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The Truth About Social Selling

The truth about social selling is that there is no such thing. Social selling is really marketing.

You don’t use social media to qualify your dream clients. The work you do using the social toolkit is about identifying your dream clients. It’s about listening to your dream clients share things that give you a hint as to what they believe is important.

You don’t use social media to do discovery work. The thing that makes discovery work so powerful is that you are sitting face-to-face with your dream client, allowing them to see and feel you listen to them. You can’t replicate that feeling on social channels. You also can’t apply your business acumen and your situational knowledge to their challenges and opportunities over social channels.

There is no way that you are ever going to present using the social channels. In fact, the proponents of social selling (which you now know is really marketing) are offended by the very word “sell.” They chafe at the mere mention of the word “pitch.” The social-only proponents say things like “be helpful,” and “share content.” And for God’s sake, “Don’t ask for anything.” But when you sell, you have to ask for commitments. If you aren’t gaining any commitments, you aren’t selling. You’re marketing.

You aren’t going to build consensus with a LinkedIn post. You aren’t going to really help your dream client resolve their concerns and fears with a Tweet, even a really, really clever tweet.

Social selling, or social marketing, is an awesome toolkit for developing relationships, relationships that allow you to get face-to-face with your dream client. What other toolkit can help you share your value-creating ideas and gain your dream client’s attention before you are known. Social is excellent for positioning and differentiating yourself and your offering from your competitors. Social, if done well, creates engagement with dream clients. Most of all social helps nurture the relationships you need to create new opportunities.

All of this “social” is above the funnel activity, but it helps you with prospecting, the activity that you need to have a funnel in the first place.

Salespeople need to be better marketers. Being a better marketer can help you be a better salesperson. But let’s not pretend that we are really selling when we are marketing.


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  1. […] I mention the greatest living sales writer, Anthony Iannarino. Last week he wrote a post called The Truth About Social Selling where he gives anyone who is pretending to do it a reality check. And I […]