"Tim, we are desperate to learn about social selling, can you help us please?"
I went to the sales leader of this organization and asked if his team would be interested in social selling?
He said no.
While I can offer help in so much as suggest people read my third book "social selling - techniques to influence buyers and changemakers - 2nd edition", which is available on Amazon worldwide.
Buying the book is a small investment.
At the end of the day we are a business and we need to make money, we are not a charity and offer free training.
But how can a business and a leadership team be so disconnected with what is going on out there at the "coalface"?
All the data shows that the buyers have migrated to social media, see here, and we have loads of case studies. I actually give an example (below) from one of our clients where they have closed a $2.6 million deal, with social selling, they then took another $600,000 out of them six months later. Not a bad return on their investment (ROI).
I've just got off a call where one of our clients have just finished our social selling and influence course and they are forecasting $0.5 Billion, yes that's $500 million, again not a bad ROI. They have just closed a deal which gives them a 6 to 1 ROI and they haven't finished the course yet. All though social selling.
Why would a leader not want some of this?
Let's explain more about what is social selling and how this all works?
Now picture this
Tomorrow, you and I are going to meet at the lobby of your target customer.
We walk over to the elevators and I press the button to go up to the relevant floors where we can meet with the people you need to sell to. Now you have never met these people before so i will introduce you. That will mean you will get to meet the people you need to meet in this target customer of yours.
Pick whatever department you want, I will take you there and introduce you.
For example, say you sell accounting systems, ERP systems, then I can take you and introduce you to the people in Finance. Or maybe you sell human resources (HR) software and I take you to meet the HR people. Or maybe you sell CRM, customer experience (CX) and I can take you to meet all the people in marketing and sales.
Now if I walked you into finance, (or any of the other departments) and I started to introduce you to the people there one-by-one. Now, you wouldn't hand everybody a brochure and walk away, would you?
This is your chance to get into the business, meet the people, build relationships. Kinda cool!
Either way you would also want to be remembered. So you might ask them a question about themsleves, maybe you spot that Manchester United mug on their desk, the Nick Saban bobblehead (doll). The photo of their family on their desk, you would start a conversation about them. You might crack a joke. You would start building trust. Maybe you would ask them about the business, be curious about them and the company?
As I walk you around the department, and introduce you to more and more people, you would get to know more and more people and the department would get to know you. In fact the whole department will know you, just think of the competitive advantage you now have.
We haven't needed to talk about product, we are connecting as humans, we are having conversations. We are being social.
Just through this simple way of showing you around and introducing you to people, you are front of mind and your competition is not. This is so powerful!
I've now walked you around the whole department, they know you, you know them. It's time to see the big boss and I take you in and introduce you.
One of the things we do in life is find commonality with each other, because when we do that we start to know, like and trust each other.
You then ask her some of the business related issues you picked these pointers up from her staff you have been talking to.
If it's finance you might ask her about how long it takes to close the month end books, if it's human resources it might be about sourcing internal talent, if it's CRM you might ask about onboarding sales people.
I could go on, but you should get the picture now.
It does not matter if you know nobody in this company, they could even be using a competitive solution. But by the time I've walked you around, they know you, they know you as a human, they are aware that you work for a company and you didn't even need to pitch to them. Now it's time to start moving some of those conversations to commercial interaction.
This is social selling
Now you can stop imagining, what I've described to you is social selling.
This is so powerful, so natural and is the killer blow you need today.
Here at DLA Ignite, teach and coach you, to digitally walk into companies, build influence and trust, across the whole team from the ground floor to the top floor. From your ideal customers, to the stakeholders and the budget holders.
It could be new business, you could be trying to displace a competitor, it could be "landing and expanding" it could be part of an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy.
Either way, using social selling and influence from DLA Ignite is the fastest way to success and we can get you there.
On to the second story.
Now Imagine .....
How about if I said, I can take you to a place where all your prospects hang out, would you go?
I can pick you up in the car tomorrow and you can hang out there, having conversations with them.
When you arrived, what would you do?
Grab a coffee and go up to the first one and start a conversation? Of course you would.
Or would you walk in and say "buy my stuff, because we are great". Of course you wouldn't, as somebody would call security.
That's the difference. Selling on social is ...... social. You have conversations with people.
You don't go up to people and pitch to them as people will call security.
The great thing about social is that there is no "prime selling time (PST)", you can have as many conversations as you want. One of my customers, does his prospecting between putting the kids to bed and when he goes to bed.
It's time to bring your demand generation into the second decade of the 21st century and it's time to "start fishing where the fish are" ...... on social.
The third story is about how you can bring all this together
One of the benefits of getting all you team(s) to social sell is that you as a business will start getting what we call digital dominance. So what on earth is that?
You are at a conference and there are a drinks event that evening where all the people from the conference are invited.
You have a conference call which makes you late for the drinks.
You arrive and everybody is there.
As you look around the room, you realise that the people in the room are your prospects and customers. Which is great news. Each of these prospects and customers are talking to somebody, they have a drink in hand and they are laughing and joking.
The question is this, these prospects and customers, are they talking to people from your business or are they talking to the competition?
If they are talking to your people, that's going to be great and make you feel great, if they are all talking to the competition, you are going to feel a sickness in the stomach.
Now think about this in a digital landscape, LinkedIn, Twitter, all the research shows that your customers are hanging out on digital somewhere. Where these prospects and customers hangout, are they talking to people from your business or a competitor?
It's no different from the drinks event.
This is your challenge and also your opportunity.
Your job is to do this, before the competition does it and owns the space.
Owning your market sector or vertical, is digital dominance.
What is social selling?
Here at DLA Ignite, we define social selling as
"Using your presence and behavior on Social Media to build influence,
make connections, grow relationships and trust, which leads to
conversation and commercial interaction."
It's not witchcraft, it's enabling your salespeople to work from home, (or the office) and create conversations with prospects and customers. Conversations on social media and conversations that convert.
The problem with the name "social selling" is that people think that this is selling on social. All these pitches that you get on social are not social selling, they are spam.
The other thing you need to know about social selling is that this isn't about "putting out some videos" or "putting flowers on your profile" or "going viral". Here at DLA Ignite, engagement is important but we are about driving revenue, EBITDA, for your business using social media. This is about you winning business from the competition and having a competitive advantage.
Social is about having a strategy and there are two key drivers
With anything you do on social there are two questions you need to ask
2. How much revenue / EBITDA am I getting as a business?
Posting and hoping or posting random stuff is not a strategy, in fact I doubt it's driving anything for your business.
So who's social selling?
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"
“Social selling is not an option now it is the way of the world and you either learn and execute it or fear getting left behind”
Kevin Murray who is the Head of Sales at MacArtney Underwater Technology recently posted about his success with social selling here and wrote an article about the transformation that has happened in sales here.
Andrew Ferrier who is the CEO of Display Technology Ltd and in this article it talks about why Display Technology have adopted social selling. His team have also created a social media strategy with help from our partner, Crux.
Their social media mission statement is
“We want to position ourselves as a forward-thinking, knowledgeable team of individuals who are all experts in our own right, therefore, collectively awesome!”
Andrew also says in that post
"Adopting this (social selling) strategy has taken all of us well outside of our comfort zones but the rewards we have seen in a short period of time have created an excitement within the business development team (new term for sales team).
Because of the nature of social media, quite often you can get instant results. Even if that is just a comment left on your post, or a like, or someone taking the time to want to connect with you.
The excitement around the sales team is infectious, it’s no longer a chore to reach out to the market place because the results can be instant and are there, right in front of you."
What sort of results can you expect?
If you check out this video of Chris Mason CEO at Oracle reseller Namos, and DLA Ignite customer, fast forward to 19 minutes 55 seconds. Chris talks about a $2.6 million win from being on social, after completing the DLA Ignite social selling and influence course.
What happened? They buyer was on social media looking for a solution to their problem, spotted one of the Namos salespeople, who had a buyer-centric profile and asked if the salesperson could help them. That turned into a $2.6 million deal.
and they will be more than happy to help.
Go and look at their LinkedIn profiles .... look how they can have digital conversations, create insightful content. This could be your company!
We are the only social selling and influence company in the world to offer a certificate in social selling sponsored by the Institute of Sales Professionals (ISP).
Other articles you might be interested in ....
Articles for the CEO
Articles for Sales leadership
Can programmatic social selling sort my pipeline issues?
Articles to support sales people - sales process and sales tips
Can I use prospect sequencing with social selling?
Articles to support channel and third party selling
Articles to support Account Based Marketing / Account Based Selling - ABM - ABS
Articles about Employee advocacy
Articles for Marketing
Our VP of Sales Just got 83 likes on a LinkedIn post, so that means we are social selling? No!