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Thought Leaders or Old Ideas Rehashed?

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Thought Leaders or Old Ideas Rehashed?

I recently appeared on a list of Sales Thought Leaders and it got me thinking about what is thought leadership?

I’m always grateful at appearing on these lists I don’t appear on them all, not friends with all the right people I guess. I’m not afraid to write articles like this, which I guess pisses people off. Some would say this is thought leadership others would say me questioning the sales status quo which is bad for the “experts” and “gurus” livelihoods. But my parents told me to always tell the truth.

I was reading a LinkedIn post about this list I mentioned above. The post was from a person thanking people for people on the list, which is great. Thanking people and being polite is good. But I looked up this person and searched but could not find any recent articles on their Linkedin profile. I’m not aware of any Podcasts and not aware they have written any books. Now I’m not saying you need to do those things to be a thought leader, but if they had I could then judge their thoughts. With no content I can only assume they are not. My partner would say I should give them the benefit of the doubt, but really?

Their post was then what we call in the UK “arse licking” I think in the US there is a more gentle term which is “blowing smoke up somebody’s arse” but they picked on three people individuals. One re-hashes old ideas as new ideas and puts them out as book. One hasn’t written anything new, but runs an award scheme that mates get themselves promoted on, it’s a total fix, but nobody seems to care and people believe it. The third helps people in sales but their LinkedIn profile has no sales role ever in their life listed. How can you be a sales guru if you have never sold?

Now in my best selling book “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” I talk about Influence. How you can build influence for yourself. I, for instance got 35,000 followers on Twitter, just retweeting other people’s material. No thought leadership, but using other people’s influence to build my own. I did realise that I needed to write original material if I wanted to grow my following. This blog could be seen as an example of that.

Related: Sales is All About Psychology

Here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) social-experts.net we try hard to write original thought, push boundaries, create debate, we may not be right (but most times we are). This is about, providing people with insight and education, all for free. But it also about challenging the status quo, not for the sake of it, but because there is one constant. Change.

We have just come up with a way to Benchmark sales people, your staff and your competitors in terms of their digital capability. We won’t win the Nobel Peace prize but we like to see this as a way to push forward the debate and boundaries of social and digital.

Sales had always changed, from the days where there was no internet, social media or mobile, to today where there is. From the days where the only way you could get information on a product was to call up and ask for a brochure to know where you can undertake the whole buying process online in sales avoidance mode.

My call to action is this. I understand if you are new to sales a book on prospecting may be new to you, but really, it isn’t. And we need to stop teaching people 1980s sales methods and then celebrating it.

Come on its neatly the second decade of the twenty first century. Time has moved on. Or do I really need to watch, read or listen to somebody just rehashing the past and calling it new?

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