We are quickly approaching the point of saturation from all of the social media experts espousing the “death of cold calling thanks to social selling.” I would venture to say that every sales professionals and sales leader on the planet realizes that cold calling is dead and has been replaced by social selling. Unfortunately, too many sales professionals and leaders believe that social selling is a magic pill that instantly replaces cold calling with less effort and more results.
It does not.
A cold social selling call is just as bad as an unprepared cold call and in fact is helping to ruin social selling for the innovative and hard-working social sellers who are doing it the right way.
Defining a Cold Social Contact
A cold social contact is an intrusion into a prospects world that comes out of left field. No introduction. No purpose or reason. No relationship. No rapport. No qualification. No value. Just an ice cold and lazy intrusion.
Why would anyone with a budget and need ever want to speak with a person sending out a cold social contact? It really makes no sense yet every day prospects are inundated with cold contacts.
The biggest offending methods of cold social contacts include:
Blast emails – This is sending arbitrary and cold emails to a database or contact most likely pushing a product or service with no value proposition. A prospect’s inbox is filled with hundreds of other cold emails probably like yours and they are all sitting right next to the other junk mails about the latest miracle hair restoration cure and the magic belly-fat elimination pill.
Cold LinkedIn Invite – To me this is absolutely the worst. Someone has taken the time to troll LinkedIn and identified potential target prospects and then blindly sends cold invitation to connect. Most of the time these invites have no personal connection or purpose for the invite. It’s just plain lazy. And to add to the insult, if for some reason the target accepts the invitation, within seconds they are relentlessly bombarded with a sales pitch. This is not the purpose of LinkedIn.
Over-Twittering – Another abuse of the social selling platforms is over-twittering. This is when someone sends the same or similar sales tweet every 3 seconds. Besides being just plain annoying, it destroys brand value and any potential of credibility.
What Does Work
Social selling and the tools of social selling like PeopleLinx should all be part of an aligned and coordinated strategy to create awareness of the value proposition you are selling and have it intersect with the needs and timing of the potential customer. If done well, good social selling should culminate in one thing: setting up a positive and warm phone call or face-to-face meeting. Here a suggestions about what works…
Provide at least one grain of value that the customer wants (not what you want to push)
If you start the process by understanding that prospects are using the internet to find information to solve a need, then your social selling strategy should be to provide information for customers looking to solve a need.
For example, if you are selling a new and innovative product that enables your customer who is a manufacturer to make a more innovative end-product for their customers, then leverage social selling to present your value dashboard. In our Business Acumen for Sales Professionals learning engagement, we define the value dashboard as the combination of elements like price, quality, supply security, and sustainability that the customer is looking for.
Unique Thought Leadership
While re-publishing someone else’s content is acceptable if there is some value to it, your own unique thought leadership adds even more value to a prospect. Again, this thought leadership should be in the form of information and a value dashboard that provides a prospective
Make it Personal
There is so much great information available that you can use (but don’t abuse) to make social selling personal. Information of schools, jobs, interests, and common contacts are a great sources of information that went properly and appropriately used can make the approach personal and there is no greater value position than a personalized, thoughtful warm connection.