I was talking recently with my good friend Anthony Iannarino(famous for The Sales Blog) a few weeks ago and he posed this scenario to me concerning two hypothetical business-to-business (B2B) sales teams:
- Both sales teams are office-based and responsible for outbound sales.
- Both sales teams have access to all social platforms.
- Team A uses the phone exclusively for outreach.
- Team B uses social platforms exclusively for outreach. Once the prospect expresses a desire to talk, the social team can then use the phone.
- Who sells the most over a 90 day period?
My response: "no-brainer, the team who can use the phone would 'mop the floor' with the other group trying to break through the digital white wall of noise that confronts buyers every day. Anthony agreed. Don't get me wrong; social is massively important because it offers outreach channels and is an amazingly powerful research platform to turn 'cold calls' and any form of outreach into a 'warm call' with context.
Yet nothing beats the power of a human voice in seeking to engage someone in conversation. The purpose of doing research in social is so that you can execute outreach with relevance and context. There are now more cell phones that people. Find the person's mobile number using tools as DiscoverOrg, ZoomInfo, RainKing, Data.com, Lusha, Seamless.ai or others.
Drive all initial outreach concurrently by jabbing with email, InMail, text message, Twitter DM... but the knockout blow comes from your voice on the phone when you carry the right 'value narrative'.The main point here:
It's not about social OR the phone. It's about social AND the phone.
Many sales people confuse social marketing with social selling. What's the difference? Marketing is about building brand and publishing content to attract interest and even leads... no rejection, no fear of being punched in the mouth (metaphorically speaking). Selling, on the other hand, demands that you step into the ring and face your fears, passionately telling potential customers what you believe and be willing to be pummeled and fall to the canvas with everyone watching. Then to get back up knowing you'll be pounded again.
Be the extreme person on your team: breaking ice, opening conversations, and doing what's uncomfortable. Embrace social for research and outreach but don't hide behind passive publishing and 'connecting'. Go beyond the fluff and never blast and spam with sales messages or anything that is inconsistent with your employer's brand.
If you're not in a state of fear when you go sell today, you're not pushing hard enough or taking the actions that will enable you to truly excel and exceed quota. Make no mistake, everything you are doing is to avoid being fired.
Friending everyone and seeking to be a people-pleaser will not make you a trusted advisor and it won't build sales pipeline. You can instead earn credibility by focusing on the business value you provide and obsessively working in the best interest of your customers. You must do what's assertive, hard, and courageous. Fortune will always favor the bold. As Lee Bartlett says:
"If you can pick the phone up to 10 C-level execs and chew the fat, nobody is firing you and everyone wants to hire you." (Lee Bartlett,The No.1 Best Seller).
Only the strong will survive and only those who give their all, benefit from the law of reciprocity. I'm encouraging you to hunt and use the phone. You can't feed the tribe without bringing back the kill and putting the pelts on the wall. You cannot harvest a crop without laboring in the soil and sowing the seed. You cannot achieve greatness with vapor. You must be committed to the hard things. So many salespeople are half-assing and managers are even worse, literally unwilling to do prospecting. Are you a CEO or GM or SVP? Yes, I'm encouraging you to prospect by phone after doing some research t be prepared with the right narrative. The best leaders set the example for everyone to follow by picking up the phone creating opportunities.
Are there really any examples out there of 'social selling' alone delivering successful sales performance (ie; consistently delivering a full sales quota? Let me know?
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Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published on LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award-winning blog. Also, visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.