This social selling best practice is actually the worst—causing frustration and failure. I’m talking about “becoming a thought leader in your field.” This idea is poison. It’s a social selling lie we like to hear because it’s so simple. Here’s how to keep it from sabotaging you.
The experts are dead wrong. Being dubbed an expert by customers is not a strategy. It’s an outcome of an effective strategy.
Being a leading voice that buyers trust is the result of a process-driven approach to social selling on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, etc. Leadership is an indicator, not a strategy.
Effective Social Selling Is Like Cold Calling
Being a thought leader is dependent on your success to begin with. In sales, success is determined by how systematic your approach is—not how social or “thought leading” it is. Effective social selling is like cold calling. Yes, cold calling.
If anything is near death it’s most sales reps’ ability to generate leads effectively using social media!
Telephone prospecting is not dead. It’s alive and thriving. Anyone who’s mastered cold calling has always known. Success can be boiled down to one word: Process.
As cold calling expert Steve Schiffman says, being effective means turning phone prospecting into a discipline. Cold calling only works when you do it consistently.
But Isn’t Social Selling a Revolution?
The social media revolution doesn’t exist. It is an invention of consultants who need a new shine on their dulling suits. The real experts are reps and small business owners who are applying a successful process on platforms like LinkedIn.
They are the real gurus—using proven cold-call-like messaging processes, mixing in solid copywriting and generating more leads, faster. On blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn, using InMail and email. All because of a focus on process—not failing ideas like thought leadership as a strategy.
This Is Why We Struggle to Evolve
“It’s difficult to have consistency and persistence because of the confusion, numerous tools and the distractions from anything that could be a successful process. This is why most people struggle,” says Philippe le Baron, sales management trainer to the likes of Oracle, NCR and other Goliaths.
Le Baron is right. It’s not our fault.
The non-stop hyperbole and shouts about the sky falling stifle progress. They are combining with an increasing number of tools, tips and non-stop proclamations of everything being disrupted. What worked in the past won’t work anymore.
But that’s simply not true.
LinkedIn and social selling just arrived on the scene; however, they are subject to the same laws. The laws of evolution, not revolution.
Case in Point: Oracle
Need more proof? Don’t believe the social media revolution is been mostly bunk? Consider Oracle Corp. ‘s experience. Revolutionary proclamations were met with so much resistance the social selling training program was axed.
Twenty-three thousands sales troops all but rejected the cries for a ground-up transformation of sales processes.
Are Oracle’s sales reps and distributors at risk of losing market share? Are they laggards? No, they’re just less interested in reinventing the way they approach prospecting. They’re more interested in evolving how they’ve been selling. Improving.
An insider tells me Oracle’s troops are, today, tapping into techniques they already know work. They’re applying proven, old-school communications techniques online in creative, effective ways using new tools.
Reps are also improving their ability to use the written word more effectively. Copywriting. Of course, they’re also picking up new LinkedIn InMail tips and learning the ins-and-outs of sales force automation tools.
But there’s nothing revolutionary about that.
Passionate Reasoning on Thought Leadership
Next time you hear a guru passionately proclaiming how we live in revolutionary times consider the words of Marcus Tullius Cicero, a great Roman philosopher.
“He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason.”
Because reasoning is directly connected to having a process—or not!
I’m passionate about this. But I’m using reason to argue: Becoming a thought leader in your field is not a strategy. It’s an outcome of an effective strategy. Right?
Being a leading voice buyers trust has been (throughout history) the result of a systematic, process-driven approach to prospecting.
Social selling on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, etc., is no different. Thought leadership is an indicator, not a strategy.
What do you think?