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Why habit change is the thing you need to unlock within your organisation.

Why habit change is the thing you need to unlock within your organisation.

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

As Winston Churchill once said “I’m sorry I wrote you a long letter but I didn’t have time to write a short one” so I apologise about the fact that this is a 1000 word article rather than a 400 word one.

I have been in business for 30 years and during that time I have been on many training courses and seminars (and more recently webinars) and one thing that characterises most of them is that they didn’t make me noticeably better at what I did. They did for some people (not many, but some) but for me and most of the other people they simply didn’t work.

It could be that these programmes didn’t resonate with me at that time, or it could be that they didn’t engage with the type or learning that I needed. Or it could be that that they simply weren’t very good. Whatever the reason was, what they didn’t do was turn me from who I was in to a superhero. In fact I never saw them create a significant change in anyone, I hear anecdotally that they sometimes did, but I never saw it for myself.

The problem is that most of the training sessions I have ever been party to, certainly in a work context, are predicated on the idea that if the teacher delivers some knowledge that the student doesn’t already possess…the student will use this knowledge.

My experience is that they won’t.

I think that there are a number of reasons for this. Key is because when we’re sitting in a training session everything seems so simple and straightforward and makes perfect sense. Then when we get back to our desk we’re not quite sure what the person demonstrating did and it seems to be much more complicated than we expected it to be and we’re not quite sure that it’s as applicable to our business as it seemed when the expert was standing in front of us.

In addition to this issue of empowerment there is the issue of habit, Getting people to do something different today is (relatively) easy, getting them to do something different EVERY day is extremely difficult…and it isn’t achieved through those knowledge-transfer sessions whether by webinar or face to face. It is only achieved through a much more personalised and intimate delivery method and therefore a more expensive one.

Sadly though, organisations often don’t see the difference between cost and value because the cost of making a change is what’s viewed rather than the benefits that it might bring.

Effective training is expensive because it isn’t putting 100 people in a room and transmitting for a day, rather it is about taking each of them on a journey to learn the things that they as an individual need to learn. Nowhere is this more obvious than in social selling and nowhere in social selling more than in LinkedIn.

This requires work to get started (writing their profile) and ongoing work (being visible and writing things) and this simply won’t happen via webinar. Webinars are what people do whilst eating a sandwich at lunch time and even if they do learn some facts and techniques the work required to implement will seldom be done.

The way to successfully deliver this is with time. Time with face to face teaching. Time with telephone mentoring. Time for the student to think…and do what’s required. Moreover there must be an expectation that people will actually do what’s required.

For us at Digital Leadership Associates we don’t “pass” people for attending one of our courses, we pass them for doing the work required to be successful at social selling and that is about changing long-established (and often outmoded) habits for more modern, efficient and effective ones.

So what have I learned from this method.

I have learned that we get a very high success rate. I have learned that attendees often say “this has totally changed my thinking on sales” or “this is so simple and obvious why hadn’t I thought of this before” or they say “I have just smashed my number.” I have also learned that people who travel through the Digital Leadership Associates social selling programme usually have better things to do with their time than sit in a two day seminar or a webinar which changes nothing and I certainly have better things to do with my time than deliver a two day seminar or webinar that changes nothing.

So why should you invest money and time in this type of training to encourage your sales force to adopt social selling?

Because, as I’m sure you know, CEB (now part of Gartner) identified that the “average” buyer is 57% of the way through the buying journey before the seller is even aware of their existence. They point-out that during this 57% of the buying journey they are going online end self-educating from various (largely social) resources – YouTube, forums, groups, social sites and they are gathering all of the information they need to make a decision (or at least make a shortlist) and they very well might miss you if you’re not there. CEB also pointed out that the “average” buying team for a complex (large) purchase is now 6.8 stakeholders. That’s 6.8 people who might each be going online and doing their own research and forming their own conclusions. The worrying thing is that in this scenario, with 6+ people involved in the decision making process there’s only a 31% chance that anything will actually be purchased…which means that not only are you fighting with your usually competitors for the business the biggest competitor is inaction.

As you know, we at Digital Leadership Associates firmly believe (and can prove) that social selling is the solution to this buyer disfunction and that to be effective in an increasingly competitive world you need to be using these techniques. But to think that empowering a person, or a team, or a complete salesforce to be skilled at social selling is the job of a 2 hour webinar, a one day seminar or even a LinkedIn training course is bordering on delusional.

The reason I say this is because if it was easy EVERYONE would be doing it, and clearly they’re not. If it was possible to change people by simply telling them facts, then every training course would successfully train people, and they don’t. And if it was possible to change habits and behaviours on an ongoing basis with a simple one-day course then there would be no need for personal trainers, dieticians, or addiction clinics. You would simply tell people and they would change.

People who read this article also read these:

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Social selling led to a change in my vocabulary and tone of voice.

We empower YOU to be great.

Blowing your own trumpet?

Blowing your own trumpet?

by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

It’s not big and it’s not clever but social media is awash with self-proclaimed experts. Yes, I’ve covered this before but there’s so much blowing of one’s own trumpets by so many, I have an idea – all get together and see if you can join the LSU Tigers Marching Band as they love a bit of trumpet blowing. Check them out here.

LinkedIn and Twitter aren’t the place to harp on about how great you are, would you do that every time you were talking to family and friends? Telling everyone how you are the world’s best sales trainer that was born at 1103am on a Tuesday. How you were voted the number 1 social nobody, or the world’s best bore.

Having a huge number of twitter followers means zip because if it meant something they would all be buying into your preaching, paying for your overpriced training or your book that actually tells them nothing new. Which means you wouldn’t have to fill every available piece of social profile real estate with banners proclaiming your greatness – you actually wouldn’t need to.

Like most people I prefer a LinkedIn profile that has a head shot and a hero image that isn’t branded or has a rah-rah ‘I love me’ banner (see a previous article).

If you’re an influencer and you are great at what you do then your reputation will precede you in a positive way. Splashing your alleged greatness across our screens can have the opposite effect.

Sir Richard Branson doesn’t bang on about how he is an English business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist. Or how he founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies.

Ok, we may not be in his league but think about this – success means you don’t have to talk about yourself all the time. Conversely, talk about yourself all the time and it says ‘actually, this person most probably isn’t the best’. If we are interested in you, we would use Google to find out what the world thinks of you – not what you think of yourself.

You want your google search to show what others say about you, or interesting content you have written. Not ‘stuff’ written and posted by you on your own website and profile pages that’s just a lot of trumpet blowing. Keep that for when you’re on your own.

People who read this article also read these:

Account Based Marketing (ABM) in a Smarketing Environment

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The saturation of social media marketplace and a question for you to answer

The saturation of social media marketplace and a question for you to answer

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

This week our good friend Simon Kemp came out with his “state of the nation” report – 2018 Q4 Global Digital Statshot which for us is a fantastic tool to see how the macro shifts in behaviour influence what we and our clients do at a more micro level. (you can see the report here)

One of the things that I notice straight off the bat is that the indications are that social media has reached saturation level. Facebook and Google identified that this was starting to happen 3 years ago that there was a ceiling of the number of social media users and that the only meaningful chance they have of increasing their reach is to increase the number of people with internet access. This makes the growth of social channels both slower (which we are seeing) and far more costly as it becomes an infrastructure project.

So, in the last quarter the percentage of internet users who are active on social media has actually decreased slightly, but the number of social media users has [again] increased.

However, as common sense tells you, as the percentage of people on social media increases there are fewer and fewer people left to convert to social media users and therefore growth is bound to slow.

So, as of this month there are 4,176,000,000 internet users and of those 3,397,000,000 are ACTIVE social media users. That means just over 81.3% of people with an internet connection are active on social media. Now consider this. People over 75 generally aren’t active on social channels, and children under the age of 8 aren’t either so that means that those portions of society (all of whom have internet connections) are counted in the 18.7% that aren’t active on social.

So this means that pretty much everyone (certainly everyone we want to talk to from a business perspective) is there now.

Another interesting fact is this (millions):

  • Facebook 2,234
  • YouTube 1,900
  • China 1,415
  • India 1,354
  • Instagram 1,000
  • QZone 548
  • Douyin 500
  • Sina Weibo 431
  • Twitter 335
  • US 326

Of the top 10 most populous places on earth only 3 of them are now countries, the rest are social media networks (if we chose to include messenger apps in this list then there would only be 2 – China and India – ranking 4 & 5).

So where once you might say that “my customers aren’t on social media” or perhaps “my customers’ aren’t influenced by social media” this isn’t true. Now, EVERYONE is on social media and we are all influenced by it..

Given that all of the evidence seems to suggest this position, I would pose the following question to YOU.

As adoption of social media continues to increase, as dwell time on social networks keeps rising, as the influence that these networks has on people both micro (clothing purchasing) and macro (democratically electing leaders/referendums) continues to rise… Why would you make social media and how you and your company are perceived and act on an adjunct to your company, sales and communications strategies rather than central to them?

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The blame culture is ready made for CEOs that lead their businesses into extinction.

The blame culture is ready made for CEOs that lead their businesses into extinction.

by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

We live in a society that has adopted a blame culture.  Nothing is ever our fault and in 2013 during the press conference to announce the mobile phone branch of NOKIA was to be sold to Microsoft, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop ended his speech saying “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”. Forgive me, but if you didn’t do anything wrong………

We live in a society where anyone having a different opinion and sharing it on social media can be shot down by a posse of trolls. Constructive criticism or questioning can also be met by a hostile response. I recently sent a message to a ‘star’ (using the term very loosely) of a fly on the wall documentary series on Discovery.com, questioning something about them, I received a response that mentioned the f-word three times and called me a ‘no job c**k jockey’ – that’s a new one to me!

It got me thinking. The way people react to others that aren’t their clone, forces many people in business to sit tight and keep quiet, even if they believe in their thoughts and ideas. Many employees feel too afraid to speak up and many senior managers are too scared to air their views in case their narcissistic CEO shoots them down.

Many of us will know someone that is always open to suggestion and ideas, happy to talk them through but will then go with their own. As if taking on board an idea that wasn’t theirs is a sign of weakness. I say a sign of weakness is not ‘properly’ listening to others.

Regardless of what you may read online from the band of cold calling diehards – the way we sell has changed. The power has shifted to the buyer and social media is their favourite and most valued tool. That’s why programmatic social selling is so important, not just for sales and marketing, but for the whole organisation.

At Digital Leadership Associates we work with big, ok I’m being modest – huge global names! We also work with national businesses that want to remain at the top of their game. They realise that without adopting social selling deals will be harder to come by. The pipeline will become harder to fill and selling will resort to the dreaded ‘hope and luck’ strategy.

I also come across many businesses that are far too busy plugging away with their out of date sales and marketing plans that were born in the 90’s. Businesses with CEOs that still, yes still, think social media is a fad that will disappear. Maybe it will disappear like Kodak and MySpace did – remember them? Maybe it will disappear like the 52% of companies in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt, been acquired or ceased to exist since 2000? Or maybe it’s the CEO and C-suite members that will disappear?

Yes, you can scour the internet and find others that are singing the praises of 1991 style selling and be wowed by the stories of the huge deal closed from a telephone cold call. Or you could read about businesses that have a sales pipeline like never before, businesses that are closing 20-30% of additional brand-new revenue. Or the businesses that are getting more inbound than ever – and spending less on outbound marketing.

However, you may want to rebuff anything that you don’t understand.

People who read this article also read these:

Why a programmatic approach to social selling?

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You don’t have to look too far to see through the bulls**t

You don’t have to look too far to see through the bulls**t

by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

Often in life we read, see or hear something which may result in us becoming quizzical, inquisitive and keen to know the facts behind the story or statement. Here’s how my Saturday morning got my grey matter working.

I had just finished a Pilates class at my gym and gone into the sauna; as I sat there two gentlemen came in and sat down. Now anyone that’s been in a sauna will know t’s hard not to listen to a conversation as you endure the heat – there is nowhere to hide and humming wouldn’t be de rigueur. I shall refer to them as YM – younger man and OM – older man and for the sake of the blog I have edited the conversation

OM “I used to do that every time it was on”.

YM “That must’ve been expensive”

OM “No, we used to watch the planes from our garden”.

YM “Oh”.

YM “I’m going to join the RAF reserves so I can get a pilot’s license as it’s so expensive to get one privately”.

OM “What do you want to fly?”.

YM “Helicopters probably to start”

OM “I should’ve been a pilot but I’m too old”. “Have you ever jumped out of one or done a bungee jump?”

YM “No”

OM “I’ve been in a Chinook……and jumped out of one blah, blah, blah”.

YM “Wow, that must have been amazing”.

OM “I was strapped to my Dad”

YM looks disappointed that it wasn’t a solo parachute jump.

Later on….

YM “I was skiing with some friends earlier in the year, one of them has a place in the Alps”.

OM “I love skiing, my boss and I talk about it all the time”.

YM “Where do you ski?”

OM “I don’t, I have two kids so it would be too expensive”.

YM “Oh”.

And so, the conversation went on, every time the young man mentioned anything, the older man had done it, bigger, better and bolder. Although he hadn’t, he was embellishing the truth, he was a bit of a Charlie Big Potato or Billy Bulls**t.

In some of the exchanges I have on social media I come across many untruths, bold claims and statements. I’m naturally inquisitive so I tend to ask a few questions which are normally met with a…………blank, nothing, zero response.

I came across a self-proclaimed ‘King of Sales’ so I mentioned I should be the ‘Emperor’. “Why is that?” I was asked, my answer was simple “Because I have a profile that has a history in sales”. The person in question had a small splattering of the odd sales position but nothing to make them King.

It’s the same when people poo-poo social selling; they totally miss the point, make some random claim, usually backed up with “cold calling is the best way to prospect” and then go ‘cold’ themselves when I dig for detail about their social selling experiences. One said ‘….nothing more eerie than a silent sales floor, where everyone is busily “Social selling”. Trust me decision makers aren’t on LinkedIn; they’re too busy. Pick up the phone ….’ I asked where he had experienced this and when I get the reply, I’ll let you know.

There we are – plenty of people out there ready to big themselves up and knock anything new that they don’t understand.

Social Selling – it really is much better than cold calling and with 575m+ on LinkedIn alone, I’m sure the odd buyer and their contacts use social media. Seek and ye shall.

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Why Traditional Sales is so Much Better than Social Selling!

Why Traditional Sales is so Much Better than Social Selling!

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

I seem to keep seeing articles (on LinkedIn primarily) about why traditional telephone sales and meetings are better than social selling…and whilst usually I don’t rise to such bickering I felt compelled to write something this time.

For those of you who are exponents (and advocates) of traditional selling techniques you are missing the point!

Digital Leadership Associates is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, social selling consultancy. And even we have never said that social selling was better than traditional selling. We never said that a brilliant social selling programme will replace the telephone or the meeting. In fact, we never said that “social selling” was even selling. So, I kind of fail to see what all the arguments are about.

Re-tune to reality

The best way of closing a sale is if you can get a face-to-face meeting. The best way of creating that opportunity is if you can get a telephone call with the buyer. But for those of you banging the drum about traditional sales techniques you need to re-tune to “Reality FM”! The important word in those two statements is “IF”.

The problem in the modern business world is that people, yourself included, are too busy to return a call or answer sales emails…and they are certainly too busy to have a meeting with you unless you have already demonstrated that you are there to help them solve their problems. You may be the most helpful and client focused salesperson in your entire industry, but the client will only know that after they have had the meeting with you…and that is the big challenge facing sale teams today.

Creating opportunity

For even the most skilled of sales people it cannot have passed them by that they have to make more calls to speak to one person today than they did last year or five years ago. The same is true of meetings. You have to request more meetings than you used to, to actually have a meeting.

I think to a certain extent traditional salespeople feel threatened by “social selling” because somehow, they feel that they will be usurped by these new techniques and their skills will no longer be needed.

Rubbish. A skilled salesperson will convert more opportunities than an unskilled one. Always. And a skilled salesperson has a rare and very valuable talent. Social selling simply increases the efficiency of how the opportunities (telephone or face to face) can be created, the opportunities where those skills and talents can be brought to bear.

Social selling rarely generates an order in itself. But what social selling (if practiced properly) always does is to generate more leads for the salesperson. More calls…more meetings…more sales.

Take the social selling advantage

So, given that salespeople are good at handling rejection, good at interpersonal skills, good at listening and good at thinking on their feet…how come so many of them are resistant to employing a technique which will give them a massive advantage over their peers?

Come on guys, you know it’s true. You know that a way of creating more opportunities and meetings with the same (or less) effort than it currently takes is a good thing. That if you had more opportunities you would smash your number. That marketing people (like me) are not tough enough for a sales job. So, go ahead, get in touch and find out more about how social selling can get you more leads, more meetings and more sales.

Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.