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By Richard Doyle | @Deverons1

“Richard, not everything is black and white!”

Those are the words from a great mentor of mine, Jim Wallace. At the time and over the years, they have served me well. He was the President at S. J. Johnson Canada and I was the Director of Sales. Our discussion was about a sales program we were initiating, and I was as usual defining the situation as it either was (or wasn’t).

Jim sat back, looked at me and stated those words.

He was right, everything in life is not black and white. THERE IS GRAY. Gray is described in the dictionary as: of a color intermediate between black and white.

OK Richard, so what is your point?

I see, hear and read so many opposing points of view about selling today. Everyone has a new panacea to ensure that they are the ones to help you grow your sales dramatically. Some are adamant that is it about cold calling, others emailing, others social selling, others about Pay Per Click. They do not see gray, they see black and white.

Well guess what people, it is a little bit of each of these things, but ultimately as it has always been, it starts with relationships. It starts with being social!

When was the last time you walked into a networking event and shouted; “Hi everyone, I have this great new product to sell?” I am sure never. Why, because everyone would run for the hills. You need to establish trust first. No one buys from someone or a company they do not trust. Therefore, we first build a relationship. That is how we have always sold.

Today our environment is fast paced and people do not take the time to answer cold calls, they reject emails that shout; I have this great new product to sell. Why because there is no relationship. If you can establish a relationship, then the phone call and email will be accepted, because you have built a relationship.

So how do we do that? Social selling!

Today buying decisions are 57% down the road before we even discover them. Companies are doing their homework researching vendors and people. Our job is to make them aware of who we are, and then establish a relationship that gets us out of the starting gate. Developing a social presence is the start of that process. Without it, you are left in the starting gate.

It is not about a great web site. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to establish yourself as an expert. Try some of these tactics:

  • Write articles, posts and tweets that demonstrate your expertise and knowledge in an area. Don’t sell, be informative.
  • Link your web site and those articles to each other.
  • Find contacts on LinkedIn that would benefit from your product or service and connect with them. Don’t sell them. Find something you have in common by reading their profile and comment on it through messaging.
  • Once you have a connection, if they are looking for someone they will reach out to you.

There is much more that you can do that I am not going to cover here, but let’s go back to the beginning of the article. There is cold calling involved, but through social. There is emailing involved, but through social. There is relationship building here, but through social.

So, you see, there really is gray

It is not all black and white and if you examine the process closely, everyone is right, it is just how you do it. We still need sales people to close the sale face to face once all of this hard work is completed, no one will lose their job, in fact they will be even more successful.

Yes, the world has changed, but the best sales people and companies adjust to ensure they remain relevant to their vendors and customers. It is 2017 and social selling is a way to do it.

Digital Leadership Associates: We are Global Social Media Management Consultancy. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email or call one of our founders on 00 44 7823 534 557 and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

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