Me too. Haven’t you noticed how many so-called social media experts have come on the scene? People figured out quickly that social media is the buzz, so they figured they could jump on the gravy train and make a quick fortune. It’s easy to spot the wannabes though. Here are few clues:
1. They don’t blog or if they have a blog there isn’t much on it.
2. They have like 25 connections on LinkedIn and think that’s a big network.
3. They started using social media about 6 months ago, if that.
4. They think that email marketing is the same as social networking.
5. They are not getting business using social networking approaches now matter how much they trash talk about their expertise.
6. They can’t tell you the core differences between Twitter, Plaxo, Facebook, LinkedIn or StumbleUpon.
7. Their website has no social media presence at all.
What does this all have to do with sales?
I’ve noticed during the last two years how many coaches and consultants are now claiming to be sales experts with this or that program to help you achieve success. Talk is cheap so the saying goes. I’m about results. You can’t fake experience and a demonstrable history of success. People often get into sales training or sales coaching, because they smell easy money when they have little or no experience as a professional sales person themselves.
Case in point…
A few years ago, I met a woman at a networking event who said she was a sales coach. I said, wow – that’s interesting. Tell me about your sales background. You know the punch line, right? She had no experience. Zip, none, nada! But she thought that she could coach sales people anyway. There is no hard and fast rule that says you MUST have business experience in the area where you intend to offer your coaching service, but it certainly does help. And if you are going to coach or train sales people then you darn well better know what it’s like to walk in their shoes.
Sales (I believe) is a little different from other organizational functions. If you’ve never sold professionally, you will have a hard time truly understanding the challenges that sales people face. You won’t be able to fully know the motivation that is required to sell day in and day out. There is no way that you can feel the stress of being pressured by leaders on high to get the deal…now.
Oh boy, here it comes. I can hear all those wonderfully trained coaches out there just itching to challenge me on this point…please don’t bother! I’ve sold close to a billion dollars in products and services through the years, so I have a little bit of background in this area. And, no, I’m not an expert. I just have actual experience selling. If your paycheck has never depended on achieving a sales quota every month – you don’t know what it is like, and I don’t care how many powerful questions you ask…you don’t know! Moreover, sales professionals will not take you seriously anyway.
What’s my point? If you plan to call yourself an expert or offer sales coaching as a service, you darn sure better have the goods to back it up!