I’ve read a number of articles as of late that have been coming out against social sales. Adjectives like … buzzword, overused, cliché, and broken promises. Opinions stating that it really is marketing and not sales (the lines have blurred) and that the hype far exceeds the results. These statements are coming from sales professionals. Smart salespeople whose opinions I both like and respect.
All of this is true. Much of this backlash is based on the hype of what social selling will do while there has been very little talk about what it won’t do. Of course, we also have to address what people think it will do. Poor information leads to unrealistic expectations leads to an overall dissatisfaction with the results.
Today, most will find themselves in one of three camps regarding their attitude toward social selling …
- Traditionalists who refuse to consider that there may be something here.
- Dreamers who think that selling socially is roughly equivalent to the second coming.
- Realists who recognize that social sales are a way to augment and improve on many of their traditional efforts without actually replacing those.
What’s new? Not much.
Social Sales, and at least two monikers that preceded it …Relationship Sales and Consultative Sales, all have something in common. Sales have ALWAYS been social, relationship, and consultative in nature. Well, at least it should be. The adversarial model (only one person wins) went out the door with “Death of a Salesman”, “Tin Men”, and “Mad Men”.
Still, snake-oil social sales pros will give people the impression that “You don’t have to know how to sell. You just need to learn how to ‘social sell’”. Sit back and count the orders as they tweet in. This, of course, is pure b.s. The process may have evolved; buyer behaviors may have changed but … you still need to know how to sell!
In a sense, this goes back to what was maybe the first rule that I learned about social media …
“Social media will not make you something that you are not. It only magnifies and amplifies that which you already are.”