I recently read an article from one of my latest connections on LinkedIn. He revealed that he had found a CEO who not only didn't have a LinkedIn account, (having chosen to close it) but more importantly had some pretty strong views that LinkedIn is for LinkedIn SEO's, CV Writers and that "real people are wasting their time chatting about nothing!"
What's the point?
She went on to say that "One cold call is more efficient than 20 posts and it takes much less time. Linkedin’s Gurus will tell you what you want to hear."
She finished by saying that she advises to "Get out there and do your homework in real life. Business rules are the same and never change, if you call me and visit me enough then I will buy from you.... this is the only branding you need to feed your family, anything else is B.S!”
Like I said, strong views right?
Understandably this gave my new connection pause for thought. He began to solicit the advice of his network asking them if any of them had found any selling or job success on LinkedIn.
Well, I reflected on this and I think that although I can understand the CEO's perspective and my connection's need to ask. This is definitely not a simple issue to unpack.
Here is my take on it
Firstly I think this is a provocative subject indeed. I think that for those who make the effort to network effectively and connect on Linkedin it can be an effective tool to increase exposure to either themselves, their business or their brand. For many, however, it is just a place of noise where the expectation is merely to click like and for many others, there is no engagement at all.
The modern sales process
The modern sales process involves more (in my opinion), then just picking up the phone. Indeed the phone is but one tool and not necessarily the first one.
How many busy business people like to be contacted by people who know nothing about them because they've not taken the time to find out anything about them before trying to sell to them?
Frankly, as somebody who has come from a background of cold calling in my time, social media has changed the game.
I don't need to tell you that the idea of communicating with an individual on multiple platforms inevitably results in a stronger relationship than engaging with them on just one. Then again, maybe I do. Maybe that's the point.
Could that be the missing piece of the puzzle?
Equally, we know that people like to do business with people that they know like and trust. How does this happen? They don't necessarily like to be sold to. Wouldn't you prefer to do business with people you could consider friends? If not friends, certainly people whom you'd consider have gained your trust? For example, if you ask a question where you're asking for a recommendation of a product or service you are far more likely to take action or respond if the answer is coming from a friend or colleague than from a dozen companies or Salespeople phoning you up saying they are the right choice for you.
Would you agree? Isn't this more time consuming for both the salesperson and the customer? It's one of the single most hated aspects of cold calling on both sides of the fence, isn't it?
This is the power of social selling, which I would make great pains to explain is far more than just the use of LinkedIn (as so many misunderstand). At the risk of turning this into a novel, I feel I've made my point, and would certainly welcome your comments below or if you're interested in a deeper conversation feel free to get in touch.