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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

That was a question, my co-founder Adam Gray asked 17 attendees at a training session on Social Selling their company had commission us to provide.

It was an hour through the training. How many people do you think put their hands?

Nobody of course.

But what exactly does “Road to Damascus mean?

Looking it up on Quora, the definition is:-

Road to Damascus refers to a sudden turning point in one’s life.

It goes on …

It’s in reference to the conversion to Christianity of the apostle Paul while literally on the road to Damascus from Jerusalem. Prior to that moment, he had been called Saul, and was a Pharisee who persecuted followers of Jesus.

So while he wasn’t being religious, he was enquiring about if the training had changed them.

No here’s a thing. Most Social Selling training does not work. I’ve lost count of the number of accounts we have been asked to talk to and the comment was; “yeah we tried social selling and it didn’t work”.

So if you are looking for social selling training this is what you need to look out for:-

  1. The Webinar – Social Selling requires a change in behaviour, webinars are great at delivering facts but they don’t deliver change.
  2. The pile of power points. We see so many times that the quality of training is measured by the number of Power points. The training is all about the trainer telling the students how clever they are rather than empowering the audience. Don’t forget to ask any trainer about how much of the work is interactive? How many team exercises there are? The problem with this is that we only ever remember one thing.  So after the training we go back to our desks and nothing changes.
  3. The “Hints and Tips” session – Similar to the above.  Here a “Guru” stands at the front, clicks through their slides telling you how great they are and you never remember anything.  It changes nothing.

All three types of training won’t move the needle and change nothing (and while I wouldn’t say they are a waste of money, they are not going to give you seismic incremental revenue change you should expect) and here’s why.

They deliver facts and may deliver a framework, where everybody nods and say they get it. But people go back to their desks and do nothing. We had a student at one training session and they said “I really don’t need to be on this course as I’ve been on two social selling courses already”. And Adam my co- founder said, “that’s interesting as you haven’t implemented a thing”. It was true …. “they didn’t have time” was the excuse.

But as the saying goes “you cannot get a little bit pregnant.

The second issue, is that you have a “bell curve” of skills. Some people will just pick this up, some will always need extra coaching and others will never get it. 

The training program has to include mentoring otherwise you will only get 20% of the people. The Ninjas will lap it up, but what about the other 80%, they will just get disfranchised and probably dysfunctional. This sort of training has a negative impact to the culture, rather than the opposite.

We know of clients that trained 50 people and got a $2 Million revenue uplift, they then trained another 150 people and got zero uplift. People think that there is a linear connection between training and business benefit and human behaviour does not work like that. 

To go back to our “road to Damascus theme”.

At the end of the training course, (the one where an hour in nobody had a Road to Damascus feeling), Adam asked the 17 attendees who had a “Road to Damascus” moment and all 17 people put up their hands.  Bingo!

Social selling can be transformative for companies and people, empowering people to do great things as well as proving incremental revenue uplift.

You can waste a lot of (we see it often) time and money, just make sure you know what you understand what sort of journey you want to take your team / employees on.

Why Advertising Has Failed Us

Using Social as a New Business Sales Person

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene and what we can learn about social selling.


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