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Sales Strategy
Jan 18, 2018 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

In this second of a two part Sales Hacks episode, 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 these 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 Banham: In the second of a two part interview with Shane Gibson, we'll continue to look at social media and key strategies for growing qualified leads. Shane Gibson, welcome to the Sales Hack Show.


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


Bill Banham: So what would you say to a salesperson who, they adhere to the belief that they can automate all of this? They can work with their marketing team, pre-schedule all their messages going through Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever that might be, and just leave it to pump out?


Shane Gibson: So, they've got one out of three of the pieces of thought leadership. So at this point, they're using the, "If we build it, they will come" or "If they post it, they will come" strategy, which is I'm gonna ... and let's assume. I'm going to assume they're actually sharing really good content. Let's give them that benefit of the doubt. But without actual community, which is them extending their connections and growing their network, and also contributing and giving back and engaging, and without conversation, that content is relatively meaningless. In fact without engagement, interaction and community, you know whether it's Facebook or LinkedIn, it's not going to trigger the algorithm to push that into the feed and have hundreds of thousands of people see it.


So it's really important that you can't just post content and walk away. There's a proactive interaction and engagement aspect that needs to happen in order for social to really work. Cause what are we trying to do? We're trying to identify stakeholders, we're trying to find people who are interested in what we sell, or what we offer, or who could refer people to us. So, if we're just posting content and walking away, and we don't make notice of who has liked the update, or who commented, or who shared with it and then have conversation with them in real time, we're actually missing the sales opportunity.


So it's, and I think this is really interesting, is that Twitter and Facebook are a lot more like a telephone or a cell phone, than a megaphone or a billboard, because it's a two-way communications tool. That's how rapport is built. Then you can move them into a deeper conversation, whether it's a Skype video call, or it's a phone call, or it's meeting them somewhere. So, there's nothing wrong with posting content, and you can somewhat automate the sharing of key pieces of content, as long as it's shared effectively for each platform. Like you can use a lot more text obviously in the LinkedIn update compared to a Twitter update compared to a Facebook update. Actually, the amount of text that's shown in the preview in a LinkedIn update, is much less than, for instance, a Facebook one.


So you've got to think of all these things when you write your content. It has to be posted appropriately for that network as well. So if I had to choose between automating and not automating, if you say "If I can't automate my posts, I just can't do this", then I would say automate your posts. But the reality is, it's much better if you don't. It's going to be more effective, and also Facebook's algorithm detects whether you've used a third party tool to automate and post content, or if you've done it yourself, and it puts a preference towards organically posted content.


So there's a few things to think about. Again, I go back to, you can do a lot of damage in two 20 minute blocks per day doing it the old fashioned way. Hand-posting the content and taking care, and you'll get a lot more out of it then you would if you're just posting in an automated fashion.


Bill Banham: So there are no shortcuts people. Not if you want to do it correctly.


Shane Gibson: I mean, there's always a few cool things to automate, but what's interesting is, I got myself in a bit of a Twitter purgatory for a couple of months and I actually had to write them an email and go back and forth and finally I noticed my updates were showing up. I was using, If This Then That, which is an automated tool where I wrote a little applet that when someone Tweeted with a keyword, like social media or social selling or B2B selling, it would automatically put them on a list. I thought, this is rather clever, because then people would think, "Oh, this guy's noticed me. He's put me on a list". Then I would often go through the list and I would engage those people that I thought would be relevant to talk to directly.


The challenge was, that automation, Twitter picked up on it and a lot of my updates stopped showing up in search. So I had to do some digging and kind of apologize and promise that I wouldn't over automate. So a lot of these tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are actually filtering out third party posting and automated posting to make search results more relevant. So, it's a risk area. We want visibility and engagement, and we're really kidding ourselves on the automation in most cases with social media.


Bill Banham: That's a great example of when things can happen, you've got to jump on and try to rejig your sales process. Do you have any other examples that you can share with our audience before we wrap up this particular interview?


Shane Gibson: So, if I'm going to Toronto to visit you Bill in the next couple of months, which I'm hoping I'm gonna be able to do, and I decide that I want to meet VPs of Sales in Toronto to talk to them about what I can do to help their sales organizations promote their sales, what I can do is I can search on LinkedIn for second degree connections with the title VP of Sales in Toronto. It will pop up everyone in Toronto who's a VP of Sales that I have a mutual connection with. Then I can, instead of just pitching the guy, I can reach through and let's say you're a mutual connection Bill. I go, "Bill, I notice that you're connected with this VP of Sales for the corporate sales for Bell Canada". You say, "Absolutely". I say, "Would you mind, while I'm in town, making a quick LinkedIn or email introduction to him" and you'll go, "Hey, no problem" because we've done business in the past and it's something that you feel comfortable with.


So it's interesting though, is when you get a second degree referral, versus a direct contact, there's almost always a bit more trust. Going back to creating that environment where an act of faith can take place. If a trusted connection of mine on LinkedIn has said, "Hey, you should meet this guy while he's in Toronto during that week" then often it's going to improve our chances. So I'll do the same with Facebook. I'll actually search, for instance, in Facebook graph search, my friends, friends, who work at Bell Canada. I'll get a list of all the people who work at Bell Canada and if there's relevant people in Toronto, I may make the ask for the introduction.


So think about working social proximity, cause that's a really key piece. I think a lot of people just don't do it, while they're out there cold prospecting with LinkedIn, when they've already got a thousand LinkedIn connections who equates to a million second degree connections, or something crazy like that, and they're not asking these people for referrals and introductions. Instead, they're going in cold and their closing ratio or their contact inversion ratio is so much lower. So that would be my thought, don't make the mistake of just going cold. It's social, as in social network, as in social connection. Work your social introductions. So yeah, that's probably one of my last tips I would give you on that. Any other thoughts?


Bill Banham: No, I think I've got a pretty good roadmap, as do the listeners, to get out there and be social. Don't be so cold, don't rely exclusively on automated technologies and so on and so forth. So-


Shane Gibson: Can I finish with this one piece?


Bill Banham: Yeah.


Shane Gibson: This is something that when Steve Jagger and I wrote Sociable, this was years ago, we wrote this book on social media for salespeople and entrepreneurs, the beginning of time for social media. So back in 2009, which is like an eon ago now. The term Sociable, for us, referred to using the internet to get off the internet. So one of your quickest returns on investment is that you can take that LinkedIn connection, and you can go grab them for lunch. You can get them on the phone and have a deeper conversation. Once you've had a more personal, intimate interaction with somebody, all of your content means more to them on the internet. It becomes really personal, and so, and this is one of the quickest ways to figure out if it's a lead or not, is when you actually talk to somebody. So just make sure it's not a video game, where you're just talking to a bunch of people on LinkedIn and sending them automated messages. It's picking up the phone, or booking that in-person appointment, can make that deal real, fast.


Bill Banham: And those sorts of skills are vital of course to the changing sales workforce and all of the impact that AI has. Which is a different show that you'll be doing with my colleague Kristen Harcourt, but that's a great way to round things up for today. So Shane Gibson, thank you very much for being a guest on the Sales Hacks Show.


Shane Gibson: Thank you for having me.

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