In my travels talking about Social Selling, I constantly get the objection about the use of social in the sales process. “Social is for kids” is the usual comment. In my discussions and panel sessions I usually find that most people come round to “get” the need for personal branding and the use of social for demand generation. But what about using social as part of the day-to-day sales routine? What about using social during a sales pursuit? What about closing using social?
Anybody using social as part of a sales pursuit?
Having seen for myself the return on investment (ROI) social selling has given many companies for over two years, I decided to put out a question on social and ask “Anybody out there using social for things other than demand generation”. Stop the “naysayers” once and for all.
I received a number of replies, one of which became the blog “The secret of social media success for small businesses“, in addition, Nick Mararangi (@NickManarangi) contacted me. He told me he had closed business using social.
I had a great interview with Nick, he explained how he used social, as well has his fears for the future of the B2B sales person.
Nick works in a classic B2B sales environment. He is head up a sales team that sells conferences and events focused on food. His delegates are food producers and he is looking for sponsorship from people trying to sell to them. He tried to sell to me, good try Nick.
There’s too much noise and distraction for my customers to hear my message
Nick explained the classic issue that all of us face. There is too much noise and distraction out in the market. So we do things that free us from these distractions. We don’t answer our phones, let calls go to voice mail. Decide which of the voice mails we have time to respond to. Just delete emails. As we do it, we know our customers and prospects are doing it too.
In the days of letters and faxes, the trick was to not send letters as personal assistant would filter them out. Faxes were seen as a higher priority to respond to, so if you sent your mailshot via the fax you had a higher chance of getting it on the decision maker’s desk. How times change… or do they?
I’ve tried everything to get through to my contact – what about WhatsApp?!
Nick was trying to get hold of a particular decision maker; he had tried everything to communicate with them. He had tried some regular as well as some “cocial” tricks. Phone, left voice mails, LinkedIn InMails, contacted them over Twitter and retweeted their Twitter posts, but no response. Nick therefore tried using WhatsApp – he plugged the number into WhatsApp and he got a response. It just so happened that the contact was travelling and WhatsApp was the easiest thing for the person to access while they were in the airport.
The advice I always give people about social networks is to go to where your customers are, even if it seems “wrong”.
It gets better. Nick decided to take the conversation on WhatsApp to a close and won that sale using instant messaging! Kaboom!
After congratulating Nick we carried on talk about his view on the future of selling and future of social selling.
Social selling is a journey – be a lifelong learner
Nick described himself as a lifelong learner, and we agreed that was necessary if you want to start a journey into social selling as things can change quickly. Also experiment. Social is still in the infancy, sp try new things, like we always did in the offline world.
Back to Nick: “You are always looking for a new way to get your sales signal over the noise. I’m sure in 6 months when everybody has read your blog, I won’t be able to use WhatsApp anymore. But I will have moved on and found something else.”
Social Selling isn’t a 9 to 5
Nick is also of the belief (as am I) that sales is not a 9 to 5 role. The lines of “prime selling time” are blurred as people start to accept LinkedIn invites, InMail, etc outside of the “normal” work hours. Nick is a great believer that today’s sales person must be able to adapt and incorporate this into their work ethic. Nick’s view was that for any salesperson who thinks sales is 9 to 5 “needs a mindset change”.
The salesperson of the future?
He laments the loss of the ‘traditional’ telesales floor, particularly in publishing and job board sites which was the learning ground for so many people in his industry.
His view was these sales floors would give bright, hungry “kids” an entry level route to sales with the potential of earning big money. The succession plan for the kids was to either run a team or move on to more consultative, enterprise sales. But with the move of budget away from advertising houses to online, means these breeding grounds no longer exists. Meaning there are few sales people entering into this apprenticeship in selling.
Advice for new sales execs
As the typical B2B buyer is able to access more information online, the seller’s role in the buying process has changed considerably as a result. Millenials are in a position of power with their early adoption of technologies like social media, which with the right advice be masters of social selling. Nick’s advice to entry level sales execs? Learn from the best, follow @micadam, @JackKosakowski1, @jillkonrath, etc. Follow social media best practices for example register here at Social Selling Lounge, be brave and creative by doing things that your colleagues and competitors are not, e.g. reaching out on WhatsApp.
Don’t listen to naysayers, these people are scared to adapt to new ways of selling and probably see you as a threat so block them out.
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