile.

This is a profile that buyers will approach and ask for help.  We train and coach you how to create one of these in our social selling and influence training.

A network within the accounts you want to influence

To get prospects and clients to find you and notice you, to invite you in to help them, you have to be visible to them.

The best way to do this, is to connect to your prospects and clients.  The mistake that salespeople always make is they think "connect" means write something like "I'm your salesman, would you like to connect".  You won't get far with this approach as nobody likes a salesman and nobody likes being pitched to. 

In our social selling and influence course, we teach you how to connect with people so they accept your connection request.  Better still how to use this as a way to start conversations.  After all, conversations start sales.  We also coach you how to have conversations with people on social, another way that can drive commercial interaction. 

Not brochures but content that demonstrates your trusted advisor status

The third thing you need to get invited by clients to help with their transformation is content. 

I'm not talking about white papers or corporate content, I'm talking about own authored content.  Written by the salesperson themsleves.

A business won't invite in a person that shares nothing more than brochures.  Clients will invite in sales people that have insight, that are educational, that have an opinion, a salesperson where we see they have a rounded view of the world.  For example, we see something about them and their lives. 

As a client I'm looking for insight, somebody with knowledge that will help my business, somebody that will challenge me and tell me something I don't know.  I don't need somebody who will regurgitate  brochures, this is of no value to me. 

I would recommend that you need to have a diverse set of content, written, video, podcast, because people consume content in different ways.  We teach you how to do this on our social selling and influence course. 

Just a reminder, you also need to be visible, if you only post once every two weeks, that isn't being visible.  We post content (just like this) every day. This is selling in a virtual world. 

So whose doing this?

In case you missed it, the Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have banned cold calling and have moved all their people to social selling. This isn't some trendy tech company that might have decided to do this on a whim, this is a very conservative financial services company that has made a decision based on data.

But surely cold calling has a better ROI than social selling?  Not according to Merrill Lynch.

"They will also be encouraged to contact prospects over LinkedIn, which has a higher hit rate than cold calling"