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If You Love Referrals You Will Absolutely Love Social Selling


If You Love Referrals You Will Absolutely Love Social Selling

 I love social selling.  There, I said it and I mean it. 

A year ago, however, I wasn’t an advocate in any way, shape or form.  Most of my objections to social selling revolved around my past experiences in outside sales and my disdain for what I perceived as ‘trivial’ communication on social networks.

I was wrong and I am so glad to be right.  Social selling is not only here to stay, but, it is rapidly killing off traditional ‘interrupt’ based selling techniques (buyers all over the world rejoice).  As a 20+ year professional in the referral marketing world I am ‘over the moon’ about what I see coming:  The re-emergence of personal branding and the value of the individual salesperson.

When I first started in outside sales I was a salesperson for a great independent copier sales and service company in Manassas, VA (a suburb of Washington D.C.) called TML Copiers.  The owners, Tom and Mike were the first mentors in my path as a salesperson and I can never thank them enough.

Back then, before Google, social selling was low on research and high on cocktail hour or golf. 

Most of sales involved fighting your way into organizations (B2B) to attempt to get the ear of the decision maker and then earning the right to educate them on what you did and why they should choose you.  Suffice it to say, I have been thrown out of many buildings in my day and earned my ‘cold calling’ bones in spades that first year.

The education process was critical back then because there were limited resources for decision makers and influencers to easily and accurately find out detailed information about products and services.  The sales person got involved early (even if the prospect was unhappy about it) because they were the gate keeper for information.  Not anymore and perhaps never again 

I found referral marketing back then (early 90’s) through another mentor Art Radtke who, at the time, was a franchisee of BNI.  Within 3 months I was ‘by referral only’ and I have never looked back.  My enthusiasm for referral groups has waned over the years and as I have continually monitored the results members receive, but, my passion for business by referral has never been stronger.

Related: Your Culture Determines Your Success in Sales, Period

A huge reason for that passion is the growth of social selling (#socialselling on twitter) and its continually expanding destruction of interrupt marketing.  Buying has changed and sales people need to recognize that the most likely way to get in front of and stay in front of decision makers and influencers going forward is to embrace social selling.  The top of the funnel is educating before they even want to buy.

I recommend reading as much as you can about the new paradigm and starting with anything Tim Hughes writes.  His new book “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” is the best first step for you.  After that check out “The Invisible Sale” by Tom Martin next.  Those two books are sufficient to open your mind as to the realities and subsequent opportunities that social selling will offer anyone seeking current and future sales results.

My last though (offering) is this: If you love referrals you will absolutely love social selling. 

This is your dream come true.  The power of the strategic introduction as it cuts through all the layers and obstacles keeping you from your desired prospect, combined with the international reach and top of funnel genius of the social selling paradigm is a perfect, 100% synergistic sales powerhouse.  Best of all, it values human beings and builds community.

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