Written by: Adam Gray
Do you remember the old Bullworker adverts…or the Kirby vacuum cleaner ones…or even the elevator shoes ones? Of course you do. They painted a picture of how great things would be if you invested in their products.
For me, there are two interesting points from those old ads that still “play on my mind”.
- They probably were extremely good products that did exactly (or approximately) what the advert promised.
- Nobody I ever met believed these adverts!
The interesting thing is that these days we are all selling Bullworkers to our audiences. Our solutions may well be the best in the marketplace and may do exactly what we claim they can do but, and this is the big but…nobody actually believes it.
Why don’t they believe it when it’s actually true?
Because people have heard it all before. Every supplier claims to have “best in class” or “market leading” products and services and whilst perhaps everyone has good products there can only ever be one best. And, by not being an expert in any of these areas I can only assume that everyone is lying. And if you’re lying about being best in class…perhaps you’re lying about your product being good as well (that seems like a reasonable assumption to make).
So the question is, if I can’t tell people that I have the best product, how can I be expected to sell against my competition?
I think that in the modern world of sales, the clue is in the statement above “by not being an expert in any of these areas”…if I’m not the expert, but you are there’s a chance for you to add value and build a relationship.
That, of course, is the basis of social selling. You don’t reach out cold to someone and tell them that they need your product. You probably shouldn’t even reach out cold to someone and do discovery should you? Why? Because if I were a doctor and phoned you up and started asking you personal questions about your lifestyle and your general health you would pretty quickly tell me to ^&*% off! It’s the same in business. If you phone me up and start to ask me questions about my challenges and successes I will simply inform you that it is no-one of your business and out the phone down. How dare you.
For me to share that sensitive information with you I would expect for you to win my trust first. You will need to prove that you are an expert and interesting. You will need to demonstrate that you are happy to help and be cool with the fact that I’m not going to buy yet (or possibly ever). You need to show that you genuinely want to help me rather than sell to me by – educating me, empowering me and giving me insights that I didn’t have before.
This is, of course, the basis of social selling and why it’s so powerful. You don’t need to sell…you simply empower your audience to come and buy.
The steps are surprisingly simple:
- You create a compelling personal brand that makes you look like you know your topic.
- You connect to people (not just the people you’re going to see to but those around them as well) who might benefit from your insights.
- You create unique and relevant content and share it (not generic corporate noise but content that YOU have created) so that YOU are seen as the confident and friend.
- You do this often and selflessly
- You keep repeating steps 2-5 EVERY DAY
What then happens is that people within your audience start to pay attention to you, then they engage with you, then your audience starts to ask questions, then they ask to talk to you…and that’s an opportunity.
Simple? Yes, definitely so. Easy? Erm…no. Definitely not.
It is however worth it because in the social age that we live in, there’s little else that you can do to generate opportunities and pipeline.
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