Is Your Lack of Social Losing You Deals to the Competition?

Is Your Lack of Social Losing You Deals to the Competition?

One area of the modern buying process that often isn’t discussed is the last “33%” of the buying process.
 

What do I mean by that?  We often hear the CEB research that buyers are 57% of the way through the buying process and at 57% they contact a salesperson.

The assumption then seems to be that for the first 57% of the way through the buying process the buyer is on-line and for the last 33% the buyer is off-line.  I would argue that this is not the case, which is why you need to be socially active for 100% of the buying process.

Put this another way, this is where social marketing meets social selling.

A Sales Director friend of mine came to me and asked for my help.

“We have deals where we get inbound around product X and we take the sale 70% of the way through the process.  In many cases we are the only supplier.  Then 70% of the way through the process, the competition appears from nowhere and we lose the deal.”

Here at DLA we offer a service where we evaluate a company’s digital footprint. In this case the results were revealing.

Related: Sales Is a Race … Make Sure It's for You

We presented our findings back to the Sales Leader.


“How important are products X, Y and Z to you,” I asked? 

“We are seen as market leaders,” was his response.

“Interesting,” I responded.

“Go to Google and search on those phrases,” I said.  So, he got out his laptop.

He did and his company didn’t appear. In fact, his company was on the sixth page of Google.

The (smaller) competition was on page one.

His response was two words, one of them was “hell”.

It was the same for all three products.

I mentioned, “You clearly mention the products on your website, but you have no digital presence.”

As I handed over the report (with a whole bunch of other recommendations, which I won’t go into here) I said, “what’s happening is that the sale goes through to the point of recommendation / business case.  The customer is confirming your position by searching on Google and you don’t appear.  But your competition does.  The only conclusion that the customer can jump to is that you don’t play in that market.  But your competition does.”

This is just one of many examples of how social (for sales and marketing) is important all the way through the buying process.  It is also “interesting” how in this case that these leads are created by a BDR.

In other words, while cold calling was working for this business, the effort is being killed by not being social.

Timothy Hughes
Social Selling
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When I write articles, as well as giving you access to my 25 years of sales understanding, I also “pour” in the last 6 years of experience and passion helping cu ... Click for full bio

Here’s Why Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold So Easily

Here’s Why Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold So Easily

What a week it was.

First and foremost, I’d like to acknowledge the horrific mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas, the deadliest in modern American history. On behalf of everyone at U.S. Global Investors, I extend my sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families.

The memory of the shooting was still fresh in people’s minds during last Tuesday’s Hollywood premiere of Blade Runner 2049, which nixed the usual red carpet and other glitz in light of the tragedy. Before the film, producers shared poignant words, saying that in times such as these, the arts are crucial now more than ever.

I had the distinct privilege to attend the premiere. My good friend Frank Giustra, whose production company Thunderbird Entertainment owns a stake in the Blade Runner franchise, was kind enough to invite me along. Despite the somber mood—a pivotal scene in the film even takes place in an irradiated Las Vegas—I thought Blade Runner 2049 was spectacular. Even if you’re not a fan of the original 1982 film, it’s still worth experiencing in theaters. Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s synth-heavy score is especially haunting.

CNET recently published an interesting piece examining the accuracy of future tech as depicted in the original Blade Runner, from androids to flying cars to off-world travel read the article here.

Still in the Early Innings of Cryptocurrencies
 

Speaking of the future, I spoke on the topic of the blockchain last week at the Subscriber Investment Summit in Vancouver. My presentation focused on the future of mining—not just of gold and precious metals but also cryptocurrencies.

Believe it or not, there are upwards of 2,100 digital currencies being traded in the world right now, with a combined market cap of nearly $150 billion, according to Coinranking.com.

Obviously not all of these cryptos will survive. We’re still in the early innings. Last month I compared this exciting new digital world to the earliest days of the dotcom era, and just as there were winners and losers then, so too will there be winners and losers today. Although bitcoin and Ethereum appear to be the frontrunners right now, recall that only 20 years ago AOL and Yahoo! were poised to dominate the internet. How times have changed!

It will be interesting to see which coins emerge as the “Amazon” and “Google” of cryptocurrencies.

For now, Ethereum has some huge backers. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), according to its website, seeks to “learn from and build upon the only smart contract supporting blockchain currently running in real-world production—Ethereum.” The EEA includes several big-name financial and tech firms such as Credit Suisse, Intel, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase, whose own CEO, Jamie Dimon, knocked cryptos a couple of weeks ago.

To learn more about the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, watch this engaging two-minute video.

Understanding blockchain in two minutes

Will Bitcoin Replace Gold?
 

Lately I’ve been seeing more and more headlines asking whether cryptos are “killing” gold. Would the gold price be higher today if massive amounts of money weren’t flowing into bitcoin? Both assets, after all, are sometimes favored as safe havens. They’re decentralized and accepted all over the world, 24 hours a day. Transactions are anonymous. Supply is limited.

Have gold and bitcoin peaked for 2017

But I don’t think for a second that cryptocurrencies will ever replace gold, for a number of reasons. For one, cryptos are strictly forms of currency, whereas gold has many other time-tested applications, from jewelry to dentistry to electronics.

Unlike cryptos, gold doesn’t require electricity to trade. This makes it especially useful in situations such as hurricane-ravished Puerto Rico, where 95 percent of people are reportedly still without power. Right now the island’s economy is cash-only. If you have gold jewelry or coins, they can be converted into cash—all without electricity or WiFi.

Finally, gold remains one of the most liquid assets, traded daily in well-established exchanges all around the globe. Every day, some £13.8 billion, or $18 billion, worth of physical gold are traded in London alone, according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). The cryptocurrency market, although expanding rapidly, is not quite there yet.

I will admit, though, that bitcoin is energizing some investors, especially millennials, in ways that gold might have a hard time doing. The proof is all over the internet. You can find a number of TED Talks on bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, but to my knowledge, none is available on gold investing. YouTube is likewise bursting at the seams with videos on cryptos.

Bitcoin is up 350 percent for the year, Ethereum an unbelievable 3,600 percent. Gold, meanwhile, is up around 10 percent. Producers, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, have gained 11.5 percent in 2017, 23 percent since its 52-week low in December 2016.

Related: Gold and Bitcoin Surge on North Korea Fears

Look Past the Negativity to Find the Good News
 

The news is filled with negative headlines, and sometimes it’s challenging to stay positive. Take Friday’s jobs report. It showed that the U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September, the first month in seven years that this happened. A weak report was expected because of Hurricane Irma, but no one could have guessed the losses would be this deep.

The jobs report wasn’t all bad news, however. For one, the decline is very likely temporary. Beyond that, a record 4.88 million Americans who were previously sitting out of the labor force found work last month. This helped the unemployment rate fall to 4.2 percent, a 16-year low.

Have gold and bitcoin peaked for 2017

There’s more that supports a stronger U.S. economy. As I shared with you last week, the Manufacturing ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a 13-year high in September, indicating rapid expansion in the manufacturing industry. Factory orders were up during the month. Auto sales were up. Oil has stayed in the relatively low $50-a-barrel range, which is good for transportation and industrials, especially airlines. Small-cap stocks, as measured by the Russell 2000 Index, continue to climb above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages as excitement over tax reform intensifies.

These are among the reasons why I remain bullish.

One final note: Speaking on tax reform, Warren Buffett told CNBC last week that he’s waiting to sell assets until he knows the plan will go through. “I would feel kind of silly if I realized $1 billion worth of gains and paid $350 million in tax on it if I just waited a few months and would have paid $250 million,” he said.

It’s a fair comment, and I imagine other like-minded, forward-thinking investors, buyers and sellers will also wait to make huge transactions if they can help it. Tax reform isn’t a done deal, but I think it has a much better chance of being signed into law than a health care overhaul.

Frank Holmes
Global
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Frank Holmes is the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of U.S. Global Investors. Mr. Holmes purchased a controlling interest in U.S. Global Investors in 1989 and became the firm ... Click for full bio