Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Redefining Social Selling, Part 3

June 9, 2014

Has social media redefined the concepts of sales and marketing? Not in the all-encompassing way that some will tell you, I don’t believe.

You can spend an enormous amount of money these days flying off to conferences, reading books and hiring consultants all focused on how social networks have fundamentally changed the role of salespeople and marketing professionals.

I only know of four ways that things have really changed for me:

  • Customers have a lot more information – and opinions — about my products and services when we first connect.
  • I’ve saved time and money using the internet for some tasks I used to do manually.
  • It’s good to have multiple ways to reach prospect and customers, and
  • I have felt enormous pressure to invest resources in social selling and marketing, and found that what some of the “experts” claim will improve my sales sound good, but don’t translate well into practice.

That’s just me, and I’d love to hear if your experience has been different.

But on to B.J. Mendelson’s Social Media is Bull***, a book you can pick up for the Kindle and in hardback at Amazon for a few bucks. It’s a good read, and like I said earlier, I agreed with much of it, though I believe that there’s more gray area – more exceptions and possibilities — than he does.

Here are Mendelson’s main points:

  • Offline matters more than online. Your location, your circumstances, your audience – that determines everything.
  • 99 percent of the things that are often referred to as “viral” are driven by offline forces: real-world connections, traditional media, legitimate celebrities, corporate spending. Right place, right time explains the rest.
  • The concept that if you put something online “people will see it” is not true. Most YouTube videos go unwatched and most Web sites go unvisited.
  • Momentum is everything on the Web. And that is built by using the connections you’ve already established the old-fashioned way to help get the word out.
  • Be skeptical of metrics like “awareness” and “engagement.” The only metric that matters for small businesses is sales. If you’re not making money, you can’t keep doing what you’re doing (and as far as the Web goes, the only metric that matters is unique visitors coupled with how much time they spend with you and what they click on. The number of unique visitors on its own — like page views, users, free app downloads, followers, fans, likes and YouTube views – is meaningless).
  • Do not hire someone until you’ve exhausted all of your free options. Candidates must be able to give you actual facts and figures, testimonials, case studies and other data. The hype that “You’re just leaving money on the table if you don’t use social media” is just that – hype.
  • The only thing you need is a Web site. One that’s clean, simple, easy to navigate, fast to load, and fun. A Web site won’t cost you a fortune, either. You should also consider having a self-hosted WordPress blog because you control it. All traffic that you get should go to your Web site.
  • Social media is bull****. Search engine optimization (SEO) is not…Build inbound links to your Web site that use keywords associated with whatever you’re doing, and post frequently. The more content (posts, pictures and video) appropriately tagged, the better.

You’ve probably been in the sales profession for years, and you know what’s worked and what hasn’t. I continue to explore how social media might help me build relationships and make sales, but I listen to my gut and only do what I think makes sense for my unique situation, products, target market, resources, etc. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to social media, and you should be wary of anyone who preaches otherwise.



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