According to Fred Copestake, social selling is using the platforms and technology available to you to create a personal brand and start conversations. Digital selling is using technology to continue conversations. The use of video (synchronous or asynchronous) is a piece of the puzzle that’s often neglected. Hear why Fred thinks that’s a huge mistake in this episode of Sales Reinvented!
Fred’s digital selling blueprint is built around video. What do you need to do on video? What’s the purpose? To communicate or achieve a goal, right? Salespeople need to be equipped with the time and skills to utilize video with their prospects and customers. The use of video in digital sales is what will keep them engaged and move the sales process forward.
Fred recommends Vidyard all the time as an asynchronous video option. It’s free and easy to use. If you’re talking synchronous video, you’ll need Zoom, Teams, etc. Then you need to figure out where and how to apply it. Where can it be used in the process? With prospecting? After-meeting follow-ups? To send a proposal?
What is the video trying to achieve? Fred emphasizes that you must be succinct and punchy. You can get a lot across if your video is well-constructed. Another expert tip? Fred recommends investing in a great microphone to make sure you’re recording great audio. If people can’t hear you, they check out and lose concentration. The perceived credibility of the speaker also lowers if they can’t hear you.
Fred shares some great dos and don’ts:
Fred decided to embrace sending video emails, especially because it’s something that he preaches. He was trying to get a guest on his podcast to talk about virtual selling. In fact, he was sending a video to Tyler Lessard, one of THE experts on digital selling. So he recorded a video using Vidyard.
Fred tried to be clever in his video and hid behind his chair, saying, “People are scared, please come on, share all of these great tips…” He sent the video without reviewing it. Turns out, he sent the video without sound. He sent a silent video of him cowering behind a chair. He prepped for the video, reflected best practices—making it relevant and personal—but forgot to double-check before he sent it. Tyler did end up on his podcast, Fred jokingly saying it was likely out of pity more than anything else.
It’s all about preparation and follow-through. He thought about what he was going to say, how he was going to say it, and the purpose behind it (what he wanted to achieve). It was punchy and short and interesting. Give yourself a moment to prepare—and execute—well.
The world is virtual—that’s not going to change. So Joanne Black emphasizes that we must learn to sell in this virtual world. That means organizations need to give their salespeople the right tools to sell virtually. How do you look into the camera? How do you have a conversation and build relationships? These are the things salespeople can do in person but struggle with digitally. If that’s you, listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented for some tips and tricks from Joanne Black.
Joanne believes you need to have a written strategy that is clearly communicated. How does it apply to each person in your organization? How can you give them the skills to carry out the process? Joanne believes KPIs need to be attached to a social strategy and outreach. Managers tend to shoot from the hip and it leaves salespeople confused. Joanne has been virtual for years and has taken courses on how to sell virtually. She believes you must train and coach your salespeople, allow them to practice, and help them get results.
Joanne notes that the attributes are very similar to in-person selling. You need to build relationships and play the long game. Some people believe that it’s tough to develop relationships with digital selling but Joanne disagrees. If you are well-trained and know how to look into the camera and have a conversation, you will build those relationships. Most people sell complex solutions which means you likely won’t close in one or two calls. You have to think about how to meet the buyers that are essential to closing the deal.
You have to learn how to use digital and social selling tools such as LinkedIn. People go on LinkedIn and pitch, send automated requests, and spew garbage. The best practice is to look at shared connections and read people’s recommendations. You can refer to people’s education, work history, and things they’ve written to reference in a conversation. People forget to be just as social as they would be in person. What are the rules of engagement?
Joanne saw a post on LinkedIn from a head of sales all about referrals. People were commenting all over it and there was a lot of interaction (15–20 were chatting). Joanne added her voice to the conversation and it continued to develop. She decided to write to the head of sales and asked if he wanted to do a webinar about referrals and invite the people who had commented.
He didn’t respond to that question. Instead, he asked her to come in and chat with his group. She had made an offer with no strings attached and it turned into business for her. If someone posts something within your area of expertise, don’t be afraid to share a best practice. It’s about being open and sharing as much as you can.
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Graham Hawkins despises the phrase “social selling” because he believes you’re not selling—you’re solving problems. Modern selling should include leveraging data, tools, and platforms to give the buyer the experience they expect and deserve. Organizations need to acknowledge that the buyer has changed the way they behave and sales professionals must adapt. How can you create a “wow” experience for your buyer at every touchpoint? He shares his process in this episode of Sales Reinvented!
Graham’s digital sales strategy is focused on education—solving, not selling. Brute force sales aren’t necessary anymore. The buyer will never be just a number. The goal now is to educate the buyer and solve their business problems.
When you educate, you build rapport, trust, and credibility. Once you’ve done that, Graham recommends that you use the digital platforms and tools to get the information you need to give the buyer a delightful experience at every touchpoint. Your focus should be how you can create an enjoyable experience that’s not pushy, pitching, persuading, manipulating, closing, or objection-handling.
In Graham’s book, “The Future of the Sales Profession,” the key tenant is about specialization. Buyers expect four things from salespeople:
How do you make sure you’re seen as a specialist with a high level of credibility? You need to be a resource to help them solve their business problems.
Graham firmly believes that anyone in sales needs to invest in LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a starting point. If you’ve identified your ideal customer and buyer personas, Sales Navigator can map an organization and show you who the key players are.
Tools like Bombora and 6sense can actually show you who might be looking at certain topics in real-time. Seismic and Outreach can help you facilitate the delivery of educational content. Amplify your efforts with technology.
Buyers are being bombarded by salespeople resorting to old tactics. If you’re being bombarded every single day, focus on differentiation. How do you become memorable?
What are Graham’s top three digital sales dos and don’ts? Listen to learn more!
Graham’s largest client is Lloyd’s Bank in the UK. How did he win their business? Graham had engaged with Rob Michael from Aon on LinkedIn which led to him leading a workshop at Aon. He took a selfie with the group at the end and shared it on LinkedIn. He’s not afraid to show the world what he does. Plus, those photos usually get engagement. One of Rob’s friends who worked at Lloyds Bank (Wayne) liked the photo
So Graham sent a connection request to Wayne. He initiated the engagement and Wayne responded by asking to hear more about what Graham does. That’s how their conversation got started. He built credibility over 3+ months by tagging him in posts and sharing value. Eventually, Wayne reached out to connect with him in London.
After 2.5 years of working with them, Lloyd’s announced a new CEO. Graham reached out to him immediately and introduced himself and shared that he’d worked with them for a couple of years. The next day, the CEO looked at his profile and accepted Graham’s invitation. The moral of the story? Sales are all about the long game.
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Paula White jokes that digital selling was the red-headed step-child for a long time—but it was true. Because of the pandemic, we’ve learned that things can be done via the phone and technology. For salespeople to excel in this digital sales world, Paula would suggest implementing the right technology immediately. To do this, organizations need to understand what salespeople need to succeed in a remote digital sales world. Part of it? Simply remembering that you can still pick up the phone.
If Paula was to build a blueprint for digital selling, it would start with training salespeople how to pick up cues over the phone. Then she’d go into assessing someone’s competencies and whether or not they can sell digitally. But salespeople who naturally have certain attributes may excel.
Paula believes the first attribute you need to have is active listening. You have to be able to hear and understand when a person is bored, isn’t paying attention, or isn’t interested in a product. You must understand their cues. You must actively listen for door opening signals. You need to be able to pick up on that to close the sale. Secondly, you need to be able to work remotely and not be afraid of using the phone.
Paula recommends using gamification to bring competition to your teams. The best strategy is to get on the phone. Paula has always implemented a “10x10” rule i.e. making sure that your 10 calls happen before 10 am. The goal is 30–35 calls a day to reach your customers. The bottom line? A salesperson’s income comes from closing sales.
It’s easy—pick up the phone. Secondly, only sell on a need or want. What does Paula mean by that? People buy on emotion and justify it logically, so you need to find out what someone's needs or wants are. If you’re speaking to a CEO, are their needs or wants financial? Will the product make an end user’s life easier? If you’re speaking to a manager, how will it help both the end user and the financials? Pinpoint who you’re speaking with to understand their needs and wants.
Paula emphasizes that you shouldn’t fake a connection. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. People feel like they’re hidden behind a screen or phone, so don’t forget to bring the human element. Don't try to oversell or you’ll lose the sale. Don’t lose the competition aspect of selling. If you go into the history of sales, you always made a sale with a handshake—it meant something. We don’t have that anymore. So you’re pushing to be in the top 4%. If you don’t have the competitive edge to win ethically, truthfully, and honestly, sales will be a challenge for you. Keeping that in mind makes you better every day.
Many years ago, Paula called a customer and spoke to him around April/May. She asked for his business and he said, “Give me a call back the first week in July.” So she did. He answered the phone and he asked where she was from. She answered, “Ohio.” His response? “You don’t read the paper very much, do you?” Turns out, he had gone out of business.
He was an EMS flight pilot carrying passengers to the hospital. His only plane had gone down. When she hung up, her heart sank. So she sent him a simple condolence card. He called six months later and she got all of his business, simply because of her act of kindness. She learned to do her pre-call planning—and that everyone is human. It’s only with kindness that you can grow.
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