Social Selling Luddite, Laggard or Lover?

Are you a social-selling laggard, luddite or lover? If you are a laggard or luddite, then it’s time to put your beeper in the drawer, because your customers aren’t using theirs any more.

If you are still cold calling with phoning, emailing or using good old-fashioned shoe leather, then your selling strategy may not prove to be successful for much longer. Avoiding adding social media to your prospecting, call preparation, customer contact or relationship building, then you are probably a social selling luddite or laggard.

Beeper

Time to put the beeper away and learn how to use Twitter to sell.

So, what’s a social selling luddite? It’s a sales professional who fears, loathes, or does not understand how social media tools, platforms and strategy  impact selling success. These seemingly ‘mystical powers’ likely threaten their existing comfort level. However, if  you are a laggard, then you just aren’t seeing the future of prospecting, relationship building and using content to accelerate your sales funnel! Your customers and competition certainly are not laggards. And, if you are a social selling lover … then you are likely on the way to exceed your sales quota.

It’s critical for you to consider social media to be a part of your selling tool kit. Your customers are using it to make their decisions, and your competition are using it to make the sale before you!

10 Ways To Tell If You Are A Social Selling Luddite Or Laggard

If any of these statements sound like you, then you might be a social selling luddite or laggard.

1. You Don’t Have A Complete LinkedIn Profile. LinkedIn reports, there are over a billion annual profile searches on their platform. Since incomplete profiles do not show up favorably in a search, this poor search positioning places you at a competitive deficit. It makes sense for all sales professional to complete their profiles. Besides, LinkedIn is the first place customers check before, during and after meeting sales professionals, so a complete and impressive LinkedIn profile adds to your social curbside appeal.

2. You Rely On Company-provided News Feeds As Your Only Source Of Customer Intelligence. Typical news sources, like InsideView and LinkedIn, are a great source of information for sellers. However, they are just a single source of social-selling intelligence. Too many old-school under-informed sellers take information like this and immediately contact the customer or prospect. In fact, CSO Insights reports 42% of sellers feel as if they are under-prepared for sales calls (hint hint). Successful sellers prepare for customer calls by using multiple data points of content and sentiment from the customer and the customer’s customer to provide additional insight to set up a more successful sales call.

3. You Don’t Update Your LinkedIn Status. Regular LinkedIn status updates keeps your brand at the top of your network’s inbox. The Harvard Business Review reports nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision— researching solutions, ranking, benchmarking pricing, etc. happens before a customer has a conversation with a sales executive. Quota-attaining sales executives position themselves as a resource to become a part of that earlier conversation. Regular LinkedIn status updates help them insinuate themselves into these earlier connections.

4. You Aren’t On Twitter. Forrester reports 41% of B2B decision makers are on Twitter, so why aren’t you? Successful sales professionals use Twitter to connect and distribute content to help the buyer make a better sales decision. The social media rule of thumb is that 90% consume content, 9% edit content, and 1% actively create new content. So, most buyers, about 90% of them, use Twitter to search and consume content. It makes sense for you to use this channel to increase the presence of your brand and “be where the puck is going to be”.

5. You Don’t Know What A Twitter List Is. Many sellers complain there is too much information on Twitter. However, they don’t know what a Twitter list does. Twitter lists help organize multiple streams of content and contact conversations so you can easily consume real-time information to be better informed. Imagine how better prepared you would be if you checked in on the relevant real-time company, industry and category conversation before you made a sales call? Sure beats checking your hand-written notes in your Moleskine notebook from that Wall Street Journal article you read last week.

6. You Don’t Know How To Tweet. Tweeting falls into five basic categories: regular tweeting, retweeting and mentions, favoriting, replies and direct messages. Learning how to use Twitter at the right part of the sales cycle to find, build and nurture your relationship will help you be a successful seller and differentiate you from your competition. With customers getting 300 daily emails, maybe even one of yours, knowing how to talk the talk on Twitter will help you break through to your customer before anyone else.

7. You Don’t Use HootSuite Or Another Social Media Platform. How can you add social media to your selling repertoire and save time? Use HootSuite as your social selling command center to help you spend less time on social media and more time on selling. CEB reports that the most successful sellers spend 15% less time in front of the customers than their counterparts. [Tweet This] Using a platform like HootSuite will help you spend less time in front of your customers and be more successful!

8. You Don’t Think Your Customers Are Using Social Media To Make A Purchase Decision. Sirius Decisions and Forrester point out that 70% of B2B decision makers use social media to help make their decisions. Smart sellers figure out how to use social media to connect them with customers earlier in the buying process.

9. You Think All You Need Is A Phone, Email and Maybe Even A Beeper (I really hope not) To Succeed. This cartoon sums up the importance of using new tools to understand the transforming buyer behavior so you can insinuate yourself into the sales cycle.

Are You A Social Selling Luddite?

Are You A Social Selling Luddite?

10. You Are Not Leveraging Blogging. Blogging is the secret weapon of today’s successful seller. If you want to be a destination on the new buyer journey, then you need to create content. And, blogging is a great place to articulate your value proposition, overcome objections before they are objections and help provide information to accelerate the deal.

Do you have other reasons to support the importance of a Twitter follow strategy? If so, please share below! Or reach out to me directly on MarketingThink.com, on LinkedIn or, on Twitter.

So, are you looking to fine tune your social selling skills? Here are a few places to start:

  1. How to talk the talk on Twitter
  2. How to build the perfect LinkedIn profile
  3. Build your social selling currency by understanding 10 key customer touch points
  4. Understanding the anatomy of the B2B decision maker
  5. How to blog

What’s the impact of being a social selling luddite or laggard? Social buyers won’t open the door, virtual or physical, when you come knocking because it appears you don’t “get it”. Sure your email, phone and traditional tactics may get you by for now, but how long will that last! Aberdeen Research Group reports that sales reps who have leveraged social selling in their sales practices are 79% more likely to attain their quota than those who don’t use social selling techniques. Sounds it’s time to move from being a social selling luddite or laggard to a lover, huh?

Picture sources:Cartoon from  How To Win At Sales, Beeper from Flickr

4 Comments

  1. James Crandall

    Interesting topic and a highly debated one too! The term “cold call” was masterfully re-termed “smart call” by Art Sobczak, advocating some quick and simple LinkedIn research to acquire insight prior to the “cold call” can be incredibly valuable.

    …of course this still requires one to be good (or good enough) at developing the conversation ultimately to a sale.

    Typically what gets left out of this social selling paradigm is the time factor. That is, making connections, following new tweeters, blogging away the day, etc…. all can be redefined as time-suckers in many instances (of which I firmly believe Gerry is doing a huge service to rectify in his postings and ideas!).

    It is a good debate that business developers must go thru. Balance the social selling activities with picking up the damn phone and having conversations with prospective customers. I for one believe there is room for both, leaning to the side of valid and efficient phone prospecting methods.

    James

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  3. Jason Dea

    Great article! People buy from people they trust. It’s the oldest truism in the big book of sales. luckily for us, social media is a great way to build that trust, faster and more deeply than ever. There is however a bit of a learning curve 🙂

  4. Gerry Moran (Post author)

    Yes, Jason. And that learning curve will continually evolve and move forward with all of the new platforms and communities that evolve.

    Gerry.

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