A Warning to Sales People About Social Media

A Warning to Salespeople About Social Media

Almost daily I see social media folks with good intentions suggest that cold calling is dead. They (incorrectly) write that selling is dead, that no one likes salespeople, and that even salespeople don’t like being salespeople.

With good hearts, they suggest things like changing your title to disguise that fact that you’re in sales. They insist that you abandon your outbound efforts and find your way to the promised land that is inbound marketing. In their mind, the ideas are mutually exclusive: you are either an old-school salesperson or you are enlightened, social-media wielding, non-salesperson.

Unless you want a career change imposed on you in the not-to-distant future, you should ignore this advice.

Advice Worth Taking

It reminds of an often told story about Gandhi. A mother waited all day to ask Gandhi to tell her diabetic son to stop eating sugar, that it was bad for his health, that it was harming him, and that it could kill him. Gandhi sent the mother and her child away, asking her to return to him in two weeks. The mother returned with the boy two weeks later. Gandhi told the boy directly to stop eating sugar. The mother asked Gandhi why he couldn’t have told the boy to stop eating sugar two weeks earlier. Gandhi replied that at that time he also was eating too much sugar.

Gandhi didn’t believe that he had the moral authority to tell the boy to stop eating sugar. He wasn’t willing to ask the boy to do something he wasn’t willing to do.

Social media provides a terrific set of tools for prospecting. These tools allow you to research your clients. They allow you to listen, to pay attention to what is interesting and important to your clients. The tools allow you to connect with your dream clients in a way that was never as easy as it is now. When used well, social media provides an excellent set of tools for lead generation.

But these tools work better for some than others. They work well for consultants. They work particularly well for social media consultants. By themselves, the social tools don’t provide enough opportunities for people that carry a quota. I promise you that no one that would dole out the advice that you use only social media would take their own advice were they selling what you sell—or carrying your quota.

Social media? Absolutely; you can’t be a Luddite, either! Exclusively? Not if you want to succeed and make your number.

Questions

What percentage of your existing opportunities came from social media?

What percentage of opportunities do you expect to generate through social media?

What percentage of your time and energy should spent investing in the social channels?


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