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Shane Gibson teaching Social Selling at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, photo by Dennis Wilson @smallbizdream

Shane Gibson at the Vancouver Board of Trade Thrive Breakfast

Full house and then some for this talk.

I’ve been a member of the Board of Trade for 21 years, and this has been incredible for me as a member. I’m still old school, I like to meet people in person, but let’s talk about social selling.

Why did Microsoft buy LinkedIn, especially for all that money? “It helps us differentiate our CRM product with social selling.” Microsoft is hedging their bets that the sphere of social selling, it’s worth $26 billion. So you might want to look at what organizations like MS are doing. I’m pretty excited to see what they’re doing with this, they may jump ahead of Salesforce and others.

There are 1.4 billion people on Facebook: frat party meets family reunion, is the culture there. FB as a networking tool is quite powerful. It is the MOST connected social networking platform on the planet. I can search my friend’s friends who work for, say Oracle, see which ones who are in Vancouver, then reach out to my friends and ask for an introduction. We look at FB as something we consume, but it’s really a great networking tool.

300 million active users on LinkedIn including every Fortune 500 exec in the world. It’s also one of the most accurate sources of information.

Marketers love to talk about landing pages, and their LinkedIn page is a personal landing page. Amp it up, this might be the first interaction experience anyone has of you.

Twitter has 400 million updates per day. The most open social networking platform, you can meet anyone. You can just ask a question of anyone. It’s all fine. You can really drill down and find specific people, types of people.

Instagram: You can showcase your personality here. You can lifestream using short videos and photos. I was sitting with a Senior VP and the first thing she asked me “Where’s that lake you were hiking at last week?” The business conversation started at the personal level, and that is easier to do business. Tell your personal story in a relevant, articulate way, especially if you are reaching out to a younger audience.

Now you’re gonna have to learn Snapchat and the rest to reach kids, they move on. Us old people can use Instagram.

Jim Keenan is part of a network of sales authors that support one another. He studied 500+ sales pros: those with a strong social media aptitude were 6x more likely to exceed quota than others.

A key aspect as a sales pro: salespeople need to think more like marketers and vice versa. We need to connect: marketing needs to give quality leads, sales people can’t just sit there waiting for a fishbowl of cards. A lead today is you on LinkedIn sharing a photo of you at this event and someone else hops in and comments “I’m sad I missed that event” and that’s the start of the conversation. You can follow up by LinkedIn messaging, then have a coffee with them…that’s how a lead happens today, through social signals. And we connect on social through being a thought leader.

The goal as a thought leader is to be a magnetic salesperson, drawing people towards you. You create or curate relevant content around your area of expertise. Now there’s lots of people curating and creating who are just lonely people on the internet. We need to have relevant, engaging conversations. It’s bi-directional conversations, not yelling at the world. Not a broadcast opportunity. The real ROI is the conversation channel. And then you build community. Do something bigger than yourself, find multiple opportunities to pull people together. Holding events; a blog can do that, even a FB page. Pull likeminded people together, generate value added content. As a sales pro, to rise above the crowd, look at how you can position yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise.

The sales funnel nowadays is: The Five Stages of Consent.

Jay Conrad Levinson is the best-selling marketing author in history. He said, “The most valuable thing you can have from a customer is CONSENT.”

In the automotive business today, the average consumer spends 11 hours online and only 3.5 hours offline, including going to the dealership.

It starts with Discovery: do people know you exist. Are you on Google Places, Yelp, etc? Is your LI profile optimized? Are you sharing and creating great content that helps other people discover you.

Discovery -> Consumption -> Interaction -> Connection -> Consent

Too often we jump from Discovery to the pitch. AutoDMs with “buy my product” are an example of that.

When I look on the internet, and I see those little eggs, or a picture of your product instead of an actual portrait of you, I’m like “I don’t want to talk to a jar on the internet” and yet this person’s wondering why nobody’s talking to them. It’s like going to an event like this with a paper bag on your head.

The first thing we do nowadays when we get a business card, you google them. We all do it. And what’s there, what do you see? Make sure your pages are filled out, optimized.

Steve’s social graph: he realized he had to take proactive steps to amp up his personal and business profile. It didn’t take long, and now the first image that pops up is a professional portrait. His party photos are way down on the 3rd page of Google. This kind of thing can make a big difference to whether people do business with you or not.

Being discoverable:

  • Complete social media profiles
  • Being active socially (online and off)
  • Have you posted yet today?
  • Guest blogging/writing
  • Press Releases
  • Google places/local
  • SEO

Nowadays when you appear in or release a press release, LI tells all your connections.

Jesse Vu as an example: she’s got three recent articles on LI pulse. A way to interact with her on the same platform as I connected with her on. You don’t have to leave her profile to see how credible she is.

Nurtured leads are 47% more likely to close than others. Also bigger sales!

Content ideas: look at the commonest questions from your customers, and there is your topic list. Facebook live feeds can be informal and accessible. Share other people’s stuff, curate the best research and share it once a week, nobody has time to find it all themselves. Roundups are similar, list the best blog posts on your topic. Hire someone like Lorraine to sit there and write and literally liveblog the whole presentation. You can pay someone to take a recorded interview and turn it into an edited video, audio podcast, blog post, etc.

Ideally don’t spend more than an hour on any of these suggestions. Twice a week is adequate.

Here’s Darcy: he’s enthusiastic, rambunctious. He was selling 12-13 cars a month, he was close to being on his way out. He had an awakening meeting with his manager, and attended my sales training session. He heard one thing: just share the behind the scenes stories at the dealership so that people who know me know where I work, what I do. Once a day he’d do FB live video, instagram video, etc. Just little stories. He wasn’t doing a hard sell, but people would message him on FB or wherever and ask him questions. They knew he was in the business, and knew he was approachable. He went up to 35 cars a month. He just took ONE piece of this message and leveraged it.

Conversation: Peter Aceto is the CEO of Tangerine bank. On LI, I commented on his article, I forget which. Then he responded, I replied, and that’s how we got into conversation, and on Twitter. Then we ended up having dinner with him, then he sponsored one of our conferences in Vancouver, then I helped him organize his book launch here, then we hiked the Grind, he hasn’t forgiven me for that. But the lesson is, people are open to connecting.

When you initially connect with someone, don’t pitch them. “I see you’re from Idaho in the insurance business?” and they’ll answer back and you get into a conversation. Don’t be “Hi, here’s my ebook!”

  • Stop pitching start connecting
  • doers win social media
  • it’s not about you
  • be fearless in your contribution to community
  • don’t be a social spammer, engage
  • be authentic
  • be consisten
  • amplify through community
  • get sociable!

Tip: Nimble: it’s a great social manager, a great social CRM. “Automagically” finds all your profiles, etc. It’s a great way to organize yourself.

  • Focus on the new sales funnel
  • Work leads through social proximity
  • Community + Content + Conversations
  • Use a social CRM like Nimble
  • Devote the time for daily disciplines.

The bottom line is: Talking to people on the internet.