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by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

When Tim and I founded Digital Leadership Associates ( www.social-experts.net ) we were keen to do things differently. There are a lot of LinkedIn profile writers out there. A lot of LinkedIn trainers. A lot of personal branding experts. But they all share one characteristic that Tim and I didn’t want…what they do doesn’t usually work.

If you stand back from the whole social selling arena and really think about it success is not based on what you know, it’s based on what you actually do.

Most of the Linkedin training sessions that I have sat in are predicated on the idea (as is so much training) that the object is to transfer as many facts as possible in a short period of time. The interesting thing is that most of the facts being broadcasted by the trainers are fact that are already known by the audience. Inevitably you leave a one or two day session thinking “that was interesting and now it’s back to work…”

For us social selling is not a journey to to learn more facts and techniques but to learn better behaviours. Yes, of course we teach you what to click to upload things and how to write things but much of the information you already know because its obvious (an because it’s in the public domain).

  • Do you need a compelling profile? Yes
  • Do you need to fill out all your work history? Yes
  • Should you add all your academic and professional accreditations? Yes
  • Should you connect to people to make your network bigger? Yes
  • Should you post regularly (every day perhaps) to increase your visibility? Yes

Yadda yadda yadda…this is not rocket science people already know this stuff. But what they don’t do…is do it.

Often during our sessions with clients we get everyone to stand up ad say “sit down if you’ve been on LinkedIn for less then one year…two years…five years…TEN years…” by the end of this, most people are still standing. Most people have been on LinkedIn for a decade (or more).

So for a decade they have been on Linkedin and they ALREADY KNOW what you need to do…but they’ve not done it yet.

Let me replay this. For ten years they have known what to do on a platform which showcases them and their personal brand to 560,000,000 million people and they “haven’t had the time” to finish their profile?

Convincing them of the importance of this is not the issue…getting them to do something different is the issue.

That’s why we have taken a programmatic approach. We have a 12 week programme that takes them on a journey which shows the importance of why they need to be social selling, but it also builds good habits and most importantly empowers them to reach out to the world. It changes how they behave.

Now, I acknowledge that not everyone can make this journey. For every group of 10 people we work with we usually find that 2 of them are already pretty good and just need focusing and pointing in the right direction. 6 of them we can make better and more effective – some a little and some a lot – but all of them we can improve. And 2 people either can’t change…or more likely don’t want to change, the “I’ve been selling for 25 years and you can’t teach me anything” mentality.

But this is a programme, this is a machine we have created. We put people in one and and social sellers come out of the other end. That is what we’re selling to our clients the fact that we can change the behaviours of a large portion of people who move through the programme to make them more effective at generating leads and meetings and more respected and believed when in those meetings.

Is this a panacea? Well, we think it is because every client we talk to says something like this:

We have a good team of salespeople, They are good at closing business and good at building relationships they just need more client meetings.

We have yet to see a more effective way of generating this meeting than through social selling and we have yet to see a more effective way of creating social sellers than a programmatic social selling approach.

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