SocialTech Tuesday: Have You Been SWAM’d?

For important reasons, today’s post is longer than normal, and I hope you will take time to read through to the end. Your comments are also appreciated!

Since today is SocialTech Tuesday, it seems appropriate to jump into a controversy that has ignited a firestorm of angry discussion among LinkedIn members. Many people are incensed over a new LinkedIn policy introduced (very quietly) in January. The policy relates to groups and is called Sitewide Auto Moderation dubbed SWAM.

Though I am a LinkedIn power user and am pretty well versed in the platform, I had no idea that this policy had been introduced. Chances are that as a group member or a group manager/moderator, you didn’t know about it either. In fact, it seems the only way that people found out about the policy change is if they personally became affected by it. I found out about it a few days ago when a colleague of mine was SWAM’d and asked me if I knew anything about what was going on. That’s when I started digging.

In essence here’s what the policy is all about.

In an effort to reduce spam in the discussion area of groups, which I support by the way, LinkedIn made it possible to force an automatic moderation of posts and comments across “all groups” by any member who had been blocked in just one of the groups that they belonged to. The assumption is that if a Group Manager deemed you a spammer in their group, then all your posts and comments were suspect in other groups as well. While I appreciate the spirit and intent of the new policy, I believe it is pretty far reaching and perhaps pushes the boundaries of censorship.

The official policy is this…

“If a group manager blocks you from their group, your posts to other groups are automatically subject to moderator approval. Your postings to other groups are still submitted, but they are now pending until a member of the group’s management team approves it for posting.”

That means that those messages sit in a cue waiting for a group manager or their team of moderators to approve the comments.

Why is this needed?

That’s the million dollar question, and I am wondering what is the REAL why behind this decision? Group managers have always had the ability to block someone in their group that they felt were spamming versus participating in group conversations. Why is Big Brother stepping in? Is there some reason that decisions cannot be left to the individual group managers? Why is LinkedIn arbitrarily deciding that an infraction in one group means the member is an offender in every other group?

Stop Drinking Your Own Kool-Aid

Is this yet another example of how companies become too internally focused when it comes to their decision making? Not only does it seem like the far reaching effects were not considered by asking tougher questions internally, it doesn’t appear that LinkedIn bothered to seek out external feedback either.

Here are other questions that I believe needed to be asked and answered before plowing ahead with this decision:

What is the ramification to the member if we put this policy/technology change into effect? LinkedIn will tell you that if you fall victim to being SWAM’d you only need to approach each Group Manager and ask them to reinstate you. Imagine you belong to 50 groups. Does LinkedIn really think that forcing someone to reach out to each group manager individually will be an easy task? Can you imagine the time it takes? What if those group managers aren’t actively managing their group and never bother to respond? It happens all the time and now the individual is sort of screwed if no one pays attention to their reinstatement request.

How will this affect revenue we earn from premium subscriptions? I will say up front that I do not believe premium members deserve special consideration per se, although you could argue that maybe new features should be rolled out to them first. What I do believe is that somebody should have done a little analysis to see what it means if premium members are being kicked to the curb by Group Managers with no notice, warning or explanation. As of this writing, I can’t give you numbers, but I can say that several hundred people affected have publicly said they reverted back to the “free” version. That lost revenue will start adding up.

Does each group clearly communicate guidelines with respect to what content is appropriate for posting in the “discussion” area? It is very easy to create group rules and remind members to read them. If there are no group guidelines, is it really fair to ban someone who chooses to post self-promotions? How can you be accused of breaking the rules if there are none?

What will be the administrative impact on Group Managers? One Group Manager told me that this new policy has placed an impossible burden on him. His group is quite large – 30,000+ - and overnight he started having upwards of 500 posts DAILY to have to moderate. Manually. The policy was intended to help deal with SPAM. Didn’t anyone ask the question about whether or not these group leaders would have the bandwidth to deal with the outcome of this decision?

Is it possible that Group Managers with an act to grind will use the ability to block people unfairly? In other words, is there a chance that knowing a member could be blocked in all groups, would they use that as an opportunity to retaliate for a perceived infraction, the fact that they didn’t like the individual’s comments, or worse, use it as an opportunity to put their competitors at a disadvantage? In the course of researching the situation, it does appear that there are instances of this happening.

What will this decision mean for the power that participating in groups has represented? Being able to contribute to conversations or start discussions gives a group member the ability to demonstrate their thought leadership and capabilities. Done smartly, that visibility leads to sales opportunities. But if members know that a Group Manager could get pissed off at them, cut them off because they didn’t like what they said or posted, or accidentally clicked on the wrong button, why would anyone waste time participating in groups at all?

Aren’t we obligated to clearly communicate this change to all members? For me, this is the most important question that LinkedIn should have asked. If you believe in the decision, why hide? Why not clearly communicate what you are doing and why and ask for feedback before actually putting it into application. It seems to be common practice for social sites to makes changes without bothering to tell anyone. When it comes to policy though, I think the company should be obligated to make a public statement. As a member of the platform, I’m bound by the terms of use, but if you keep slipping in whammies like this one, how is that really being transparent?

What will be the impact on our Customer Service team? My point above might have mitigated many of the support tickets and complaints being filed. Without having any knowledge of the change or what happened if a group member was blocked, hundreds of support tickets have been filed. That is a heck of a lot of manpower to waste.

I plan to keep watch with respect to this policy, so expect more posts to come.

For now I will close with the following…

After 29 years working in technology, I’ve seen a lot of big players come and go. Arrogance slowly creeps in as people think, we are big, bad and no one can touch us. LinkedIn is not immune to this insidious disease, which may be a small crack today, but a chasm in the not too distant future. Guaranteed, a band of super smart tech nerds are out there somewhere working away in their garage to create the next best thing.

When a social networking company forgets that it is the members that got them where they are now, the fall may be slow but it certainly will be imminent.

Want the meeting? Fix your message.

Today’s sales people have a variety of communication channels available to help them reach prospects. Unfortunately, some sellers haven’t gotten the memo that we are long past the days of simply broadcasting a generic pitch.

Technology has given rise to laziness. Sending 100 emails to the wrong people with the wrong message is not an effective prospecting strategy. Leaving random phone messages isn’t either.

A few tips for sellers in how to engage their prospects more effectively to secure meetings:

  • Target the message to the right buyer and focus on what they care about, not what you want to sell.
  • Check your facts. I don’t run an entertainment company, as one sales email suggested and the sales rep should know that.
  • Check the grammar and spelling. Starting the first sentence of the email with “anyways” is not the way to make a positive impression.
  • Don’t use jargon that only people in your company understand.
  • Get the person’s name right.
  • Stop asking people to visit your website to learn more and “get back to me if I can answer any questions”. Lazy and presumes your prospect has the time to do your sales job.
  • Make sure the customer examples used are relevant. One sales pitch to me mentioned that “there is a reason why McKesson and Bain Capital” use our product. Well, that may be, but I run a small business. Using McKesson as a customer example isn’t relevant, so I conclude you know nothing about my business, and that I can’t afford what you sell anyway.

Here’s what a Sales Manager at one of our clients just told me… “I have to say that since you instructed us not to send out generic messages and invites (without personalizing), my meeting acceptance rates and speed has drastically improved.”


Poorly written emails and inarticulate voicemail messages are killing your sales opportunities, and you probably don’t even know it. Put these tips into action and see your meeting acceptance rates increase.


NEW - Get LinkedIn Not Locked Out online class - SocialTech Tuesday - DETAILS and REGISTRATION HERE

Make Your Sales Messages RELEVANT!

I was pondering what to write today, but then several spam sales pitches showed up in my inbox, and I thought, perfect.

Look. I get it. You want to sell something. Anything. But slinging hash up against the wall hoping that it will stick is a pretty lousy strategy.

Here is a great example of what NOT to do. I’ve removed the name to protect the clueless, but otherwise, the email is as it came to me with grammar errors and all. My commentary is after the email.

“Hi Barbara,

My name is XYZ, and I’m with XYZ company. Given that companies in the Entertainment industry are constantly hiring and back-filling positions, I thought you would be interested in what we offer. Do you happen to know who evaluates recruiting tools at Talent Builders Inc, if not yourself?

XYZ company has over 10,000 small business customers, many of which are looking for the type of candidates that exist on our site or visit our job board aggregator partners. In short, our software gets your jobs out there, organizes, and speeds up your hiring process. You can be up and running in minutes.


  • Unlimited users
  • Unlimted job posts that syndicate to 20+ top job boards including Indeed, SimplyHired, JuJu and more
  • Automated re-posting to your social media accounts
  • Access to XYZ’s extensive resume database
  • Pre-screening and filtering ability with video, audio, multiple choice and more
  • Interview scheduling and applicant tracking
  • Share application link - for hiring managers
  • Dedicated account support

Largest package is only $99/mo or $800 for the year

Do you or the person who oversees your hiring strategy have 15 minutes next week for a quick call?

Still in the dark? Check out the video on our homepage at

Thanks in advance!
XYZ Sales Rep”

Where do I begin?

At least he got my name right, but the email is one that has never existed, so somebody just tried making it up.

I’m NOT in the Entertainment business. Talent Builders, Inc. is my corporation and we DBA as Social Centered Selling, an LLC that Talent Builders owns. It is not uncommon for someone to think that Talent Builders is in entertainment or recruiting, but we are not.

He gives me all the pricing. Why do I even need to talk to him? I can just simply file this away in the “maybe I will get to it someday”, but then again, probably not.

Do I know who oversees hiring? Of course, I’m the owner.

Still in the dark? Well, actually, I didn’t know that I was in the dark. Thanks for insulting me. But I get it, you want me to do your job for you and go figure out for myself why I should bother spending any time with you.

The problem I have with this email, beyond the fact that it is unsolicited, is that the sales rep is just lazy. I’m guessing his marketing team cued up this email and he just blindly sent it out. Or, maybe he came up with this piece of genius on his own. Whatever the case, it is a classic example of what too many sales people are cranking out there. Why would anyone bother to waste time getting back to you if you send these sorts of messages?

If you want to engage a prospect, and it is important to you that you get a sales appointment, STOP - take 5 minutes to THINK about what you are sending before bothering to hit send.

That is all.


Generating Revenue and Pipeline

Three common sales priorities I hear being discussed among salespeople is the pressure to increase pipeline and revenue, improve their win rates and get deals to close more quickly. To attack the challenge, I believe salespeople really need to focus their attention on finding better qualified prospects and then taking the time to better qualify possible sales opportunities. When sales deals are dragging on or eventually lead to a loss, it often can be attributed to these two things.

Time is a precious commodity that salespeople largely waste.

Let’s start with prospecting. The importance of this one aspect of the sales process cannot be overstated. Even if your company provides leads to you, it is still your job to be on the lookout for new sales opportunities each and every day. Pipeline is what drives revenue and ultimately your commission check. If you have no pipeline, you have a serious problem.

How you network to find more qualified prospects and opportunities is a sales skill that  is really important for you as a salesperson to get right. It isn’t about the number of networking events you attend, it is about the quality of that event and the real potential for meeting a targeted buyer. Why would you go otherwise?

It is time to take a close look at how you network. Are you leveraging social media as part of your mix to get to more of your targeted prospects faster? Buyers start a majority of the buying process without salespeople, so you need to be visible online. If not, you are missing sales opportunities. And what about those in-person events? Think about the recent networking events you invested time in. Did they lead to a measureable sales result?

How well are you qualifying opportunities?

Are you using the face-to-face meeting time to qualify the opportunity instead of using the telephone or other means first? You should only agree to an in-person meeting once you have confirmed that this is a qualified sales opportunity worthy of investing time. Have you answered core questions that determine if your buyer is truly motivated to buy or just kicking the tires? Is there some burning initiative inside the company that is driving this opportunity forward? Have they budgeted for the project? Are you sure they will decide in 30 days and not 3-months or more? A quick phone call can reveal the answers to these questions quickly enabling you to determine whether face time is warranted.

And about that face time.

Are you using in-person meetings to demonstrate your products or talk about your services when there are more cost efficient ways to achieve the same result? Today, you can create and share your product demos on YouTube. Meetings can be hosted using Go-to-Webinar or maintain that face-to-face connection using iMeet from PGi.

If you really are serious about building pipeline and revenue, you need to get serious about making sure that you are strategic about your prospecting and that you have strong qualification skills. Every minute you spend with people who aren’t going to buy quickly is time you could have been spending on the people who can!


Become a Social Selling Rockstar with our new coaching program. A 7-step program, Sales Meets Social Media is aimed at professional sales people. You will take away an understanding of how to use social media correctly and own a social selling process for engaging with buyers at the right time with the right message. Learn More

The Big Sales Disconnect

In one of my LinkedIn groups, a question posed was whether or not when cold calling you should leave a voicemail message. And, if you do leave a message, what type of message do you leave?

Oh, where do I begin?

Let’s not debate whether or not cold calling works or doesn’t. I don’t believe that it does, because B2B buyers continue to say – some 92% of them of according to InsideView – that they are not going to take a meeting with someone they do not know. Same goes for that cold email you may be about to send.

I realize that plenty of companies out there train on cold calling techniques and are strong advocates for the viability of this approach. Me, I think it is a waste of time. Time is precious and I can think of much better ways to use it to achieve my end goal…more meetings with the right decision makers in the companies that I’ve targeted.

I don’t argue the need to make phone calls to try to secure a sales meeting with your prospect, although statistically speaking, you still have a much higher rate of return on closing that meeting request when you are introduced either by someone credible inside the company you’ve targeted (84%) or through an external introduction by someone your prospect knows and trusts (44%). These numbers come from extensive research done by Selling to the C-Suite authors, Bistritz and Read.

Getting back to that phone call.

Yes, when making phone calls, leave a message if you do not immediately connect with your prospect. These days, pretty much everyone has caller ID, so if you keep calling and do not leave a message, that sort of feels like stalking. And, frankly, I think it is unprofessional. Sure, it would be great to be able to get people directly, but with people’s schedules so overloaded, that’s a tough proposition. Leave a professional voicemail message…every time!

So about that voicemail…

This is the world of social selling and massive amounts of information are at your fingertips that you can leverage. Are you?

Let’s go back to the LinkedIn discussion for just a moment. One person commented that he does recommend leaving a message and it looks like this…

“Hello ______! My name is ___________ and I’ve been studying your company for some time now and I am sure I can help. Call me @ ____________.”

He goes on to say that he learned this technique in a workshop and that it works about 90% of the time.

This is just so wrong. I’m not sure who this person targets (the receptionist maybe…someone in marketing…who knows), but I can tell you that the Sales VP that I’m looking to meet is not going to be impressed with this type of message much less agree to meet with me. Here’s what I’m thinking if I’m listening to this voicemail. I’ve studied your company. Who cares? Why are you studying my company?  Who are you anyway? Why would I waste time calling you? I have no idea who you are.

The depressing fact is that someone actually earns money to teach salespeople how to leave a message like this when they are making sales phone calls. Worse, these same salespeople believe that this works.

How about something a tad more relevant? With just a tiny bit of thought, you can create a message that gives your prospect a reason to call you back. Here’s a quick example of what I mean.

“Hello, Samuel. We haven’t met yet. I’m Barb Giamanco with Social Centered Selling. Samuel, in doing my homework before I called, I notice that you’ve built quite a name for yourself in your industry. I see that you are not using video yet to promote your company and you might be interested to know that video has proven to capture awareness from prospects roughly 5 times more often than simply text on a page. That increased awareness has led to a 60% increase in sales revenue for the majority of our clients. I’m not sure if our solution is a fit for you, but if you are willing to chat for 15 minutes, we could explore whether or not there is the potential to work together.” Again, Barb Giamanco. You can reach me at 404-949-0199. Thank you so much and have a great day.”

Selling is hard work. There is no quick fix. It would be nice if salespeople stopped looking for one!

Take our Sales and Social Media survey. We want to find out how salespeople are using social media to drive sales revenue.

Create Credibility Fast: Begin with Three Levels of Client Learning

Creating credibility means having done all of your research and intelligence gathering on the company you want to pursue and then demonstrating you’ve done your homework when you meet with the prospect-client executive.

Gathering information leads to insight

The tools for intelligence gathering and doing our research are now at our finger tips – social media has truly revolutionized our process for client learning because we now have instant access to real time social conversations. Yet, sales professionals often miss leveraging this intelligence despite it’s now become known as the quickest way to be in a position to contribute insights and create a foundation for long-term, collaborative relationships – trusted advisor relationships –with prospect-client executives.

As described by the authors of Clients for Life:  How Great Professionals Develop Breakthrough Relationships, connecting with an executive requires three levels of prospect-client learning, and with social media we also need to apply this same thinking with our real time intelligence gathering. The three levels of learning are, namely:

  • The prospect’s-client’s industry
  • The prospect’s-client’s organization
  • The prospect’s-client executive

As sales professionals we must become savvy at understanding social sales and how to master Sales 2.0 tools in order to effectively compete in today’s new world of selling, where Buyer 2.0 is in charge of the buying process.

Doing research within your network to determine if a connection is able to provide a credible introduction is a smart way to leverage this resource. And remember, it’s not all about you (“Go-Giver”).  Offering up a little bit of sugar goes a long way. According to a research study presented by the authors of Selling to the C-Suite, a recommendation from someone inside an organization will usually-to-always produce securing a meeting 84% of the time; a credible referral from outside the company will usually-to-always secure a meeting 42% of the time. Pretty impressive…this isn’t old fashioned, outdated cold calling!

When you identify people in your LinkedIn network, for example who have first or second level connections to you, it’s time to set up a live conversation. Pick up the phone and ask the connection questions that will determine their level of relationship and standing with the executive you want to approach. Be focused on two things this connection may be able to help you with:

  1. What information do they have that can help you with the three levels of prospect-client learning as described above?
  2. And, do they have a credible relationship with the individual you are trying to meet?

If the person you are connected to doesn’t have a credible relationship with the executive you want to meet, proceed with caution. This is a good time to ask them if they know someone else that you could talk to.

What are some of the questions and insight you need to ascertain from your contact to determine if they have a favorable – or even better yet, a credible – relationship with the executive you’re trying to pursue?

  • When was the last time they spoke with the executive and who initiated the call?
  • What was the nature of their conversation?  Was their value delivered?
  • When was the last time the executive asked them to serve as a resource or deliver value around a problem, or shared confidential information with them?
  • What has the executive done for them or with them in the past six months? If there is an answer here this could be an indicator that there is a trusted advisor relationship. This is pretty darn sweet when we learn this!

If the person in your network appears to have a favorable relationship with the executive, and better yet one in which is credible, then the next step is to ask for an introduction. Watch for an upcoming article on how to use the intelligence gathering and research you’ve done to move your executive level social conversation to a phone conversation.

Always find ways to give back to the person in your network who has just shared insight and their time with you. And if they are in a position to provide an introduction for you to the executive you are targeting, be sure to treat the prospect-client with kid gloves. In sales we all know that relationships and time are essential to building a profitable stream of business; we must respect both.

29 Ways to Leverage LinkedIn for Social Selling

  1. Establish your LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already. Duh. LinkedIn is the premier B2B (business to business) networking tool out there. Get LinkedIn or get locked out is my motto.
  2. Create compelling content that tells people the value that they receive when working with you.
  3. Make sure your profile is 100% complete.
  4. Include a professional headshot…not one of the kids or from your last fishing vacation!
  5. Improve your search rankings by adding applicable keywords in the headline area underneath your name. Sorry, but nobody searches for CEO of anything. Sprinkle those keywords (where it makes sense) throughout your summary information.
  6. Customize your website links. Instead of leaving the standard “company website” title, edit it and include the name of your company, product, service or last radio interview you conducted. It’s all about branding folks.
  7. Post a status update with information relevant to your network on a daily basis. Connect your Twitter account using the Twitter app and your LinkedIn updates will feed Twitter and vice versa.
  8. Share an article from LinkedIn Today, which you’ll find under the News tab.
  9. Peruse the network home page to see who’s connected to whom – maybe they are a good connection for you too.
  10. Make a point to like and comment on updates from people in your network.
  11. Secure recommendations. Make sure that they are relevant and authentic.
  12. Look to see “who’s viewed your profile”…is there an opportunity to reach out to them to say hello?
  13. After every networking meeting, sales meeting or speaking event, invite appropriate people to connect with you.
  14. Personalize your invitation requests to let people know how they know you and why connecting with you create a win/win for you both.
  15. When accepting the invitations of others, immediately click on “send email” and thank them for reaching out to invite you to connect on LinkedIn. Everybody loves a thank you!
  16. Share the profile of colleagues with people you know who might be a good prospect for they offer. Take a moment to tell them why meeting with your colleague is a good idea.
  17. View the connections of your 1-1 connections regularly and ask for a personal introduction to people that you want to meet. Don’t forget to ask them how you can help them with something in return!
  18. Export your contacts and invite a few colleagues to a contact sharing meet-up. Each of you brings your list and you find ways to help each other get to new prospects.
  19. Join LinkedIn groups that your potential buyer is likely to join. Participating in discussions gives you an opportunity to demonstrate the credibility you bring to the table.
  20. Promote other people in your network. Share their events, good news, presentations or company page.
  21. Follow companies that you’d like to do business with and keep tabs on the people and changes in the organization.
  22. Set up your own company page. This becomes a mini-website within the LinkedIn platform.
  23. Set up a FREE Slideshare account and share a presentation about your capabilities or a business topic relevant to your industry.
  24. Host a video clip on your profile using Google Presentations.
  25. Post your upcoming events using the Events application. Once set up, you can share the event with 50 members in your network and ask them to pass on to people in their networks. Copy the event link and use it to post as a status update for your entire network to see.
  26. Conduct sales research using Company Pages or the Answers section. In today’s sales world, decision makers expect that you’ve done your homework. Don’t ask them lame questions during that all important sales meeting that you could have easily uncovered on the web.
  27. Connect your blog to your profile using Blog Link or the WordPress application. Every time you post, your profile is automatically updated.
  28. Earned a certification, speak several languages or have published a book? Use the “Add Sections” feature to include them. When in edit mode, you’ll find the feature just before your summary information.
  29. Finally, and maybe most importantly, set up a “Saved Search” using the Advanced Search capability. Set up your search using the keywords or titles that best describe your sales target. Break it down by industry and geographic location based on zip code. Once you run the search – SAVE IT! You can save 3 with the free version of LinkedIn. Why save? Because every Monday morning LinkedIn sends you an email telling you what people matching your criteria have just joined your network. A most incredible and FREE lead generation list. Oh, but it does mean that you need quality and quantity of connections for the data to have any value.

Whew, well there you have it. Twenty-nine ways to better leverage LinkedIn to drive sales activities and results. Have fun and happy selling!

Hum, Do I Know You?

Today marks seven years since I first began using LinkedIn. As a raving fan, I use the networking tool daily for making connections, sharing referrals, prospecting, conducting pre-sales call research and more. It is an amazing sales tool with power far greater than what most people realize, which is why salespeople need to to invest the time to learn how to use LinkedIn effectively.

Making and accepting invitations is the first step in building your network, so I’d like to share 3 brief tips about how to do it the right way. Before I do, I need to tell you that I do not subscribe to the “open networker” philosophy, and I do not say yes to everyone who asks me to connect with them. Our networks are business assets and should be treated as such. If I’m going to allow someone access to my connections, I need to know that I can trust them to behave professionally. I’m about the quality of connections not the sheer number of them.

Ok, now that I’ve set the stage with my feelings about building my network, here are 3 tips for making and accepting LinkedIn invitations.

1. Invite people that you know. LinkedIn’s official policy is that you connect with people that you know. Daily, I receive invitations from people that I’ve never heard of, never met and never conversed with in a LinkedIn group. These invitations usually indicate that we are friends when we aren’t. Or, they suggest that we’ve done business together, which we haven’t. I keep an open mind about connecting with people that I do not know yet, but you have to give me a compelling reason to do so. What’s the benefit to me? That leads me to point number two.

2. Personalize your invitations. I’m pretty much over the standard “I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network.” Really, why? Why am I a good connection for you and vice versa? The “you are a person that I trust” message also gets under my skin. These invitations are especially irritating when I have no idea who you are. How do you know that you can trust me? The way I see it, if the connection is important to you - stop and take a moment to customize your message. Guess what, I don’t have the time to look up your profile and figure out if we’d be good connections for each other. Other people don’t either. Your job is to make it clear why connecting makes sense for both parties.

3. When you accept a connection, send a personalized message saying “thank you”. It’s a small, but very important way to stand out. In fact, I conducted social media training for a group of salespeople on Wednesday, and one gal in the room said that it bugged her when people never responded to her after connecting. All it takes is a minute to click on “send a message” once you’ve accepted the invite. It lets the other person know that you actually care about being connected.

People buy from people that they know, like and trust. Sales referrals are shared with other professionals for the same reasons. Relationships matter. Remembering that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, make your first LinkedIn interaction count!


Sales Meets Social Media

Recently, colleague Scott Williford of My Interview Link helped me to create a series of video clips that talks about our business services. Scott offers a great service for the job seeker and/or the business professional looking for a professional way to showcase what they offer. When I showed up that morning to film my segments, I was impressed with the professional set up. Brent filmed the segments and did a nice job making me look good:). Check out the 5 vignettes here. At the end of the shoot, Scott asked me to film a couple of blog clips talking about social media. Enjoy the clip posted here.


Great Social Sales Skills Are Required

Today, I’ve got my social sales evangelism hat on, because I sometimes forget that not everyone sees the value in using new technology to augment their sales process. Though by now it’s pretty obvious that social media is here to stay, there continues to be debate about whether or not the use of social media can actually have any impact on your sales. Many sales professionals still view the use of social media as either something that “the kids” are using, or they believe that the use of social media has no real role to play in the sales process. Unfortunately, these attitudes cause many folks to completely ignore the opportunity that social technologies offer them. That, in my opinion, is a shame.

Let’s do away with the first myth right now…that social media is just a kid’s thing.

As you might expect, this sentiment is most often expressed by the boomer generation who’ve not quite accepted that social goes way beyond their kid’s texting about the concert they attended last night. Yes, the younger set has grown up digital, so it’s more natural for them to use Facebook or Twitter to keep up with their social networks. But as evidenced by the skyrocketing growth of LinkedIn, more than 90 million business professionals are using LinkedIn as a viable medium for networking with potential buyers, referral partners and current customers. In fact, did you know that roughly 70% of those LinkedIn users are decision makers? In other words, these are the people who can buy your products and services. Now, it is true that far too many LinkedIn users aren’t using the technology as effectively as they could be, but that’s a subject for another post.

What about the mistaken belief that social media has no role to play in sales?

After hundreds of conversations with business owners and sales executives, I think one main reason many sales people resist using social technology is because they have unrealistic expectations about what social media can do for them. A LinkedIn profile today doesn’t mean an immediate sale tomorrow. Frankly, that’s just as unrealistic as thinking you’ll meet someone tonight at a networking event and by morning will have a deal. The value of social media is about increased exposure with a wider audience of people who can buy from you. I like to say that just because you have something to sell, it doesn’t mean that your prospect is ready to buy. If you aren’t visible in the social space, it’s not likely that your name will rise to the top of potential vendors when the time comes.


Your prospects have far more options than ever before. They also spend a fair amount of time gathering information online. It’s cool if you don’t feel the need to have presence in the social space, but your savvy competitors are no doubt there. Are you sure that’s a risk you are willing to take?