Social selling isn’t a matter of exchanging a few tweets with someone, getting them to follow you, and then sending them an automated sales message.
That’s the easiest way for buyers and key decision makers to dismiss you from their business table… before you were even invited to sit down.
It’s time to curb your enthusiasm for bright shiny social objects (BSSO).
Social selling takes a social collaboration stream and develops a business conversation.
Social selling doesn’t replace the actual sales process.
Chris Anderson talks about the Longtail strategy to market development and new customer acquisition. Connecting the dots here, social selling is a long-tail strategy to continue a conversation you have begun on social media.
Understanding the difference between what you are doing now, and how it should be done, makes a huge difference in your social selling strategy and in your bottom line.
I’ve had a number of exchanges lately with individuals who are not making their numbers. They are reaching out to tons of prospects via tweets. These sales people consider themselves the self-styled social selling evangelists of their sales teams.
The problem is, their higher ups don’t see them in this enlightened role. And here’s why.
You were hired to sell, not tweet.
You know who these people are. You may be one of them.
If you are easily attracted to bright shiny social objects, you may have bright shiny social object syndrome. Here are three tips to snap out of it.
BSSO Syndrome Tip 1 – Make sure your concept of social selling isn’t a new version of BSO syndrome (Bright Shiny Object Syndrome). As a salesperson, you can become easily consumed/obsessed by activity on social media platforms and think you are selling. Don’t confuse your activity (or your prospect’s) on social media with a prospect’s genuine interest in or need for your products, services or platforms.
It just could be that the individual at the other end of your Twitter exchange is that company’s social media manager.
BSSO Syndrome Tip 2 – Social selling creates a back-and-forth first dialogue with a company. It’s still up to you to confirm the identities of the decision makers. These activities may take you at least 10 customer touch points to find the “right person” to have a sales conversation with.
It’s still up to you to research trigger events impacting the industry, marketplace, competitive landscape and supply chain of your prospect. You can’t do that at 140 characters a clip.
BSSO Tip 3 – Social selling takes your social collaboration stream from a social media platform into your prospect’s office or desktop for an in-person or virtual dialogue. Developing a social collaboration stream with those key decision makers will assist you in gaining information about what’s important to them, who influences their thinking and how their value system is structured. This is your social market research strategy.
If you achieve a level of engagement with a key decision maker, you still must determine whether they operate alone or via committee. Are you rushing to sell by sending that individual an automated pitch?
Social selling complements your prospecting and qualification process. Keep in mind that personas you identify on social media as prospects may simply be avatars managed by others. Social media is a prelude to the business development and sales dance.
- What proportion of your time do you spend each week on social media platforms?
- What proportion of your time do you spend each week on the phone, email, on virtual visual platforms?
- Of those folks you’ve connected with on social media, what proportion are key decision makers?
- Are you using social selling as a replacement for solid sales methodology?
Be honest with yourself: what’s the ROI (return on investment) of your social selling strategy? Social selling moves a social collaboration stream forward into a business development and eventual sales conversation.
It takes longer than you socially may be thinking.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a management consultant and business coach. She helps startups and small-to-medium manufacturing and service companies who have difficulty with unpredictable revenue streams. Her book on communication and collaboration strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? Technical / Non-Technical Collaboration, Business Development and YOU, is available on Amazon.com.