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Sales Strategy
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In the latest episode of the CPSA Sales Hacks show, we will explore top tips and amazing social selling strategies which can help salespeople better qualify the leads they attract and discover new ways to grow engagement.

Our guest expert is Shane Gibson, speaker, sales trainer, influencer, and author on social media marketing, social selling and sales performance.  

Listen to this episode of the CPSA Sales Hacks Podcast and discover:

* What is social selling? Most people think of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat. But is it more than that?

* How does social selling fit into strategies of relationship building, two-way conversations that drive engagement, deepen relationships and lead to new sales ops?

* How can salespeople leverage social media channels to build their personal brand, and how can that then help to drive sales?

* What are some of the big social selling mistakes to avoid?

Want to hear more? Check out our bonus soundbites:

* Which social media channels work better for B2C and which for B2B sales?

* For those businesses on limited budgets, where on social media should they invest in generating new interest and eyeballs?

* What are the 9 Cs of social sales success?

Read the edited transcription:

Bill: In this first of a two-part Sales Hacks episode, we'll be looking at social media and strategies for growing qualified leads. Shane Gibson, welcome to the Sales Hacks Show.

Shane Gibson: Hey, thanks very much for having me on the show.

Bill: Okay, let's jump straight in with a pretty big question. Most people think of LinkedIn, they think of Twitter, they think of Facebook, Pinterest, maybe Snapchat when they're thinking about social media and this term social selling, but what is social selling, Shane, is it more than that, could it be video, audio, and other things too?

Shane Gibson: Yeah, it really depends on who you ask as far as the definition goes, but I think if we break down the two definitions, so there's two things. We're talking about the word social and the word selling pretty simply. Let's talk about selling. In our book, Closing Bigger, years ago, and it's a definition I still use today, Trevor Greene and I defined closing and selling as creating an environment where an act of faith can take place. That's really what sales is about, it's creating an environment where an act of faith can take place. It's about building trust and credibility with the client, and creating an environment where they're going to move forward with a valid need, and you fulfilling a valid need, and do business with you. That's the first part, which is sales and all activities encompassing that.

Social, social in its purest form is, at least when we refer to the web, is it's bidirectional communications between individuals and possibly groups of people, but typically individuals, so it's two-way communication. If we combine that, it's two-way communication on the internet between two people that creates an environment where an act of faith can take place. That's what I look at, and so there's all kinds of tools that will allow us to do that.

When we think of social selling, some people think it's just LinkedIn, or just Twitter, or LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, but it's any tool that you can utilize on the social and mobile web that creates that two-way communication opportunity and that's really what social sales is about. I think more importantly is it's not an island. Social selling is a method of communications that can touch every part of the sales cycle, not just prospecting, not just lead nurturing, not just competitive intelligence, but the whole piece of it. That's my thoughts on social selling is if it's not two-way communications, specific, and customized, it's really not social.

Bill: Okay, so lots of emphasis on two-way conversations, relationship building, and so on.

Shane Gibson: Yes.

Bill: Does that mean, therefore, that social selling is not a numbers game?

Shane Gibson: I think that it's really challenging, because that's also just the question, is sales a numbers game or is it a quality of lead game, and my answer is yes, it's both. At the end of the day, a sample group of 10 prospects can give you no data, there's no way for you to predict what your level of success is going to be with the next 10. You need to do more numbers to even understand truly what parts of your sales process are working and which ones need tweaking, and so it is a numbers game.

It's not just about numbers, it's about consistent discipline. If you're doing it daily, it's got to be a numbers game, but with that said, it's not just quantitative, it's also qualitative, so it's not about spamming the world with a generic message, it's about a focused, disciplined way customizing each of our interactions with our key prospects in the marketplace in a way that we're reaching them at the right time with a relevant message.

I think it is a numbers game, you have to get in the game, you have to do it consistently, but it's also qualitative both from the type of prospects you're going after, but also the type of communications and the timing. It really is much like other parts of really effective sales. You can go knock on 1,000 doors indiscriminately, or 400,000 people indiscriminately, or you can define your target market and call the top 20% first and have a much higher ROI from your activities.

Bill: We at the CPSA, as do you, talk a lot about the benefits to personal branding when social media is used correctly. Can you paint a bit of a picture about how salespeople can leverage social media channels to build their personal brand, and how that then can trickle down to lead to sales?

Shane Gibson: I think self-aggrandizing posts, talking about all your great achievements, about your company's latest rewards, about your newest product, all of these types of things are the last thing you want to be doing on social media. I think a lot of times people mistake pitching or pushing out branded marketing materials and posting them on the web is some type of brand development, but that's actually the opposite. In most cases we're going to mute you or unfollow you. I might not disconnect with you as a connection on LinkedIn or Facebook, but I will stop following your updates on my stream, because you're just filling it with advertising, which I don't want to see. I'm on there to connect with my family, my friends, my business associates, and to learn.

I think the first part is we have to understand what personal branding, effective personal branding, actually looks like on social media for sales professionals. How not to do it is ... I've got a few lawyers, or sorry, lawyers as well I've seen this, but realtors in particular who all I see on a daily basis is these people posting their latest house listing. As you know, even if you're in the game and you're in the real estate market, even if you maybe have some income properties, you're not buying a new property every year, you're buying it every 3-4 years in most cases, if that. Many of us buy a new home every eight years.

When we look at this, am I really going to watch eight years of daily updates of your new house listings and find it interesting? I'm not, and so that realtor, what they're doing is they're slowly alienating themselves, people are unfollowing them, and now they've got 1,000 connections, they're posting their listings thinking that people are actually seeing it, but the reality is only 20 people are still following them after a couple of years.

What we need to do is when we think about branding, number one, is it's really 70/30 as a bare minimum, 70% value added to community focused content, and maybe 30% of your updates, and honestly more like 20% or even 10% are actually my look at me, here's my house listing, here's my latest sale, and the rest of it is here's how to create curb appeal in your home, here's five different ways to assess your next general contractor, here's the top 10 places to visit in Oshawa, Ontario, and that's the type of stuff people will find value added, as a realtor for instance.

As I digress, and that was a long answer to a short question, but the other part of building a magnetic brand is positioning yourself as a thought leader, and really there's three key things you need to do as a thought leader from a social selling perspective. Number one is create great content and curate great content. Number two is build community, so do stuff and contribute content that really helps your target market and even brings them together versus just pitches them. The third thing is having great conversations that we talked about earlier. So, if we get into those three things, and we're focused on content and interactions that benefit our target market, then I think we can build a really strong magnetic personal brand where people are drawn to us and refer people to us. I know it's a long answer, but it's a bit of a loaded question too.

Bill: I am known for the occasional loaded question, Mr. Gibson.

Shane Gibson: Fantastic.

Bill: Okay, so earlier on we alluded to the fact that there's a big, big ecosphere of different tools, and tactics, and all the rest of that when it comes to social selling. However, for those salespeople on the frontlines with limited time, limited resources, what are the three or four major, most essential social media channels they should be utilizing, and why, and does it depend on whether or not they are in B2B or B2C sales?

Shane Gibson: I think we've got to not just break it down to B2B and B2C, but who their demographic is and what their goals are. B2B, obviously you want to be on LinkedIn, but with that said, I've seen a lot of powerful use of Facebook groups, for instance, with B2B audiences, and so there's some interesting applications for every platform for whatever channel we're in. I think that sometimes you'd have to get a bit more, like you'd have to get a bit more creative to make Snapchat effective for B2B versus LinkedIn, but it's still possible.

I think that one of the things you want to look at is A, the amount of time you have, and if your answer is I have no time, then you've got a problem, you got a time management issue, because you should have at least 20 minutes a day to be active on social as a minimum, and if you really want to get in the game, you know who your target market is and what you're trying to sell.

Obviously for B2B, LinkedIn is a really good platform. B2B for me, even personal storytelling. There's a crossover as well. Instagram has been very powerful for me, so, and I don't ... You follow me on Instagram, Bill, so you'll know that I don't post a lot of business stuff, the odd time I'll post a talk. I'm actually mostly sharing about my latest kayak trip, a martial arts retreat, a hike I'm doing with my family, an art opening I've gone to, something that's happening in the community, and I'm actually storytelling the story of Shane, and what I'm about, and what I value, and what my family's about, and the things I enjoy. That part of Instagram storytelling is actually often what many of the people I meet start with. They actually ask me questions, "I saw you were on a hike," or, "I noticed you're into the outdoors," and that begins to build a common ground in the sales process.

Don't just think that the content you share has to be business, in fact people buy from people. While LinkedIn is a very good storytelling platform, I don't post many of my hiking pictures on LinkedIn, but LinkedIn's a great platform to share insights and thought leadership around social selling and sales for me. Instagram is where I share kind of my heart, my soul, my beliefs, my values, and between the two of those they become a very powerful tool.

I know it's not really a direct question, but my suggestion would be at least pick three platforms that you're going to be on and work them on a daily basis. I think for anybody in business, whether you work in B2B or B2C, if you're a sales professional you need a really good LinkedIn profile, because you'll probably find your next job opportunity through someone you know through that network. In addition to that, of course the first thing people do on a professional level is they look you up on LinkedIn. Everybody needs a LinkedIn profile, that's by default, and then I would suggest to at least invest in Facebook and Instagram as a bare minimum.

Those platforms work, but then there's other supplementary things like YouTube, and so YouTube is a great platform for many of us. Also, in addition to that, we talked about Snapchat. Fantastic for reaching millennials at all levels. Then we move into kind of other things that we don't really think of as social networks, but tools like SlideShare, or even still Pinterest are great places to share content. The great thing is I don't spend all day on those platforms. I spend sort of most of my time on Twitter, and LinkedIn, and Facebook, but when I share a piece of content, especially if I write a blog post, I find a way to share it into all the major channels. So, for distribution you can use them all, and for daily interaction pick two or three.

Bill: Shane Gibson, thank you very much for being the guest on the Sales Hacks Show.

Shane Gibson: Thank you for having me

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