How to drive sales with social selling and personal branding

Daniel Disney, Founder, The Daily Sales

Marcus Cauchi, Founder, ScaleUp & Hypergrowth Podcast

Justin Michael, Technologist & Consultant, Justin Michael Consulting

Wendy van Gilst, Client Solutions Manager, LinkedIn

People want to hear stories

As a salesman you’re irrelevant. 

The customer is the only hero in the buying process and you need to place them at the centre of every sales narrative.

Their attention as a buyer is a commodity and the uneven battleground you’re fighting on.

You need to understand them intimately enough to validate what they’re thinking and then fascinate them with the promised land of what you’re providing.

Selling is the same as good storytelling and a universal framework to apply to your content is ask: 

Does it encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, or help them throw rocks at their enemies?

If the customer is the hero, then the leer of vanity metrics, engagement pods, and clickbait, are the villains of social selling. 

Be wary of them.

The buyer is watching

Your ideal customer profile is tucked away within your total addressable market and it’s them, and only them, that you should be speaking to.

Not the 20,000 connections you have that might send you an emoji of engagement, but the 3% of them that will open their chequebook.

Buyer decisions are nurtured across time and social selling shouldn’t be constructed with the aim of being a transactional sale. 

It’s also something that will be derailed by militant measurement and accountability. 

If you’re collecting 10,000 views and sub 50 likes, then who else is watching from the sidelines and how is it moving their decision? They don’t have to be engaging to be agreeing.

Know who your ideal customer profiles are, map those individuals, connect with them, and be confident and intentional in creating content that speaks to them.

They might not be engaging, but a year or two down the line it might be the continued value that breaks through.

The LinkedIn Algorithm…

It’s not the Enigma code and breaking it won’t uncover some revolutionary hack to accelerate your post to LinkedIn fame.

Don’t overly concern yourself with it. 

Bear in mind that Google tweaks its SEO sauce over 500 times a year and second-guessing a moving target is unlikely to pay dividends.

Focus on the value and authenticity of your content and use your anecdotal experience with LinkedIn to suss what’s being received well. Then adopt it.

LinkedIn is a member-centric platform with a mission to better connect its people and improve their productivity for success. 

Think like LinkedIn and align your content to what keeps members engaged and interacting on your content and LinkedIn will do the rest.

You don’t need a hack, simply find a way to be interesting and find a way to be interested in your audience.

The redundant CMO

Last year businesses pumped north of £260bn into Facebook and Google Ads in exchange for a single click of engagement on their content.

LinkedIn, email marketing, and lazy approaches with automation have become saturated with businesses talking about their solutions, instead of starting conversations with their customers. 

Have our marketing channels become too clogged by companies feature dumping and solution-splaining what they do?

You’re completely missing potential revenue every time you fall into this trap when speaking with the customer.

Is PPC and email marketing still effective or is the whole mousetrap being built the wrong way – put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and how often it’s worked on you?

How many times have you bought an Amazon product lower than three stars? It’s customer-driven-content and peer-to-peer reviews that make the buying decision stronger.

There’s pay-time and then there’s content-time

One of the panellists may have been responsible for the million-pound social message, but they’re also unlikely to advocate chasing a silver bullet in sales.

Building a personal brand to fuel social selling is not an overnight manoeuvre. It takes time, consistency, accuracy, guidance, and revision.

There’s more than enough hours to balance your outbound sales calls and content creation for social selling.

Step outside of the status-quo and challenge the myths so that your content is worth listening to.

When you start climbing the engagement ladder, manage your time by qualifying those interacting to tailor responses to.

Where is LinkedIn taking us?

Our forced shift to remote work has evidenced the opportunity that virtual selling has in reducing the cost of pursuit in sales and accelerating the conversations. 

Fibre Optics travels a lot faster than a plane with your best salesmen on board. Especially at enterprise level, where the costs climb into seven figures to pursue buying committees.

LinkedIn has the technology to capitalise and explore collaborative video conferencing. It’s a question of how quickly they can transition towards it.

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Calum Morrison

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