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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

At a recent presentation in Melbourne, Australia we did with Graham Hawkins; Graham was asked did he know all his 19,000 connections on LinkedIn and had he met them?

Graham replied, he did not, but his connections knew him!.

This was an interesting answer which deserves and explanation.

Let’s go back to some of the sales fundamentals, there is pipeline we need today, there is pipeline we need tomorrow and there is pipeline we need next year.  We need a continue process of prospecting, so we always have pipe to work on to close to make our number.  I do hope you agree with this.

How do we do this in the world of social?  First thing is that social selling is NOT, writing content and then sitting back and hoping something will turn up.  I’m not sure which Guru is telling people this but it is utter rubbish.

So let’s dive into prospecting on social:-

  1. Pipeline For Today and Tomorrow – You can reach out to people on social and on the basis that you have a good LinkedIn profile and you have done your research, you should be seen as the answer to a person’s problems. No Different from if you had called up, but of course, with no gatekeepers, like you get with cold calling.  When I say you should be seen as the answer to a person’s problem, we have seen many instances when the person you contact actually asks you to a meeting.
  2. It’s worth noting that with cold calling you often get the comment “you should have called me two weeks ago we have already purchased”. On the basis that as a salesperson you are seeding the market with content.  While it would be wrong for me to set the expectation that you can elevate this, you should be able to reduce it?  How?  People will find your content and with your “I’m an expert and I can help you” LinkedIn profile you should start getting these deals as inbound, cutting your competition out.  As people are doing their research before they purchase, your content will get picked up.  This means you will win deals you are currently missing out on.
  3. The third area is what I call plate spinning. This is where you are making sure that the people who want to buy, in 3, or 6 or in 9 months come to you.  Usually people say that you should post “content”, this is true.  But it’s better to say that people need to be posting context, educating and providing insight.  Which is a subtle difference from “posting content”.  This is how you nurture people.  This is why Graham does not need to know all of his 19,000 contacts, but they know him.  And I’m sure that once a social selling project is kicked off in a company, those 19,000 contacts will ask Graham for help.  LinkedIn is the best (and “free”) platform for nurturing contacts.

This is how as a sales person you can prospect using social.

Now the great news is that sales people can do this all the time and it shouldn’t impact on their everyday work.  Which means that social selling is THE only “always on” prospecting method.  As we know with cold calling, you go through the “feast and famine” as people don’t call, when they are closing.  Where as with social, you can do the above, day by day with little or no impact on your time.  Why?  Because you are doing this to do demand generation, you do the same to accelerate pipeline through the funnel.  One action, two outcomes.  Which is neat and time saving.

Finally there is “intent data”.  No this is not some super system that a truck load of techies need to use to set it up.  We use the Dynamics365 Intent data system from Microsoft and we can show sales people in an hour how to find intent data in their territory.  This is not some marketing product, that nobody gets sight of, the Dynamics 365 system can be set up by sales person (so tuned for your territory, products, vertical market).  Yay then let that “chug away” in the back ground, while you do all the other things that sales people need to do.  By the way, the Intent data system, is already part of the software you are using and paying for, you probably don’t know it.

This leads onto the question, do you accept all of the LinkedIn requests I get.  The answer to that is no.  I try to, but where I think I will get a “sales pitch” I certainly don’t.

People who read this also read these:

LinkedIn – The Cheapest and Best Lead Nurturing Platform

How to Roll Social Selling Across an Organisation – How to make it Stick!

10 Straightforward Pointers for Great Content!

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