I had planned to talk about why sales is not a function but an organisational mission, but I have become irritated by the number of people claiming sales expertise. They sell on LinkedIn under the pretext of asking questions as an opener to selling with little or no relationship.
I know it is not just me that finds this irritating!
Here is one response to my connection:
“I appreciate the compliment, and I’m open to connecting here, Janice if that is the true intent of your invite. To be clear, just in case, I am not open to being pitched, which is how 90% of my invites seem to go, lately. I look forward to the content you share. Mxxx”
“Mxxx, I assure you I have nothing to pitch you but my personality. I hope you have a wonderful weekend Regards, Janice.”
When Did Just Connecting Get So Hard!
According to InsideView, 41% of all B2B companies report generating leads on Facebook, and according to The Drum, 2016, a total of 61% of business marketers in the United States utilised Linked In’s social media platform to create new leads and sell products.
LinkedIn, created as a business platform, unlike other social platforms, so you might think ‘what’s wrong with selling on LinkedIn?’ Yes, social media is fast becoming the go-to channel for salespeople to find new prospects and reach sales targets, with 90% of top-performing salespeople now using social media as part of their sales strategy. Salespeople who do invest in social media to reach potential clients, 64% of them hit quota compared to only 64% of them hit quota that doesn’t use social media.
So, We Know Using Social Media Works!
In the B2C environment, a consumer may research a product, and with little relationship to the brand or business owner and purchase from the platform or landing page. After all, the purchaser is looking for a solution. This is a transactional relationship of low value, often needs-based and triggered by a single event. ‘I have Ascot next week – I need a hat’.
An unlikely case in the B2B world, which is often:
Here is a Conversation that Sparked This Article:
(prospector) “Thanks, Janice. I see you’re also focused on Sales Growth, and that’s good. What’s new and exciting by you?”
(me) “Every day something is new :-)”
(some weeks later and out of the blue they send this message)
(prospector) “Janice, do you need help with your sales?”
(my response was) “DXX, I am surprised that you sell your service without first, building a relationship or finding out if there is a need – this undermines your credibility :-(”
(The prospector protested that asking a question was not selling)
You Can Judge for Yourself
My view is attempting to go with a covert or overt sales pitch does not bode well.
I find it unbelievable that salespeople think that buyers cannot see where the conversation is leading. After all, they have been down the sales path 100 times.
Most people dislike it in F2F networking when a prospector askes obvious questions only to justify solving a problem you did not know or perhaps don’t care you have. If you were aware of a critical issue, most people would set about enabled by Mrs Goggle, looking for an immediate solution.
It is possible the prospector had no intention of selling me their service, but I might be more convinced had they taken another track.
One Strategy is Get Found
One of my strategies when I present the Scale Your Sales framework is to ask the audience whether they would prefer to be found or to find their ideal prospective customer?
It is estimated in 2019 that there are between seven and ten billion Google searches per day, that is many people searching for solutions. Rather than selling 101 in this framework is, focus on getting found by your ideal prospective customer and most values relationships.
Prospecting using social selling is researching to get found by your ideal prospective customers. Social selling is putting your insights and solution in front of the ideal audience; the interested buyers are then able to find what they are specifically looking for; this is an opportunity to start a relevant and timely conversation.
How to Start a Relevant and Timely Conversation?
You must identify (find) your ideal audience and research the solutions that your audience of buyers and influencers are looking for, that your solution expertly solves.
People tell me that I am prolific on social media; as a social influencer, I am just consistent and strategic. It is not difficult to uncover my views, values, likes, thoughts and expertise, as it is with other socially engaged prospects.
Do you think that had the prospector bothered to view my profile and timeline over various platforms and then personalised the approach with something I have a view on or have spoken about; that they could add value and insight on, that a relationship might have developed to the extent that I might ask them for their valued professional expertise on a specific problem?
Try it and see if you get a positive response.
If you believe that LinkedIn is the premier business platform for social selling, then make sure you understand how to use this powerful tool; otherwise, rather than gaining credibility and prospects, it will destroy your reputation.
Janice is a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management. She is passionate about helping companies adapt their sales approach to the economic, social and technological challenges. This has led her to create the popular the sales enablement system, Scale Your Sales. Janice is the international Strategic Account Sales Speaker, author and consultant, achieving many noted accolades including Sage Top100 Global Business Influencer 2017. Contact Janice today about Scaling your Sales
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