Get Social to Get Selling

We are all in business to sell something, whether its a service or a product.

Lets look at the anatomy of a salesperson:

But buying is different and this changes everything!

Customers have too much information, but not enough fact to act upon.
These days Clients have more choice than ever before, with information available through varied and diverse channels. Buyers are no longer relying on the sales person for information. Instead 70 percent are looking for  information online before making a decision or purchase.

A recent study  “The Future of Selling” from Ogilvy, says that although sales people agree with the above, they feel that the customer is not getting the right kind of information about your products and services.

This new way of gathering information is affecting the seller in a huge way. In Ogilvy’s study, nearly 50 percent of sellers (1100 interviewed) agreed that social media helps them sell. The biggest influence was seen in China at 73 percent, Brazil 65 percent UK 33 percent and USA 27 percent.

Also the platforms used, vary from country to country:

Top performing sales people are adopting social media technologies to drive their success in sales. Using these tools they can help with personal branding, demonstrate their value faster, reduce the “time to trust” factor and best of all help (unconditionally).

It is also worth noting that sales organisations recognise that the buying process is changing faster than their organisations are responding, with many companies blocking employees from using social media. When companies do allow use, there is lack of education about how to use with many employees wishing their companies would offer more help.

Change or else.
The world is changing at an astonishing rate and as such the role of a salesperson will be completely different in five years. The link between the Marketing Department and Sales Department is becoming inextricable. Individuals, regardless of role i.e. sales, technical or operations are also becoming marketers of their personal branding. Peoples skills and expertise will be easier to locate at the touch of a button.
Questions to ask now are: “If your client is researching, are you easy to find?” “Do you provide information that will assist them and that will provide value?”
We all have information that someone is looking for, whether its in your head, on your hard drive or in your email. Get it out there, put it on YouTube, write a blog, use Twitter or collaborate from within your company, engage in conversations, be helpful, try to solve problems versus just selling your solution.

Another question to ask yourself is: Does your boss know your skills?

Things to do right now:
Check “your” brand, Google yourself.
Create content to fall in the path of the digital buyer.
Get marketing and sales on the same page.
Build your network with people you know well and others who you don’t know that well but essentially build your network.
Get social.

Image credit: Use by country, Ogilvy

If you would like any advice please feel free to contact me.

Category: Social Media

Have you interacted with IBM today?

This is a great video, even though its a couple of years old, I may be biased!

It demonstrates just what IBM does and where they fit into your daily routines. Even if you do not think you interacted with IBM technology today, you probably have!

Singing about Social (or is it just me)

If you know me, you will know I am addicted to work, I am pretty much online most of the time. Often the voice inside my head, typically my wife,
is “you’re not on the clock now you know”. But you know what, I love what I do.
Its great to explore new networks, searching out questions where I can offer an opinion. More importantly have conversations with people I
dont know, about topics we have an interest in. I feel engaged.

Its a sad fact but I often hum to various tunes about it, but being tone deaf and lyrically barren, I never manage a full verse. One of my hums is to the tune of “500 miles” by The Proclaimers

When I wake up yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who tweets alot to you
When I go out yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who checks in using Foursquare

That’s as far as I get, I cant work in additional lyrics such as –  I check my RT’s, mentions, blog comments and the buzz I get from “Great post,
thanks for sharing” or the followers that find something of value from my twitter antics. I am as I said addicted and need the fix, that social
networks can provide. But you get the drift.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when I Googled social addiction, that the images it provided depicted the worst meaning of addiction mixed with the brand names of social networks, but I was. All very negative connotations. However I did find  this infographic.

As usual there is no shortage of articles:

21 Tips to Balance Social Media Addiction
A Disorder on the Rise
As Addictive As Cigarettes
The Social Addiction – It’s More Serious Than We Think

So I can even understand why people are hesitance to get into social media. It can, if you let it, get quite involved. But and this is a big but, what I get from helping people I dont even know personally and being recommended as a resource to others is a fantastic feeling.

My personal recommendations are figure out what you want to achieve first. If its personal branding then think LinkedIn, Blogs and Twitter,. If is marketing a brand then Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Blogs. If its sales then you need to think both, why, because people buy from people. You are now being a marketeer as well as a sales person. Believe me once you have done the set up work, it gets easier!

If I am allowed one more song to hum to it would be “Jeans On” by David Dundas

When I wake up, In the morning light
I turn on my phone and I feel alright

Like I said lyrically barren!!

Category: Social Media

Is Mobile Africa’s Future?

The economy of Africa consists of the trade, industry, agriculture, and human resources. As of 2006, approximately 922 million peoplewere living in 54 different countries. Africa is a resource-rich continent but many African people are poor. Recent growth has been due to growth in sales in commodities, services, and manufacturing.Africa is by far the world’s second poorest inhabited continent, second only to Asia in the number of poor people. Though parts of the continent have made significant gains over the last few years. In recent years, African countries consist of the fastest growing economies in the world.

 

Is Mobile Africa's Future?

 

ASTRON and IBM Collaborate to Explore Origins of the Universe

From Big Bang to Big Data:

Scientists estimate that the processing power required to operate the telescope will be equal to several millions of today’s fastest computers. The computer system will be targeted to read, analyze and store one exabyte of raw data per day, two times the entire daily traffic on the World Wide Web

The Telescope: The most sensitive radio telescope known as Square Kilometre Array SKA

 

 

“Large research infrastructures like the SKA require extremely powerful computer systems to process all the data. The only acceptable way to build and operate these systems is to dramatically reduce their power consumption. This will give us a unique opportunity to try out new approaches in Green Supercomputing.”

 

Full  article

Category: Smarter Planet

Using LinkedIn for Business

The question I ask many sellers is, do you research your client before making contact? Most of the time they do: “I like to understand where they have worked before, what groups they are interested in, and sometimes it gives me an insight into their interests outside of work. Which is great to sometimes break the ice with.

Then I ask, do you think your clients do the same to you? If you think they don’t, you are very much mistaken.

When was the last time you looked at your profile? Is it looking tired and frayed at the edges?

Is you headline title one of  acronyms that needs a cypher to decode?

Could a potential client understand how you can add value to his or her company?

So first, before you start building your valued network, and requesting your clients to connect with you, let’s consider your personal brand, LinkedIn is your chance to demonstrate the value you can offer.

Let’s start with your photo. Do you use the same image across all your networks? Keep it professional and consistent; it’s always beneficial to know that the same person I was speaking to on one site is the same person I am speaking to on another. A huge eighty percent of professionals have indicated they would not generally connect to someone with no photo. We like to know whom we are talking to.

Next, is your professional headline. By default, LinkedIn populates this with your job tile. Take mine several years ago “ICR LSE at IBM” – I can’t imagine why clients had no idea what I did. So take advantage of the 160 characters available and answer the question “What do you do?”

As a result of doing these tasks, you can now address what I believe, are four important things. As a result of a search on LinkedIn, a potential client is presented with only four answers: your name, your headline tag, and how many connections and how many recommendations you have.

Are you going to stand shoulders above the rest?  Would you click on you?

So now they have clicked on your name and are now staring at your profile. Have you written a summary using all 2000 characters available? It is not important to do so,  but why waste? Aim to make your profile an interesting read – long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to still be interesting. Never start it with “In my role as” or “I’m here to make money.”

Why are you here on LinkedIn? Take a moment to summarize from your work experience – what value have you brought to other clients?  What results did you get? How can you provide value to your next client?

The summary is also subject to search engine optimization (SEO) and is used by the likes of Google and others. So, consider using key words that reflect the industry and skill set you have. Same goes for specialties.

You’re almost there. Under your work experiences, make sure that you have highlighted your one to three accomplishments within each role. Clients like to see progression; it provides them with credibility and helps reduce the trust gap.

Now you’re ready to start approaching new prospects, and they will be willing to connect with you because now they can clearly see the value you could potentially bring to them.

Next question: If, every Friday, I supplied you details about your customer, such as who has been promoted, and who are new joiners and even leavers, would you find that of value? Of course you would.

Follow the companies you are aligned to or are of interest to you. LinkedIn will then send you this information. What better way to introduce yourself by saying congratulations on your new job, promotion, and such.

The people who have left, in my opinion, are the most valuable. Ask them for help – as a species we are geared to do so. For example, “I’m trying to get through to xxx, can you help me?”

If you don’t have companies, you can take advantage of the superb search function for lines of business. You can use Boolean search strings within LinkedIn. For example “Chief Information Officer” OR cio will search for the exact phrase in quotation marks (” “) and also the word CIO. You can search in a geographic area using a postal code and you can save this search. Guess what? Every time a new CIO appears in this area you will receive a notification.

Last but not least, keep your network updated with what you and your company are doing. Don’t send too many marketing type messages; try to keep them of value and informative. It will bring great results.
With a bit of polishing your profile can be rich and demonstrate the value on offer to a potential client

Personal Branding & Your Profile Pic

Many people think that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Justin Bieber or Stephen Fry, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. Dan Schawbel is the author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, and owner of the award winning Personal Branding Blog and in this article discusses the personal branding process, so you can start to think about what face you want to show to the world and how you want to position yourself for success!

I spend a lot of my time coaching colleagues how to use social media for personal branding. One thing I always stress is the importance of first impressions and your profile picture.

Firstly to actually have an image of ‘yourself” goes a long way. We all like to know who we are talking to. Secondly using the same images across your platforms, so that we know we are speaking to the same person we met a ye olde twitter pub.

LinkingR have come up with a great gauge. Have a look and see if your avatar falls under one of these categories.

Category: Social Media

The Four C’s of Change Management: Choice, Conviction, Commitment, and Compassion

Guest Post Jennifer Dubow

After spending a week at SXSWI for the first time, I met a lot of folks in a range of roles and companies including:

  1. Large enterprises responsible for transforming their business practices and workforce to adopt social business.
  2. Digital agencies and social business consulting firms trying to get their clients to adopt social media programs and new mindsets
  3. Social Media software vendors trying to train their clients to more fully adopt the software the client has purchased
  4. Startups seeking to scale their businesses and sell their software or services

To me, one resounding theme, especially with the onset of Spring, is that Change is in the air.

Organizations and their employees may or may not want to become a social business, but the impetus for change, whether externally or internally driven, is getting stronger. In my years in organizational change management consulting, I often heard the phrase “People (or Organizations) change when the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change.” Another common question asked is “What’s the burning platform?” that will make executives take action.

CHOICE

Change is a Choice. It’s that simple. Going through with the change, whether in your personal life, or in your organization, is tough. It may not always feel like a Choice, especially when the change is driven from an external source, such as a new CEO who has a new set of directives and style.

As we’ve seen in my last post about the Change Curve, people follow a predictable process on the change journey, and each step along that journey requires a Choice to continue moving forward. Deciding to be part of the Change is also a Choice: there are benefits and consequences to either participating in the change or resisting the change.

CONVICTION

Once you or your leadership have decided, “Ouch, this burning platform is about to explode, I better make some changes,” then you need to have the Conviction to see it through to success. Having that Conviction, or that belief that change is possible is very powerful. In practical terms, your belief in the possibility of change may take the form of a vision of change or a roadmap of transformation (“as is” vs. “to be” state), a project plan, or a motivating speech to call the staff to action.

Another complementary technique to consider is solution-focused guided imagery, an approach long used by Sports Psychologists and Athletic Trainers to help athletes win in competitive situations or overcome barriers to success known as “the yips.” You can encourage your staff to imagine what a successful change would look like, or practice this yourself. Either way, having a positive focus and belief that your organization can successfully change will go a long way.

COMMITMENT

Whether you are embarking on a personal change such as trying to lose weight, or a Social Business adoption program such as retraining your workforce on social business skills, or rolling out a new internal collaboration system, transformative Change is actually composed of many small steps that require Commitment.

This is the place, in my opinion, where Change frequently breaks down. Change often takes time, especially large organizational transformations such as incorporating social business practices into core business processes. People can experience “change fatigue” along the way, executives may get frustrated that adoption or performance results aren’t where they should be, and the list goes on, etc.

COMPASSION

It’s at this point, where we need to show Compassion towards ourselves and ideally, executives can take this opportunity to show Compassion towards their staff. Showing Compassion doesn’t mean excusing poor results or throwing in the towel. What it does mean is acknowledging that Change can be difficult for some, validating the challenging nature of change, and reaffirming that each step of the way requires Commitment, and re-Commitment on the part of the entire team of staff and executives.

We can think of the change journey as a series of Choices and small steps requiring micro-Commitments. When things don’t go according to plan, have some Compassion for yourself or your teammates. And recall that Conviction and belief in the possibility to Change that got you started on the change journey in the first place. That’s the real Magic in the C’s of Change.

As always, I welcome your thoughts, reactions, and any additional C’s you may think.

Follow me on Twitter @jennifer_dubow.

Image: StockFresh Change