An Insidious Trend.
There has been an insidious trend in the last 4 years in professional selling. It is a misinterpretation of the term ‘social selling’ where people cruise along doing non-selling tasks sprinkled with researching, emailing and grooming their social platforms. All while treating the phone like it’s covered with spiders.
The only thing that works in new business development, whether for inside sales or in the field, is the right combinations of effective activity and lots of it!
You Snooze You Lose.
Any sales floor that sounds like people are snoozing is in trouble. I was talking with someone last week who told me that all sales people had to book a ‘booth’ to make prospecting calls so that they do not disturb others on the sales floor! You’ve gotta be kidding me… “bring back the buzz!” So many businesses and sales people have confused ‘social selling’ with ‘social marketing’. Social platforms certainly play an essential role for research and creating a strong personal brand that sets and agenda and evidences insight and credibility. But selling is all about engaging the buyer in a meaningful two-way conversation and the human voice is like nothing else for achieving just that. If ‘outbound’ activities do not culminate in lots of phone calls then the methodology for creating sales pipeline is just a recipe for failure.
Every sales person must personally ‘own’ and masterfully execute these 3 things if they are to succeed in high-value, or any form of business-to-business, selling:
- The right narrative – instead of leading with who we are and what we do, we should instead lead with why a conversation should matter to the other person. We need to hook interest with the worthwhile business or personal outcomes that we can help them achieve.
- The right combinations – mix up the communications, phone, mobile, email, sms, Linkedin messages maybe even FB or Twitter messages. In the information age you can’t rely on one channel to get their attention and maintain it for the entire sales cycle.
- The right mindset – and time blocked intelligent, disciplined activity. Set aside a specific block of time each day for cold calling or followups, whatever activity is required to move the customer to a buying decision.
Salespeople must accept responsibility for the creation of their own pipeline. Treat leads from your website, channel, marketing or inside sales team as a bonus. You’ve gotta own your own success, fight for it, work for it, change inside to be worthy of it.
Build Personal Brand in Your Own Time.
Beyond the big three of 1) an insightful value narrative that is relevant to the buyer, 2) the right effective combinations of activities, and 3) the right mindset where you absolutely take personal responsibility for build three times your target in qualified pipeline, you also need these things to be successful in sales:
- Intrinsic value and ‘market fit’ in the product, service or solution you offer
- Passionate belief in the value you offer and the people you work with
- High EQ for people skills and above average levels of intelligence
- Genuine curiosity and desire to learn (about your customers and about how to be successful). Start talking about your customer’s problems and opportunities, and the business results you passionately believe you can deliver for them.
- A phone. This is the most powerful of all social selling tools
- A LinkedIn Sales Navigator account. Like the phone, it’s a basic tool of trade and you’ve can’t survive without it.
- A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system integrated with marketing automation and lead nurturing
- A boss who will believe in you and hold you to account.
To be a better salesperson means stepping up to responsibility and accountability for the activities you have control over, such as calls, emails, meetings in order to move a customer through the sales stages to a point where they can make a buying decision in favor of your product or service.