Tim Hughes is a firm believer that the world of selling is shifting towards social selling—but not how you think. Tim doesn’t believe in pushing your agenda on social. But he does believe in forming connections and having conversations. How does he craft his social media approach to lead to conversations? How do those conversations lead to sales? Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to hear Tim’s amazingly successful strategies.
Tim Hughes is an expert in social selling and is currently ranked #1 by Onalytica as THE most influential social selling person in the world. He is also Co-Founder and CEO of DLA Ignite and co-author of the bestselling books “Social Selling” and “Smarketing”, both published by Kogan Page.
Tim doesn’t see prospecting success in interrupting people with advertising, cold-calling, or email. He believes those legacy sales methods are gradually falling away. His ideal method? Social selling. He’s been in business for 4 years and all of their prospecting has been done on social media. You have to have a great profile, proactively grow your network, and offer great content. You can’t hope someone will find you, but must proactively look for them.
You have to be where your clients are, and ⅔ of the world’s working population is active on social media. Over the last quarter, those numbers have grown by 12.5%. Social media usage continues to grow. The idea that your clients aren't on social media isn’t relevant anymore.
Why does Tim love social media? Because it enables you to have conversations. Brochures, webinars, and other tools don’t get you deals. Conversations are what get you deals. So grow your network, create content, and generate conversations. One of Tim’s guys wrote a post about Led Zeppelin and has had 6 C-level calls off a crazy piece of content.
Tim emphasizes that you need to have a buyer-centric profile. What are they looking for from you? They don’t care if you’re a quota-crushing salesperson. Secondly, you should grow a network of people that you know. It’s about being remembered and standing out. Connecting with people for the sake of connecting doesn’t give you that relevance. You should also strategically create content that people find engaging, insightful, and educational. It doesn't have to be about your company. Humanized content gets you more engagement than sharing about your company.
Social selling isn’t actually about selling. Tim implores you: do NOT sell on connection requests. You go to a networking event to have conversations, right? You don’t go up and start selling to someone. If you don’t do that with in-person networking, why would you on social networking? Tim gets that everyone has targets to make and pipelines to fill. But you do that by building connections and having conversations—not social selling.
Tim’s first tip is simple: make sure your profile picture is a photograph of you. Secondly, you need a great summary title: don’t make it your “what.” For example, some people say they’re “passionate about digital transformation.” That doesn’t elicit a strong emotional connection from a viewer.
People are looking for your “why.” If you talk about your why, you’re connecting with someone’s gut feeling. Tim’s summary title says “Should have played Quidditch for England.” It closes business for him. He also has his name translated into Chinese because his first book was translated into Chinese. Doing these things sets him apart and catches people’s attention.
If you see people who have the title “sales director” your brain lumps them together with every other sales director. If you say something different, the brain sees two different people. It changes your possibility of winning business from 1-in-16 to 1-in-2.
Make your summary about your why. If you met someone in a bar and had a conversation, what would you find out? When people are looking at your profile, they want to see the human side of you. What are your beliefs? What are you about? When people form connections, they have conversations. When you have conversations, you close deals.
One of Tim’s team members posted 3 photos on LinkedIn from a trip with his son. The post talks about how the pandemic has impacted 16-year-olds and it only took him 10 minutes. He’s had 18,000 views, 90 likes, and 20,000 people look at his profile. 20,000 people see what he stands for. People will buy from you, refer you, or share your content on other networks when they feel a deep connection to it. He’s gotten 6 C-level calls from that post. Social is the most proactive way to form relationships in the world today.
Humanized content gets the most engagement on social. Some people aren’t comfortable with that because they say that LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. But Tim points out that if you were in person with a prospect, you build a relationship by taking them to a meal or a football game. You have conversations about life and family. Why wouldn’t you do the same on social media? You need to build content around what you stand for. Humanized content is the way to get the most engagement.
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