We didn't start the fire
It was always burning since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No, we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it
"We didn't start the fire" what better way to depict what is going on inside the sales world today. Social media this, social networks that and of course social selling all seem to be everywhere as everyone is talking about them. Heck, self-proclaimed experts, pundits and so-called thought leaders are popping up everywhere reciting the same statistical B.S.
All this reminds of the old game show - Will the real social selling expert please stand up?
The question lies around can all of this really be used to drive incremental sales revenue? Yes indeed it sure can! In reality, social in all its glory is revolutionizing and is becoming a game-changing sales weapon inside a sales reps toolbox when used in conjunction with all the other sales tools.
The vast majority of salespeople and leaders aren’t leveraging social because they don’t know how, where to start or even the basics around "why". Why? Confusion is running amuck as social pundits feud with traditionalists over the way it is versus the way it should be. All this has created is a bunch of capitalistic tour guides running around - all talk with very little action.
All this feuding and self-promoting social antics has done is lulled sales reps into...
Social media, social networks and social platforms do provide a portal to a sales universe of opportunities and conversations but it is also overwhelming, confusing and if you and your sales team doesn't have the right skills, mindset and core foundation established to make it work it will be doomed for failure.
How about let's unite to get better at the art of selling in a modern business world?
NO SHORTCUTS IN SALES
Social is not the quick fix get rich scheme that everyone is making it out be. If you can't block and tackle with the most basic set of sales skills then in no way shape or form will you have success with social. Yes some may say this is harsh but folks this is just being real.
Stop your fascination with get rich quick schemes and not wanting to put in the work. Integrating social into the sales process does work but it takes time and patience, two things going against most sales people.
3 SIMPLE YET REAL REASONS WHY SALES TEAMS SOCIAL ROI SUCKS
Integrating the use of social inside the sales process isn't rocket science. It is made into rocket science because there is too much "PhD" level discussion and social jargon being thrown around confusing the crap out of the average sales department.
From an "on the street" sales guy perspective I have pin-pointed 3 reasons why sales reps, their managers and their leaders "social" use sucks as they can't reel in the ROI.
SALES REPS LINKEDIN PROFILES ARE HORRIBLE
Whether you like it or not, your sales teams digital presence is out there and people can find their sales footprints or lack thereof quite easily.
Information now travels instantaneously, network connections are made every day and first impressions are made about your sales reps without their knowledge.
Sales leaders, when a potential client lands on one of your sales reps LinkedIn profiles, their opinion about them will be made at that very moment. Whether you believe it or not, if they fail to make a great impression you may have lost them forever.
Look at every single one of your sales reps LinkedIn profiles... Pretend you’re a potential client and ask yourself with sincere honesty...
Would I buy from anyone of my sales reps based upon what I currently see on their LinkedIn profiles?
Questions for all sales leaders to answer...
- Are your sales reps presenting themselves as a helpful expert?
- Are your sales reps capturing their target audience with value centric messaging?
- Are your sales reps clearly explaining your services?
- Are your sales reps providing educational content?
- Are your sales reps explaining why someone should meet with them?
- Does your sales reps story resonate with your prospects and your clients?
- Are your sales reps leaving your prospect with a feeling they know, like and trust them?
- Are your sales reps clearly articulating the value they bring to your clients and future clients?
SALES REPS SUCK AT DRIVING NEW CONVERSATIONS
What makes your sales reps valuable?
Your clients and future clients won’t ever engage in a business conversation nor buy from your sales reps if they don’t even understand why they should pay attention to them.
What's sad is if you can't open up a conversation through traditional prospecting, what makes you think you can do it with social selling?
Think about how your sales reps are opening up sales conversations face to face on and online. Sales reps have been given a platform (LinkedIn) to share with the business world how they can help but they fail to capitalize on the benefits.
"Sales reps have been lulled into a false sense of what is real versus sales fantasy by social selling pundits"
They are failing to capitalize on how to proactively market themselves online while engaging in opening up another form of a conversation.
“Why should I listen to, read, buy from or hire YOU?”
If you want your sales reps to get better at opening sales conversations then they must be able to with conviction, clarity and conciseness articulate their value proposition.
The single biggest reason why your sales reps suck at opening up new conversations...
SALES REPS FAILURE TO CONNECT WITH THEIR CURRENT CLIENTS
The key sales growth mechanism is to actively prospect for new business relationships rather than limiting efforts to a possibly dwindling client relationship base.
How well do your sales reps know their current clients? How often are they asking them for help to grow their business?
Leveraging and strengthening relationships with existing clients is extremely important but it’s all too easy for your sales reps to become complacent as they keep calling on the same people inside their current accounts.
Sometimes the relationship may run its course. Hopefully it doesn't but in today’s ever-changing business climate, a salesperson’s "timing" might be off especially when it comes to the importance of building new relationships within their client base.
A once-promising client may now be in dire straits, possibly due to an acquisition or downsizing. Successful sales reps are always looking to develop new business relationships, not waiting until their current well of relationships runs dry.
I find this crazy sales leaders...
Your sales reps bust their ass for your clients then why on earth would they not ask them for help to grow their business?
Leverage current clients and ask for help! Wouldn't you agree a warm lead is better than cold lead for your sales reps? Referrals from happy clients are about as warm as it gets, correct? In fact, a Dale Carnegie study found that 91 percent of customers would be willing to give referrals if they were asked. Unfortunately, only 11 percent of sales reps actually do ask.
I guarantee you this a warm lead from someone who knows, likes and trusts one of your sales reps will lead to a more profitable, non-price driven business relationship.
SOCIAL ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE
Daggers will be thrown at me and quite frankly I don't care! So much social selling crap is aimed at corporate America with fully functioning marketing departments who along with sales leaders can implement and drive growth.
There is way too much "PhD rocket science" social being thrown out there that the average small to medium size sales team can't identify nor associate.
Regardless of what you all have heard about this concept, it simply boils down to two things inside this trust economy: credibility and connections. What does this sales rep know that could help my business? Who does this sales rep know that I know?
With all these complex definitions of what social selling is or isn't out there, no wonder there’s so much confusion about what it is in practice and theory. The next time it comes up in conversation, remember these three simple things from someone who leveraged social at the street level and had a tremendous amount of success with it:
- It is extremely personal: one to one vs. one-to-many. No social blasting!
- It’s all about building trusting, long-term relationships, not making "the sell." Build relationship funnels which nourish sales funnels.
- It’s about leveraging the tools, technologies, and people within your organization to deliver value to your clients. Your clients have networks, use them!
Most importantly, it’s neither social nor selling. Social has always been a part of sales. It is about building relationships and changing the way people think with a modern set of sales tools.
I understand where you all are coming from. I have walked a day in a life of your shoes and still do on a daily basis.