Are You a Social Business Practitioner or a Social Spammer?
“The very polite gentleman I followed on Twitter sent me a direct reply to ask me, ‘How are you this afternoon.’ I thought that this was a nice engagement and replied, ‘Perfect! You?’
And then . . . I got social sold.” (from “Stop Social Selling Me” by Anthony Iannarino)
When I think about social business and leveraging social media in the sales process, I tend to think about people engaging, building relationships, adding value, and then making the ask for an appointment or sale several touch points down the road. When you strive to be a good social business practitioner, you sometimes forget that not everyone who tries it actually gets it.
This post from Anthony Iannarino’s sales blog (quoted above) demonstrates some perfect examples of those who just don’t get it. Mr. Iannarino has been on the receiving end of some misguided attempts at social selling. In his first example, a person follows him on Twitter and sends him a polite greeting via direct message. When Iannarino responds with the typical social pleasantries, the other gentleman launches into a sales pitch. A follow plus one direct message really isn’t enough engagement to justify making the ask.
Iannarino then talks about “the mess that is the LinkedIn inbox” and how it contains a sales message addressed to 37 other people besides himself. You can try to call this social selling, but we all know what it really is . . . social spamming.
It is very obvious that the sales professionals who act in this way have either 1) had bad training or bad advice from a “social selling guru,” 2) heard about “social selling” and just started winging it, or 3) don’t care about building relationships or adding value — they just want to get some sales by taking the path of least resistance. With that said, I don’t think it’s time to stick a fork in social selling. It’s just time to educate the masses.
Flip Your Perspective on Social Selling – It’s Really Social Helping
Check out Social Business Podcast episode 83, “How Social Helping Can Land You a New Client.” Notice that title — it’s definitely tied to selling — “land you a new client” — but the focus is on “social helping.” In this episode, Bernie Borges sits down with Bryan Kramer, CEO of PureMatter, to discuss how the content you share helps you build credibility and impact others’ perception of you and/or your brand. Be sure to listen to this podcast episode to hear an example of how social helping connected Bryan with someone who became a major client and how social selling can ultimately create new business for your brand, too.
Train Your Sales Team to Be Social Business Practitioners
One way to ensure your sales representatives are approaching social selling the right way is to stop calling it “social selling.” Social selling is too focused on what the rep gets out of it — a sale — instead of what the customer should get — authentic engagement, trust building, education, value, and service followed by a demo or sales from a trusted advisor (your sales rep).
It’s definitely time to put a new spin on things. We can even take it a step beyond “social helping” and look at this prospecting activity in terms of “social business.” This is a strategic business activity carried out via social media channels. Just as your best sales rep doesn’t immediately launch into the sales pitch on a cold call (I hope), your salespeople shouldn’t immediately jump into the sales pitch in a post or private message on LinkedIn or Twitter after only one or two interactions with someone.
Get Ready to Get Social as a Team
Check your team’s current interest and perceptions of social media. It’s likely some of your salespeople are already using social tools to at least research prospects. Start a conversation with your team about their current outlook on using social media in their day-to-day outreach. What are they doing? What is working? What isn’t working? If you see any red flags, give them guidance on changing up their approach.
Do your research on what social selling can do for your business. Read case studies in your industry. Talk to colleagues at other companies. Gather success stories so you will have data to build the case for adopting a social business sales strategy.
Talk to a social business coaching partner that takes a holistic view of social business. The right partner won’t merely train your team about the functionality of social media platforms and management solutions. The right partner will help sales reps use their business and sales acumen effectively online. Your social business coach should offer personalized coaching and help each participant set SMART goals for social business.
How Does Your Business Approach Social Business Development?
Are you or your sales team members active on social networks? Start conversations with them today and set the stage for building a positive environment for social business in your organization.
Read the full article at: thesalesblog.com