I’m thrilled to be joining Mike Weinberg and Tibor Shanto this Thursday for a webinar hosted by Kitedesk, featuring eight specific sales strategies to finish 2014 strong. You can register for the event here.
As we prepared our content for this event, the topic of social selling came up again and again, and it was clear that there’s quite a bit of misconception and over-hype about what social selling is, and what it really means for sales & marketing in today’s environment.
In my opinion, there are four lies about social selling that are causing the most confusion. Here are those lies and what I believe to be the “truths” hidden behind them.
Lie #1: You can use social media as a sales channel
The Truth: There’s no such thing as social selling. Rarely if ever can you actually make a sale purely using social as your channel or medium. Social is a marketing tool, not a sales tool. It’s fantastic for engaging people, exchanging ideas, nurturing prospects, increasing value-added impressions, etc. But it won’t help you close. It won’t help you clarify your value proposition. In short, it won’t help you sell. And by sell, I mean close. Most everything else is still marketing.
Lie #2: Social selling is replacing traditional sales
The Truth: Social channels are a tool, not unlike email and the telephone. Social channels are highly efficient means of identifying and exchanging information, but they don’t change the way we fundamentally make decisions, how we experience pain and needs, or how we experience the psychology of buying and selling. The nature of the buyer/seller relationship is changing, sure, but that’s not because of social media. The tools and process by which buyers buy is changing, but the fundamentals of what works in sales – value, relationships, tenacity, activities – those aren’t going anywhere.
Lie #3: Social media leads are warm leads
The Truth: I’m all for building relationships with prospects well before you need them, and well before the prospect is ready to buy. But the implication that social leads are warmer leads, that because prospects are talking to you earlier in the process that they’re more interested in moving forward, is fundamentally flawed. Those socially-generated leads aren’t much better than your white paper or webinar leads. There’s nothing inherent about the channel that makes them any more or less ready to engage.
Lie #4: Prospects are easier to reach on social media
The Truth: In sales as well as marketing, we will always be in search of the white whale. That magic tactic or tool or channel that makes things easier. I’ll send a bunch of tweets and LinkedIn requests instead of talking to prospects! It will work better, faster and easier! Not true. Prospects on social are just as hard to reach, just as crazy busy, and just as cold. You will have to work just as hard to earn their attention and respect over time, else they will still ignore you.