“A Fool with a tool is still a Fool.”
So says the outspoken social selling evangelist, Jill Rowley. Jill was one of the first 100 employees at Salesforce.com and has pioneered social selling, challenging the modern sales pro to keep pace with the modern buyer.
I completely agree with her. A fool with a tool . . . is what I experience once, twice a week, maybe on LinkedIn.
You may be on the receiving end of this too: You get a request to connect, accept, and then BAM!
“Hey, nice to meet you. Let me know if you need my stuff.”
“Hi there, thanks for connecting. I’d like to talk to you about your Widget Supply needs. Can you respond with your email and phone number?”
It’s a complete fail at using this tool and yet, sales people and even business owners who attempt to advance business this way, don’t realize how off track this is.
I have never received a message like this immediately after connecting that I felt compelled to respond to (now, I HAVE received some great messages that compelled me to build relationships – this isn’t what I’m referring to here). In fact, after this message, this is the ONLY contact I’ve ever had with the “Hit and Run” LinkedIn prospectors. I don’t see them posting, commenting, sharing, or being visible on LinkedIn in any other capacity either. That’s it. One sad attempt to sell me? No follow up. No relationship. No context . . . SMH!
Here’s a crazy, but strong metaphor to drive my point home about being professionals and being negligent with the tools we use.
Let’s say you’re a brain surgeon and there is a new tool that gives you finer control to reach or repair parts of the brain and improve patients’ results and recovery. You’d probably invest in that tool and the training and practice to use that tool, right?
You wouldn’t just pick a random patient to start with, grab the tool for the first time, and start poking away with it, hoping you get it right and achieve the success the tool promises.
Nor would you give up after the patient doesn’t improve, shrug your shoulders and say, “Well, THAT didn’t work!”
So, for your business, if you had access to a set of tools to help you reach more customers – HOW and WHERE they want to be reached, build relationships faster, and improve your results, you should invest in those tools too, right!?!
ESPECIALLY if the cost of not using those instruments means your customers leave you behind and choose to do business with people who are meeting them where they are making buying decisions.
Of course! YES! You should invest!
So why are so many people failing to invest in training and expertise to learn the do’s, don’ts and “hell no’s” of LinkedIn and other social media?
My theory is that it’s hard to consider investing in resources that are free to set up and free to use. Time is your only investment to start with and maybe it’s the lack of time and persistence that some users fail to devote to using social media in effective and meaningful ways.
They go blindly poking away and end up turning off potential customers, throw their hands up and say “I told you it wouldn’t work.”
If this sounds like you, here’s why Social Media tools aren’t working for you:
- You don’t have a sales strategy. If you did, you’d carefully invest in knowing exactly who your customers are, where to find them, and how they’re making decisions. THAT guides your social media strategy – which is a part of your overall sales strategy. You don’t connect blindly, message randomly, and never follow up or nurture.
- You probably don’t have a documented sales process. The time you spend connecting, engaging, and building relationships on social media is how you execute your strategy through your sales process. This takes dedication, practice, patience, persistence, and consistency. A little dabble here, a little dabble there . . . doesn’t grow your audience or advance sales.
- You’re probably not investing in your professional development. Learning and an open state of mind is what’s required to try the ever increasing new resources to reach customers. As buying evolves, sellers must adapt and evolve as well. If you’re not learning how buying has changed, you’re not learning how to adapt as sellers either. Adapt, evolve, or be replaced.
- You give up. Reaching people has gotten harder. Most any product or industry has become more competitive. Sales cycles have increased. Successful selling takes more time, more planning, more touches, and more intelligence than it did just 5 or 10 years ago. Persistence in nurturing relationships and consistently showing up in your buyers’ circles takes dedication. Giving up quickly is for people who expect easy results and foolishly take the short term gains. No practice. No persistence. No payoff.
Please, please, PLEASE don’t be that “Fool with a tool”.
Learn how to use LinkedIn and other social media channels to consistently execute your sales strategy and build meaningful, successful relationships online that become meaningful and successful relationships offline.
Until next time, stop hoping, start SELLING!