This is not the first time that I have touched on this subject but, it’s certainly not getting any quieter out there. There’s an old saying that “you are either a part of the problem or you are a part of the solution.” This still holds true. In today’s social media chatter … “are you part of the noise or are you providing a valued message?”.
Thanks to these distractions … I can’t hear you, see you, or find you. Furthermore, you can’t (or won’t) see me, find me, or hear me either. Break out the earmuffs. Barring a massive solar storm or an electromagnetic pulse attack, it’s only going to get louder and it’s a salesperson’s worst nightmare.
I self-identify as a salesperson but, I am also viewed by other salespeople as a part of their personal diets and, every day, I am assaulted by an endless stream of noise. While some of it is mildly annoying, sonic booms can be downright infuriating.
This static is clogging my message channels and when I am irritated, am I more or less inclined to buy from you? Sure, some of it I signed up for but, I never expected to be rewarded … daily. As for the stuff that I never requested … you have already been demoted to persona non grata.
- Mass emailing – Allow me to first say this … I am no email expert which is why I no longer generate a monthly newsletter. However, while most that I receive rarely attempt to ensure that their messages are relevant, even their stabs at personalization fall woefully short.
- Over sharing – I’m guessing that if you share, re-tweet, and like anything enough, some of it is bound to stick. The question is … to what? Would not your returns perhaps be higher if you instead elevated these actions to meaningful conversations?
- Automated … anything – I’m sorry but, I am just not a big fan of automated direct messages or automated … any of it. The simple fact is that I have yet to see an automated message that does not … look to be an automated message.
Certainly, this technology is improving, however, it’s just not there yet. While this might work with internet marketing, it is poison in B2B direct sales particularly for higher ticket and/or more complex offerings where … relationships must be formed.
Undoubtedly, there are many who will disagree with my assertions and that’s okay. I would very much welcome hearing dissenting opinions. My contentions are based solely on my personal observation and experience. Consider that creating all of this noise may have negative effects …
- Emails are not being read – Rather they are being deleted (likely automatically). If you don’t have a catchy subject line, you’ll never even make it out of inbox preview. I know influencers whose mailboxes regularly hold in excess of 1,000 unopened emails. Will they open yours?
- Content is being ignored – It’s not even that the content isn’t good. It’s that there is just too much of it and most of it is not relevant to the recipient. Therefore, it becomes simpler to “delete all”. You choose how and what content you deliver so be creative, and focused, in this endeavor.
- Article comments are at noticeable lows – This includes discussions and conversations which have instead been replaced by the ease of social sharing. Encourage enhanced interactions with enticing calls-to-action.
- Relationship tanks remain on empty – We have fallen into that trap where we confuse activity with productivity. Selling has always been, continues to be, based on our successful ability to find, create, and nurture relationships.
There are 100’s of social selling apps out there to help us to cut through the clutter. However, finding, evaluating, learning, and using these creates … that’s right … more noise which leaves us unable to act on them. We scurry around like rats on a sinking ship looking for some flotsam to grab onto. Finding none, we drown.
Selling has not changed. Sure, we have some new tools but, if anything has changed, it’s buyers and not sellers. Consider the fact that buyers are busier than ever and more informed than ever. They shop autonomously from the comfort of their computers and/or mobile devices.
They have come to the realization that … whereas before salespeople were once needed for them to be able learn about products and services, this necessary evil (us) is no longer required, Instead, they seek recommendations from those who they like, trust, and who do not display a product bias. Hello, and goodbye, salespeople.
I would humbly suggest that we need to get back to selling basics …
- Identify what activities and strategies yield the maximum results – If your tactics do not deliver a return, or might be classified as feel-good busy-work … dump them.
- Turn off your shiny bauble syndrome and get to work – I used to suffer from paralysis by analysis . Limit your tools. In my experience, having too many tools often results in a duplication of efforts as many have features that overlap. Having ten tabs open at any given time is, to me, ludicrous.
Next, put your plan (you have a plan, don’t you?) into action …
- Develop relationships through progressive personalized engagements – Social selling provides us with multiple avenues for progressive engagement. One highly effective tactic is to find and engage on Twitter prior to moving to LinkedIn, to email, and then on to real-life via phone, Skype, or toe-to-toe.
- Be remarkable, unique, memorable, and interesting – This is the only way that you are going to be able to stand above the fray and secure the attention of your target market.
- Attract and educate vs. interrupt and pitch – Educate your customers with quality relevant content including unbiased third-party sources as well as your own. Potential clients are looking for your services and you are attracting them 24/7/365 while on auto-pilot (not to be confused with automated).
The great news is that, for those who take the time to stress quality over quantity, they will separate themselves from the crowd. This is not unlike the elusive, but highly prized, LinkedIn personalized invitation to connect (pet peeve).
Note – A big thank you to Virpi Oinonen who has created the custom cartoons that accompany this article! You can connect with Virpi at BusinessIllustrator.com where you can also view her awesome work!