Social Selling Is Not For The Lazy

Social Selling Is Not For The Lazy

Somewhere along the line, with all the talk about Social Media, Social Selling, Sales 2.0 and web tools it seems that some have gotten the idea that Social Selling eliminates the hard work of selling.

Axel Schultze,  CEO of XeeMe and Chairman Social Media Academy shares his definition:

“Social selling is a sales technique, leveraging social media, to get and maintain a 360 degree picture of the clients and their influencer on an ongoing basis. It allows sales people to manage and maintain 5 times as many active customers compared to traditional techniques. Social selling allows an average sales person to become a top performer simply by using tools and techniques that allows them to socialize in a way that was only accessible to the top sales guard in the past.”

I like the first sentence of Axel’s definition, and the second sentence rings true as well. But that is where my nodding head stops. “Social selling allows an average sales person to become a top performer simply by using the tools and techniques that allows them to socialize in a way only accessible to the top sales guard in the past.” That my friends is a recipe for disappointment and possibly a new career. It is simply not true.

I attribute one of my favorite quotes about web tools to Trish Bertuzzi, President of The Bridge Group,

“A fool with a tool is still a fool.”

Now that is from a gal that has and is leading a sales organization that is successful in this new economy. She knows full well the hard work that is still required to achieve success in sales.

I’d like to add

“A fool using Social Selling is still broke.”

Gerhard Gschwandtner, CEO of Selling Power magazine and Sales 2.0 Conferences defines Social Selling (or Sales 2.0) this way:

“Sales 2.0 relies on a repeatable, collaborative and customer-enabled process that runs through the sales and marketing organization, resulting in improved productivity, predictable ROI and superior performance.”

Nowhere does he say that it is simply a matter of applying some tools and techniques and then, presto, you will have a team of top producers.

Social Selling and web tools should simply be viewed as force multipliers. Deployed correctly, results will increase significantly as compared to a team that has not embraced the core principles. The game has definitely changed over the last few years. The top producers know that, and have been integrating this new thinking and awareness into their selling process. The most successful sales trainers are integrating modules for Web Tools into their curriculum.

Anthony Iannarino, a new friend and prolific sales blogger writes frequently about the continued importance of creating value for your customers. At it’s core, sales success is still measured by the ability to create and deliver value for your customer.  Social Selling tools and tactics can expose a larger number of opportunities than would have been available previously. It still requires focus, discipline, structure and understanding of your customers needs to succeed.

Social Selling is not for the lazy! It is for those who are willing to integrate Social Selling into a proven sales approach.

If you want to learn more about Social Selling, I recommend exploring Social Selling University, powered by InsideView and Koka Sexton (@kokasexton). For another example of what can happen when you use only Social Selling techniques in your selling activities, read Nigel Edelshain’s post titled: Sales 2.0 fact that can Kill your Sales Funnel.

Where do you stand on this? Tell me what you think.


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[…] 3. Social Selling is Not for the Lazy […]

DanielMilstein - 10 years ago

That’s such a great point Miles.  I loved how you said social selling a web tools should be viewed as force multipliers. One thing I learned about sales before I became a bestselling author is top producers have a better grasp of the latest technological developments, including Internet marketing and social media techniques.  Unlike their techno-phobic counterparts, they are “grad students” of sales-related technology, and look for ways to incorporate it in their operations.  Technology is one of the topics we discuss with prospective employees, and I emphasize that we are seeking people who are willing to take advantage of the various Internet and related opportunities.

Brett924 - 11 years ago

I found that I actually had to kill my social selling efforts (and am only now rebuilding them) because they got in the way of more effective sales 1.0 methods. I dusted off my Tracy and Ziglar and got back to work. 

    Miles Austin - 11 years ago

     @Brett924 I think that the work of Tracy, Zigler and others still holds value because the core message is about people, and how to treat each other. Respect their time, value their needs, that will never be out of date.

axels - 11 years ago

Oh and a side note: You did a great job mentioning people with their URLs and company names. Like blogger did in the early days of social media. Today it’s even more important than back then: Social media monitoring tools catch those occurrences, alert the people and voila they respond 🙂

axels - 11 years ago

Thanks for the quote – totally agree to the fool with the tool. Now the second part of my sentence referred to techniques (not technology) 🙂 And I can’t agree more it is not for the lazy !!!
However I just cannot agree with my good friend Gerhard Gschwandtner – those who believe that they can be successful by following a sales process – any sales process – will simply loose the game. The only process there is is a buying process – and that process is as individual as the buyer him or herself. 
@AxelS entire social presence) 

    Miles Austin - 11 years ago

     @axels  @AxelS Axel, isn’t part of the Social Selling foundation that you learn the process of each buyer and company, and then respond accordingly? Can you not develop a unique process for each opportunity?  If you have your own “process” and apply it to every customer you will be disappointed. By listening, learning and observing the buyer requirements, and applying your capabilities to those requiements, the odds of success rise significantly in my experience. 

      axels - 11 years ago

      Hmmm – isn’t that what I said in my original ‘statement’ you quoted, Miles? Maybe I misunderstood. Any sales ‘process’ you hang on to is bad. Like love – if you develop a process you will loose in the end. In turn – if you have a technique that works over and over again – yet is new and compelling in each situation, you don’t follow a process but a methodology. And that is what Social Selling is in the first place, a methodology. And that methodology has no process. Inspiring conversation – inspiring me to update my white paper 🙂

        Miles Austin - 11 years ago

        @axels I think we are just caught on semantics-Methodology vs. Process. ‘ Methodology has no process’ just doesn’t ring true in my ears.  I hope you will come back and share the link to your update for the white paper. 
        Here is the link for readers that have not seen the original:

GoodmanSales - 11 years ago

Excellent thinking, thank you.  A few years ago when I was researching the value of social media for sales prospecting it became obvious, regardless of the black voodoo magicians spewing the second coming of sales through social media, the strengths and weaknesses of the medium.  All prospecting, done well, needs to measure how many days and how many dollars does it take to return one dollar in sales.  Social media, in the early days was pretty unstructured that way, though today lots of tools exist to measure that level of ROI.  Love the quote about “a fool with a tool…”

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