Have You Been Social Selling All Along? by Susan Marshall

Chances are, you’ve read a blog post, joined a webinar or attended a conference that celebrated the “social selling” revolution. Supporters of the social selling movement claimed that LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites would bring an end to the stereotype of pushy, disconnected, quota-hungry salespeople and give rise to a new breed of relationship-first sellers who use social media to seek connections instead of transactions; who share valuable resources instead of pushing products; who listen instead of talk.

Yet despite the promise of social selling, just one in four salespeople know how to use social media to sell, and a mere 31 percent of reps report using social media at all in their sales process.

The meager adoption of social selling, however, isn’t because it doesn’t work. In fact, 73 percent of social salespeople strongly outperform their traditional selling peers. The problem is that the concept of social selling is woefully misunderstood.

Many salespeople tend to think of social selling as an entirely new discipline: “I know how to sell in the real world, but now I need to learn how to sell on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.” But the simple truth is that social selling isn’t new. The same traits that determine if you’re a good salesperson offline—being honest, helpful, and informative—are what make salespeople successful in the social sphere. Social media are tools. Being a good salesperson is a mindset13. (highlight to tweet)

So, although you may have at first been intimidated by the concept of social selling, understanding the similarities between selling online and traditional selling will help put you at ease. You’ve been social selling all along, and you didn’t even know it.

LinkedIn: Like Trade Shows Without the Travel

Trade shows are a massive investment in time and money. The average attendee travels more than 400 miles to each show and spends more than eight hours meandering through a maze of exhibits in search of leads. The grueling days and hefty travel expenses are worth it, though, if each trade show visit results in new relationships forged on the exhibit hall floor.

It’s that same ability to build meaningful, long-lasting relationships that makes LinkedIn so valuable to salespeople.

Contrary to popular belief, LinkedIn is more than a job-hunting destination—it’s an incredibly deep research and prospecting tool that can be used to unearth new prospects and identify key points of entry into the businesses you’re targeting.

Consider how you select which trade shows to attend before buying a badge. You visit the trade show website, do some research on who’s slated to speak and which companies are signed on to exhibit, and then make a judgement call on if you think it’ll draw the type of prospects you’re looking for.

Finding and connecting with prospects on LinkedIn is even easier. Featuring a variety of search options and detailed profiles, LinkedIn enables you to quickly find the people you want to connect wit2h and makes it easy to ask existing connections to introduce you to their connections to broaden your network.

Following through on our analogy, if you think of LinkedIn as a trade show, thenLinkedIn Groups are the swanky, invite-only after parties. And, just like at real parties, nobody likes a pushy salesman crashing a LinkedIn Group. Groups aren’t a place to hawk your products and services. Rather, they’re a place where you can answer questions, share relevant and informative resources, and engage in conversations. By joining in on these real—albeit digital—conversations, you’ll earn a reputation as an expert whose products or services are worth paying attention to.

Twitter: A Warmer Alternative to Cold Calls

Think those cold calls are working? Think again. According to sales research groupHuthwaite, 91 percent of people never respond to cold calls and, even worse, 71 percent find them annoying2. Even salespeople hate cold calling: 63 percent of reps say it’s what they hate most about their jobs.

Even if cold calling is a necessary evil to filling your funnel, wouldn’t it be nice to know just a little bit about a prospect before reaching out to them? Well, think of Twitter as a tool for making cold calls warmer.

The best thing about Twitter is that you don’t need to tweet a single thing to start seeing its value—all you need to do is start “listening.” Twitter is the perfect tool for conducting some basic pre-sales research, because you can search for specific keywords and phrases to identify prospects. Plugging in a competitor’s name might turn up a Twitter rant from an unhappy customer looking to make a switch. Or, you might find that a prospect is narrowing down their shortlist and looking for suggestions from the Twittersphere. You may even stumble upon some of your own customers requesting (or, in more severe cases, demanding) help.

Twitter enables you to find and engage with prospects at every stage of the sales cycle, and can even help you intervene should a current customer be having a hard time. And, should you be so inclined to share some tweets of your own, you’ll find that the Twitter audience is eager for advice: 73 percent of people trust the information they receive from Twitter.

Now, isn’t that better than taking a shot in the dark on a cold call?

Facebook: A Friendlier Way to Nurture Leads

Potential buyers don’t become customers overnight. In fact, according to MarketingSherpa, 79 percent of marketing leads never convert into sales due to lack of lead nurturing. Conversely, leads that are effectively nurtured make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads, according to The Annuitas Group.

Relationships are critical in today’s sales cycles, and the only way to build those relationships is by communicating with buyers throughout every stage. Phone calls and email have been the two biggest lead nurturing mainstays among sales reps, but Facebook presents a unique opportunity for salespeople to connect with prospects and maintain relationships over time.

While Facebook started as a way for college kids and, eventually, friends and family to keep in touch, it has evolved to become an important source of news and information for the majority of adults. Nearly 80 percent of people consume some news when checking Facebook, including a small percentage who consider Facebook their primary news source. In other words, it’s no longer taboo to share information (provided it’s relevant and useful) with your Facebook friends.

Nurturing leads on Facebook is no different than nurturing them on a phone call to check in or an email that includes a relevant case study. Nurturing—using any communication channel—is less about closing the sale, and more about answering and asking questions, providing valuable content, and engaging in real conversations. And because Facebook is a place where people are more inclined to share what’s happening in their personal lives, it can lead to even deeper, more meaningful connections.

You’re Already a Social Selling Pro

Social Selling isn’t a new concept; it’s simply taking the same traits that make people good at selling at trade shows, on phone calls, and throughout the nurturing process and applying them across social channels. If your goal is to provide useful information and forge a meaningful relationship, then you will see your sales spike regardless of if you’re meeting in-person on the trade show floor or on LinkedIn, making contact through a cold call or on Twitter, or nurturing through follow-up emails or Facebook. Simply put: social selling is selling.



For 25 years, Susan Marshall has been building and launching some of the best-in-class professional web and video editing applications including Flash, Dreamweaver, and Final Cut Pro, as well as leading digital marketing efforts for ExactTarget, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and more. Capitalizing on her past experience at Apple and mobile startups like ChaCha, Susan now serves as the CEO and co-founder of Torchlite Digital Marketing

UK surpasses 20 million users on LinkedIn

This is a great infographic from one of my closest friends and a fountain of knowledge on all things LinkedIn.

Two thirds of the UK have a presence on LinkedIn, if you want to succeed in business, in this social era, you MUST utilise and effectively network on LinkedIn

Are you “using” it? Or are you just there?

LinkedIn UK Stats

Original Source: http://thelinkedinman.com/

This blog has been verified by Rise: dXGOPuDOaUsAGLSUGdnZhv7p4IFF7a4d

Leading with the score – how great leaders keep focusing on the goal by Toby Beresford


As a leader, one of your jobs is to keep those you lead focused on the goals you are trying to reach.

One approach in every leader’s toolkit is to own and share “the score”.

“The score” means how you have decided everyone will measure success, whether as individuals or as a group.

Whether we realise it or not, we all take account of the score. Indeed, if you don’t share the score, people will invent their own.

This can have hideous consequences, as people chase after the wrong activities – look at people who stay late at the office because they think “total amount of time at work” is the score that matters.

Instead of leaving their team or group guessing, great leaders take control of the score by choosing which KPIs matter and communicating them relevantly and regularly.

Leaders identify the scores that matter and communicate them in a relevant way

Identify the important digital signals for your goals. These are the metrics that go into making your score.


Next you need to share the score in a relevant way. Your options are:

personal scores – a score for each individual. This approach works best in a ‘group’ setting where everyone is fairly independent – e.g. a conference or a very large business
team scores – a collective score. This works best for internal teams – e.g. focus on a KPI such as number of visitors to our website each month
market comparison – in more mature markets it may be more relevant to focus on the comparison with peers – e.g. we are the number 1 supplier of milk in our region.
Finally, it’s not enough to communicate relevantly, you must also communicate regularly.

Whether a weekly email to a big screen TV leaderboard in the office, you need to remember that facts don’t speak for themselves. You must tell people the score, and keep telling them.

The medium you choose is important – people will take more notice of a great looking leaderboard emailed around once a week with their photo next to their name, than one hastily scrawled on a piece of paper and stapled on a busy noticeboard.

Why add scorekeeping to your leadership skills?

The score is an essential part of leadership. We all take account of the score whether we realise it or not. By communicating the score in a relevant and regular way, you go beyond mere measurement into providing actionable scorekeeping. As a leader you can use the score to achieve the goals you’ve set for your team.


So, how do you use scores in your leadership today? What scores are your team really focusing on right now? Have you communicated the right ones? What challenges have you faced when leading with the score?


Toby Beresford can be found on LinkedIn and is the CEO/Founder of Rise

Social Selling on Facebook IS creepy!

I came across an interesting infographic from HubSpot where they asked “Is Social Selling Creepy?”. Indeed it could be if you do not change the word selling to serving. Taking the approach of Social Serving to your clients and providing them value will always win over ” I see you play golf, I do too, buy from me”

However the survey HubSpot ran was specifically around the research you conduct and what you do with that found information. So it is very interesting to read.

Not surprising were the Facebook responses.

Would is be creepy if a salesperson sent you a Facebook message? Yes = 81%

Would it be creepy if a salesperson sent you a friend request? Yes = 78%

I wrote about Facebook in this blog, perhaps you have read it? They asked, Do you Facebook? I said, No


So here is the full infographic, I would be delighted to hear your thoughts on what you think is or is not creepy about a sales person reaching out via social media. Pop a comment below.


High Five Hubspot for this content http://blog.hubspot.com/sales 

Social Selling Creepy Infographic

Category: Uncategorized

3+3 rules to write emails which get 40% response rate. By Ankur Chaudhary

Increased Email Response

It takes only 2.7 seconds for a reader to decide if they want to take action to an email (reply, forward or delete). Your one self-focused line can be blasted away into oblivion with one click from the reader.

With today’s crazy-busy buyers, how do you get their attention? Jill Konarth one of best sales-thought leaders who has years of research in buyers’ behavior, discovered that readers evaluate an email on four key questions:

  • How simple is it?
  • Does this person offer value to my business?
  • Is this aligned with my objectives?
  • How big a priority is it?

Critical factors you need to think about before you craft a message:

Length: 80.8% of prospects read emails on mobile screens. The shorter, the better. Keep your emails under 90 words.

Subject Line: Be precise and action-oriented. There has been enough debate on whether length of subject lines matters. My experience being: they don’t matter. If you have a referral or relevant name to drop, always mention that. Subject lines that address immediate concerns, company changes, or critical business issues are always highly effective.

Here are some example subject lines that get reads:

  • Quick questions about next quarter’s sales targets
  • Ideas for disrupting the top of sales funnel
  • Sam Ribnick suggested I get in touch with you
  • 3 steps to improve social selling ROI

Personalize: If I had to pick a single most critical factor to help get a response, I would chose personalization of an email. Work to surprise your buyer with your relevant research on their challenges and needs. If there is a reference point for you to mention, please do.

Pique curiosity: Present a compelling value to your buyer, you can do this in following ways:

  • Refer prospect challenges. Example: If you are like most marketers today, you’re under a ton of pressure to increase your lead effectiveness.
  • Refer similar customers. Example: I thought you might be interested in what we did with…
  • Mention Trigger events. Example: The reason I contacted you is because I read about your (triggering event). Based on my experience working with other firms, when (triggering event) happens, it usually creates (problems/challenges) with …
  • Refer to industry trend. Example:In researching your competitors, I learnt that one of the prime initiatives this year for (Blank) industry is…
  • Direct Value Proposition. Example: We help large companies reduce cost of sales by …
  • Refer the competition. Example: Hi Marc, I had a question about your competitor “XYZ”. Did you know they were looking to implement our software? If you have time next week, I can help you with …

Value Proposition:Buyers don’t care about your products and services. They want results. State your value proposition in clear business terms. Corporate buyers are particularly attracted to phrases such as: increased revenue, improved customer retention, higher ROI, increased competitor differentiation, decreased costs, etc.

Close graciously: Do this by inviting an action. It could be a meeting request or a question which could be replied to in a few words. Example: If you are the appropriate person to speak with, what does the calendar look like early next week? If not, who do you recommend I speak with?

I have experienced that when you follow these simple rules, prospects want to open a dialogue with you and share their business objectives, needs, and challenges. I used these rules to achieve more than a 40% response rate.

What are some of the best practices you use while sending prospecting emails to your buyers? I would love to hear what has been effective email response strategy for you.


Follow Ankur Chaudhary on Twitter

Find Ankur Chaudhary on LinkedIn

Category: Email

​Twitter Undergoes a Makeover

The website now has a new homepage to greet its users

Social networking service Twitter has just revamped its homepage in an attempt to attract more non-users to create an account.

Twitter has announced in an official blog post that their homepage was getting “refreshed,” implying that they wanted to make it more attractive so that it would convince people to sign up for a new account.

Given that Twitter has laid much emphasis on the fact that it became one of the most reliable real-time news search engines, and that it wants to add even more users to the hundreds of millions who already access its service every month, this change was no surprise.

Since the old homepage was rather scant in terms of design and even information, many people considered it was about time Twitter came up with an overhaul.

The simple background image that was urging users to log in has now turned into a more complex one, which is made up of several categories people can choose from.

The new homepage gives you a preview of how Twitter works

Based on what they are interested in, Twitter users can now click on a certain category and they will be taken to torrents of tweets related to that particular subject. This way, they can get a closer look at how things work and maybe they will be convinced that a Twitter account is something they absolutely need.

Or at least this is what Twitter had in mind when it rolled out the new feature, mainly based on the statistics showing that more than 125 million people visit the homepage every month without signing up for an account, Mashable reports.

This impressive number must have been the reason behind Twitter’s decision to take some measures and have some work done on its homepage in order to intrigue curious onlookers by adding some samples of tweets.

It has now added categories like Politics, Pop Artists or Cute Animals, with the sole purpose of convincing people that they should sing up in order to enjoy the real-time content.

It’s almost as if Twitter were giving them a taste of what they could experience if they decide to get started on the social network.

The homepage has been made available for US users only for the time being, but Twitter announced it would gradually roll it out in other countries as well.

Compliments to Softpedia for content

Category: Twitter

10 important changes you need to know about LinkedIn for 2015 by Greg Cooper

The LinkedIn development team have been busy. The last few months have seen many changes, big and small, to the world’s #1 business networking platform and the New Year will bring more. In this post I am going to highlight some of the ones I feel are most important for you to know about. You should be aware that because of the way that LinkedIn phases in updates gradually across its customer base it is likely that you will have some but not all of the changes mentioned below.

Why you may ask is it so important to keep up to date with changes to LinkedIn? Isn’t it at the end of the day just another business application like Word or Excel? Well no actually. LinkedIn is also the place where buyer and seller meet and build relationships. Studies consistently show that that the most successful sales people spend more time on LinkedIn than their less successful colleagues. Part of this time is spent making sure they keep abreast of changes because being fluent on LinkedIn gives you a competitive edge.

And so to the changes. Here in my opinion are some of the most important recent and planned changes you need to know about.

1. Revised pricing

LinkedIn recently revamped its pricing model, dumping the lower priced “Spotlight” and “Business” accounts and making “Business Plus” the entry level paid account. This represents a significant hike in pricing. Larger businesses and those selling high value products or services will still regard the paid account as good value however many small businesses are likely to balk at paying $49.95 per month.

If you are not sure if it is worth paying for a premium account LinkedIn has made it easy to upgrade, downgrade, or cancel anytime from your settings page. Here is acomparison of the different accounts. You can also try out any premium account for free for 30 days.

Here is an excellent article by Andy Brandt that reviews the recent price changes.

2. Profile Page – “View Page As” option

With the new profile page design you can “view page as” it will be seen by (a) your connections (b) by the public i.e.anyone. The latter is a stripped down version of your page which does not show blog posts, contact information, endorsements or recommendations, media files.

This is a useful reminder of the importance of reaching out to connect with your target audience so they have access to your profile page in its full glory!

Button allows you to see your profile as your connections or the public do

3. Permaedit Mode

Although the “edit profile” command remains at the moment in the drop down menu this is now redundant as scrolling over any section on the profile page will automatically turn on edit mode for that section – see below:

Scrolling over the profile page now instantly switches edit mode on

4. New look Homepage

LinkedIn have redesigned and simplified the homepage to become a personal dashboard.This is an update I don’t have at the time of writing. This is LinkedIn’s description of the main changes.

“At the very top of the homepage, your new dashboard gives you instant feedback on how you’re doing. See how many people have viewed you and understand how your status updates are performing. Click on either one to get deeper insights into what’s resonating with the connections you care about. Learn who found you – from that CEO to a long-lost friend – and how they found you, plus how you rank across your connections, within your company, and other LinkedIn members like you. Make quick edits to your profile – which help us surface better opportunities, news, and connection ideas for you – with a single click”.

There is also a new “Keep in touch box” at the top right of the page where you can share a comment, say congrats, or like an update.

Click here to read LinkedIn’s announcement about the redesigned homepage.

5. Redesigned recommendation feature

The recommendation feature is one of the longest established and most important LinkedIn features but until very recently had received little attention from the design team. I am glad to say the feature has now been completely updated, for example the rather bizarre option to send out up to 200 recommendations requests at once has been replaced by the option to send a maximum of three requests at one time.

6. Removal of group connection request

A couple of months ago LinkedIn quietly removed the ability to send connection invitations to people in a shared group. This was a very popular and useful feature. and many people are unhappy that this has disappeared. Being in the same group implies shared interests and would therefore seem a reasonable basis for connecting. If LinkedIn were concerned this feature was being abused it would have been simpler in my opinion to add an opt out in the settings menu.

7. New connection options

A change is coming to the standard connection request process from a member’s page. Currently clicking on the connect button on someone’s profile will bring up the dialogue box shown above. In future clicking on this button will automatically send a standard non-personalised connect request. In order to send a personalised request (recommended) it will be necessary to click on the drop down menu and select the customised request option.

I do not have this update yet.

8. How people found you

When you check who has viewed your profile LinkedIn now helpfully tells you how that person came to your profile e.g. from a group, the mobile app, the who viewed your profile page. Whilst this is not necessarily the most important recent change it does give useful feedback on which aspects of your LinkedIn activity are being effective in getting you noticed.

9. New Inmail policy

From January 2015 Inmails will work differently. Instead of receiving credits for Inmails that are not read the system will be turned on its head so in future you receive a credit for every response received (Reply or Not Interested) from a recipient within 90 days. If you don’t get a response within 90 days, however, the InMail credit will be lost.

The monthly Inmail allowance will also increase depending on your membership. For example the entry level Business Plus account will now receive 15 instead of 10 per month. Unused Inmails will continue to be valid for 90 days, after which they are deleted.

It is possible to purchase up to 10 additional Inmails.

Read the LinkedIn policy in full.

10. New LinkedIn search engine

Over the last 18 months LinkedIn has been developing and rolling out a new search engine code named “Galene”. This has largely replaced the original “Lucene” search engine which was no longer able to cope with the volume and rate of change of LinkedIn’s data.

The key benefits provided by the new search engine are:

  • Instant member search of whole LinkedIn database
  • Improved relevance as a result of a more sophisticated algorithm

This is a work in progress and some of the results that a LinkedIn search currently produces can be a bit puzzling with no obvious logic. However it does seem that some of the factors that will influence your ranking on a given search are location, social proximity (how closely connected you are to an individual), and keywords.

There are many more impenetrable criteria hidden in the bowels of the algorithm which we can only guess at, but as with Google search the best advice for users is to make sure you are posting good quality content that is relevant to your audience and you have written and optimised your profile with the customer in mind.

Stop press: LinkedIn have just announced that free account users will now be able to view full names and profiles for anyone in their extended network, this was previously only available to paid subscribers. At the same time LinkedIn are introducing a new restriction on the number of searches that free account users can make each month – this is know as the rather vaguely defined “commercial limit”.A progress bar will appear in your search results when 30% of your searches are left, and will continue to remind you in 5% increments. After you’ve reached the limit, you’ll continue to be able to search, but will see a limited number of results. Your free monthly usage will reset on the 1st of each calendar month.

You can read more here.

I’d love to hear what you think of these changes and any other changes which you feel will have a significant impact on the way you use LinkedIn.

If you have enjoyed this article please share it so other people can too.


Greg Cooper is a Marketing Coach and LinkedIn specialist and Google+ trainer based in Bristol, UK. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing. For over twenty years Greg ran an award winning direct marketing agency working with leading technology companies like IBM, SAP, and Siemens. Today he works with SMEs and Business Units of larger companies. He is an accredited coach on the Government sponsored Growth Accelerator Programme.

For more information about Greg’s Coaching and Training Services or to join the mailing list please click here.

Social Selling Trends for 2015 by Jeffrey Gitomer

Free Sales! Free Sales! Step Right Up and Get Your Free Sales!

What are your social goals this year?

No, not who are you taking to the dance on Saturday night. What are your intentions to create more online social involvement that leads to attraction, engagement and sales. Social sales. Oh, that.

UPDATE: Social sales and social selling is the new black.

• What are your social value offerings?
• What are your social product offerings?
• What is attractive about your social offerings?
• Where is the perceived value in your social outreach?
• Where is the perceived value in your social offerings?

These are painful questions – but I’m just getting started.

My good friend, and IBM’s social evangelist, Sandy Carter, asked me to comment on what’s next in the world of social selling for 2015.

Here are the Social Media and Social Selling Trends for 2015:
 Social media and social selling are entering the next phase. It’s the “comfortable with” phase – big companies and previous naysayers in general are branching out and digging in. Everyone is realizing the unlimited power, and has some experience with the process and applications. Comfortable enough to BUY.
Social Selling Challenge: Are your customers and prospects buying from your online offerings?
• Will your social selling offers only bring sales? The discount offerings bring customers. The value offerings bring customers and PROFIT!
Social Selling Challenge: How much profit are your online sales bringing in?
• Every social media site is trying to do and be everything to everyone. Photos are now everywhere. Videos are now everywhere. The “likers” are now everywhere.
Social Selling Challenge: How current is your social presence? Are you gaining a following?
• Kids will continue to abandon Facebook for Instagram – 300,000 million Instagram users – and don’t be misled by the word “kid” – in 5 years they’re your new customer – and will probably be more social savvy than you are.
Social Selling Challenge: What are your kids doing? What are they buying?
• Smartphones will continue to be the social involvement device of choice.And the app will continue to dominate Internet use.
Social Selling Challenge: Do you have a social selling app? What’s your plan to get one or improve the one you have?
• “Social” involvement is no longer an option – it’s an imperative. You no longer have a choice – it’s all in or be left out.
Social Selling Challenge: Who is in charge of social sales and social selling in your company?
 Social selling is becoming more prevalent and more sophisticated.Analytics is the new black. Data-driven selling is the new norm.
Social Selling Challenge: do you know who your online customers are?
 App developers are thriving to capacity. That should tell you the story all by itself.
Social Selling Challenge: Partner with an app developer and make something happen.
• Purchases are the final frontier. The more people buy online, the more social interaction becomes and stays relevant. Ratings by customers will outweigh all other forms of advertisements.
Social Selling Challenge: What is your social selling volume? And what’s your plan to double it?

My business plan for 2015 has a heavy concentration on social selling. So much so that I am writing (like this), investing in infrastructure (website and apps), and intensifying my social presence with more value messages.

Oh, I am also learning. Social selling is more fluid than mercury. Changes occur by the hour. And game-changers appear daily. I study the marketplace and especially MY marketplace, daily.

Where is the attraction coming from and what’s happening once the attracted actually land someplace? Are they buying or are they flying (okay, clicking) away?

Social selling is on the rapid rise. And unless you’re Amazon or Apple, you’re way behind the eight ball in development and execution.

Hopefully your competition sucks worse than you do. And hopefully you’re doing something about it sooner than they do.

This article can be found in the Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Pocket Reference

Jeffrey Gitomer