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By Chris Strandin November 16, 2017

Social Selling Sucks (Time)

Most sales reps won’t get a good return spending their time on social media. Yet, many sales reps spend their whole day doing it anyways. At Sales Result, we believe in a balanced approach to prospecting and spreading your time across activities likely to yield a great return. Simply put, spend your time doing things you know will work.

Why social selling probably will not work for you:

  1. Your prospect is not on social media
  2. Your account won’t influence them

Your prospect is not on social media

If you’re thinking of social selling, stop and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your prospects go on LinkedIn every week?
  • Do your prospects use Twitter?
  • Would your prospects be put-off if you friend requested them on Facebook, cold?
  • There are hundreds of social sites. Do you know where your prospects actually spend their time?

If you don’t have a good answer to these questions, you should take a step back and gather some data. Start by talking to your trusted customers. Ask them how much time they spend on social media, what platforms they use, and what they like to see and read.

You might find that your prospects are heavy social media users, but social media is not how they want to be contacted by sales reps. Or the information they want to see doesn’t align with what you’re trying to sell. Don’t be sucked into spending hours every week pushing content inside a vacuum your prospects will never see.

Your account probably won't influence them

Social media relies on people choosing to follow high-value accounts—such as influencers and celebrities. These people often have millions of followers that they cultivated over time and only after making a name for themselves. If your account does not have significant influence, social selling won’t work. Social selling requires making a name for yourself and becoming an industry influencer, which is not easy to do. In fact, if your goal is not becoming the most influential thinker in your field, social selling will waste a lot of your time. Most of your prospects are not going to take @JoeSalesman seriously if he tweets at them with 8 followers.

Instead, leverage outbound calling, inbound calling, and drop-ins. Or try sending your prospect something unusual to get their attention. These methods are not dead, they are proven. Even social media companies leverage these classic forms of selling.

How to use social media in selling

While social selling can waste a reps time, social listening can be quite useful. I use LinkedIn to blueprint a prospect and stay up-to-date on their company’s news and releases. This way, when I’m ready to include them in a campaign the information I’m conveying is personalized and relevant.

I find social listening a better use of time than spending hours finding something to post, getting distracted by off-topic articles, and returning to the homepage to find 1 like from another sales person wasting their time, too.

At the end of the day, find what will make you successful. Social selling may be one tool, but email, phone calls, direct mail, industry networking, tradeshows, and marketing should also be part of your tool kit. Diversify your efforts to get in front of your prospect. Perfect your scripts, pitches, and presentations. These are effective mediums you know your prospect will have the chance to see.

If social selling lead to a major bump in your sales, we’d love to hear what you do to make it work and what types of prospects you find most receptive. If social selling has not worked for you, contact Sales Result for a 30-minute complimentary consultation on other tools you can use to close more deals. 

Topics: Sales Strategy, Sales Tools


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