3 Social Selling Tactics That No Longer Work in Q4

There is no bigger buzz-phrase in sales than “social selling.” But what if the core idea behind it was bogus? What if the term was nonsense? What if there is no revolution in how buyers buy — and how we must now approach selling?

There is no bigger buzz-phrase in sales than “social selling.” But what if the core idea behind it was bogus? What if the term was nonsense? What if there is no revolution in how buyers buy — and how we must now approach selling?

Yes, there has been a big shift — away from following a selling process and toward adapting the pitch to fit the customers’ buying process. But so far most sellers are left wasting time on social media.

What We Learned in 2015
If we’ve learned two things so far we’ve learned:

  1. Being seen as a thought-leading expert on social media does not generate leads.
  2. Simple ideas are not working to address the shift from sales process to buying process.

Being effective in B-to-B sales means being good at one thing: Producing behavior. Capturing a lead that can be nurtured to a sale in the near or future term.

Here’s what no longer works. In fact, these never did:

  1. Sharing valuable content (providing value to prospects) is not working for most sellers.
  2. Commenting frequently on LinkedIn Group discussions or prospects’ LinkedIn status updates is not working for most sellers.
  3. Staying on the ‘digital radar’ has limited potential. Being seen by prospects on LinkedIn is tough.

It’s time to stop doing what clearly doesn’t work. And to stop believing in fairy tales — based on myths marketers have been wasting time with for years.

We don’t live in a fundamentally different world. We live in a “sped-up” world where buyers are smarter and move faster. Being seen as a thought-leader is the outcome of a successful strategy. Not the strategy itself.

What Is Generating Leads?

Tactically: A mixture of traditional sales acumen and direct response copywriting.

Strategically: Using social media to adjust the selling approach to the customers’ buying process.

The big challenge for B-to-B sellers this fall is realizing “social selling” does not exist. Then, turning this realization into coaching that energizes front line sellers. Coaching that provides a reliable, effective, systematic approach to generating leads on social media platforms.

Not wasting time with it!

Look at examples like re-insurance broker, Paul Dzielinski. Paul’s LinkedIn profile follows a copywriting approach. Specifically, his summary section is written to earn attention, spark curiosity in prospects that leads to a response.

Paul is one of my best LinkedIn summary examples. He’s generating leads using a short, pithy, well-copywritten PowerPoint (Slideshare). His marketing team structured the deck to answer customers’ basic questions in ways that qualify them.

Plus it provokes Paul’s high-potential buyers to ask for an audit. Paul is using social media to adjust the selling approach to the customers’ buying process.

The Revolution Will Be Scrutinized
There has been no social media revolution. In fact, buyers aren’t buying in a fundamentally new way. Far from it. Customers simply have a better way to research and learn from experiences of others.

Sorry, gurus. Sorry, self-appointed social selling experts. Sorry research analysts hawking books that call black white — and down up. We’ve been had again.

Frankly, many B-to-B marketers were too quick to sign-on to this “revolution.” The lack of results is telling.

But for sellers it’s not too late to learn from the mistakes of most B-to-B marketers.

It’s not too late to reject common, accepted practices as the time-sucks they truly are.

Trying to get noticed doesn’t work! Using social platforms as a broadcasting tool fails every time.

French political thinker, Alexis de Tocqueville said it best. Humans are eager to believe a simple lie rather than the truth. Because sometimes the truth about change requires critical thinking.

This is why “experts” are so quick to rush in, proclaim all that has been valid invalid and yell, “follow me!”

But what if we’ve been following the wrong leaders?

Do You Believe in Fairy Tales?
Do you believe being known, liked and trusted using LinkedIn is the key to sales success? You’re wrong. Being known, liked and trusted is the outcome of an effective, repeat-able set of habits. Ways of interacting with customers.

Interpersonal communications genius Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) gave us most of what’s needed to succeed — decades ago. He did not give us LinkedIn. He gave us far more. Carnegie gave us the communications know-how to exploit LinkedIn!

Like David Ogilvy did, Carnegie’s ideas are geared around attracting customers to the idea of talking to us.

Do you believe sharing valuable content is what you/your team needs to do—to be effective on LinkedIn or other social platforms? It’s not your fault, but you’re wrong again.

Today’s most effective digital sellers know. How and when you share information drives behavior. And behavior creates leads. Knowing how to write social media posts is mostly about good B-to-B copywriting.

What do you think?

Author: Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc., where he built the sales team. Today, he is the authority on effective prospecting communications techniques as founder of Communications Edge Inc. (formerly Molander & Associates Inc.) He's been in sales for over 2 decades. He is author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.Jeff is a sales communications coach and creator of the Spark Selling technique—a means to spark more conversations with customers "from cold," speeding them toward qualification.

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