A few weeks ago, I had a chance to speak with Mario Martinez Jr., CEO of M3Jr Growth Strategies and one of the leading experts in Social Selling. He said something that illustrates the current struggles salespeople face.
"The modern buyer has changed, but sales tactics and leaders have not," he said. "Buyers are now socially, digitally, and mobile-enabled. They explore, evaluate, and are willing to engage in an entirely new way."
From early in his career Mario knew he had a unique ability to relate to people. During his 18 years in sales, he has witnessed a shift as his industry moved away from cold calls, spray and pray email blasting, direct mail pieces, and embraced social networking as a new way to engage potential customers clearer, faster, and better. In fact, some 57 percent to 75 percent of the buying journey is now done online.
Mario formed M3Jr Growth Strategies to teach social sales skills that caters to the evolving behavior of buyers. "I provide the leadership needed to help people and businesses of any size, develop and implement a Social Selling strategy, which creates quantifiable sales results," said Mario. "I also help organization's sr. leadership to drive top performance out of themselves and their teams through Social Selling."
As a Sales Leader, if you are turning your back on the concepts of social selling, this may be the reason your phone isn't ringing. Here are three things you are doing wrong and how you can make it right.
1. Networking is more than just hitting 'Likes'
The name of the game in today's sales arena is knowing the contact before you engage with them. Much of Mario's success in achieving a 99 out of 100 score on LinkedIn's Social Selling Index is because he uses LinkedIn to socially engage or connect to his buyers by understanding their positions, viewpoints and / or questions which they may post via this social networking site.
"It's not just about hitting 'Like' on a post. I'll add comments that provide answers to their questions, and I will often refer them to other contacts that may be able to help with a concern," said Mario. The goal is to help. When Mario has potential buyers in mind, he reads their published articles and follows their profile, then he comments on that post and refers to a particular point he enjoyed, can expand on or attempts to add value to the discussion. "That comment sets the stage for future contacts and puts me ahead of the competition whose pounding away on the buyer's phone or email with next to no response," he said. Mario says "the idea is to be seen as a resource or thought leader to your buyer."
To "new school" for you? Think again. LinkedIn performed a study that showed 92 percent of B2B buyers would likely engage with a sales representative who is a known industry thought leader. Mario's own personal story of how he formed M3Jr Growth Strategies, is a perfect example of how establishing yourself as a thought leader can lead to amazing opportunities!
2. With social selling-yes, it's personal.
Throughout his career, Mario has discovered a way to embrace the changing trends in selling. What makes Mario so good at what he does is that he combines leveraging Social Selling with the "old school" personal touch that buyers still seek. Buyers enjoy sharing tips about their hobbies, and they like it when someone takes an interest in them and or their family. These are the types of conversations, which contribute to a strong business relationship.
He added, "The sales leadership team needs to own social selling. They need to own how they grow the business and drive adoption of techniques and cadences through the organization. Sales Leaders need to be front and center in both engagement and connecting with buyers. Sales Leaders need to lead by example in not only building their brand but that of the company."
He reminds us to keep our ultimate goal in mind. "Remember, your goal is to take every online conversation to offline. Make sure you are not just 'liking' and 'sharing,' but connecting and mapping valuable content so the modern buyer can get to know you and the business problem you help solve."
3. Don't rely on a conventional approach to achieve unconventional goals
Achieving your sales goals often requires a fresh approach. "Ninety-nine percent of the time when I speak to a sales leader, they haven't brought in a sales lead in months or even years, and they have little to no social engagement with buying communities," said Mario. "But social selling can allow sales leaders to manage their teams and get to the modern buyer while enabling a social army of salespeople.
As a man not known for his convention, Mario's approach to building relationships starts with a different perspective. For him, this business isn't about collecting contacts. It requires more than that. Rather it's about nurturing those contacts and establishing a feeling of trust. Mario positions himself not only as a fan of potential buyers by sharing comments about their published work, but he presents plenty of content of his own on LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social platforms, thus establishing himself as a reliable source on sales, leadership, social selling and management. This strategy also invites others to share viewpoints based on his content too.
Because of his Social Selling expertise and the above-mentioned advice, Mario was asked to be a Keynote Breakout Speaker at LinkedIn Sales Connect in Oct. 2015, where he showed 100′s of other sales & marketing leaders how to develop a strategy, launch, and drive 100% rep adoption of Social Selling within a sales organization. What's notable is that he was able to drive over $2 million in revenue attributed to social selling in four months. Within eight months, the program was able to drive a 50% increase in company social shares on LinkedIn alone.
Now is the time to activate your social sales routine. Show your teams or peers the way to engaged social selling by redefining your networking strategies, taking ownership of social selling, and exploring unconventional strategies that cater to unique customer relationships. Then watch your sales numbers skyrocket as you connect, engage, and provide insightful content to the modern buyer. If a five year old can understand Social Selling, so can you!