At 12:01 AM, on August 1, 1981, a revolution quietly began. It was a revolution in the music industry.
At that exact time and date, MTV played their first music video, Video Killed the Radio Star, by a band called The Buggles. The song’s lyrics described how video would kill the radio celebrity.
Up until that time, radio was the medium of choice for musicians. TV was around but no one had thought to make “music videos.” Or, no one had executed on the idea well.
The entire generation of MTV viewers in the '80s experienced something that no one else in human history had -- the ability to engage with music by using two of their senses (hearing and sight). Music videos were a revolutionary development that changed the music industry forever.
Social Selling Killed the Cold Call
In the sales profession, a similar shift is occuring. Although people still cold call, there’s really no more need to.
This is something you’ll get tons of free info on at The Social Selling Summit on September 1st. However, let me define the term “cold call” before the cold calling mafia piles on this post with declarations of anger and fury!
Cold calling is not the same as phone calling. No one is saying the phone shouldn’t be used in sales and that sales occur over LinkedIn and in 140 characters on Twitter. Of course you need the phone … it’s a communication tool! When I say "social selling killed the cold call," I’m talking about how the phone should be used.
Consider the following questions:
Should the phone be used to blindly call people you don’t know?
Should be phone be used as a tool to interrupt people?
See where I’m getting at? So, cold calling is the act of calling people without any (pertinent) information about them with the result of adding virtually no value.
Here’s the reality: Social media and the internet allow you to research your buyers, their companies, industries, etc., so thoroughly that there’s no reason for you to call without relevance or context.
Should you call? Of course -- that’s what we do, we’re in sales! But why call without being fully prepared?
Flex Your Information Muscle (Your Buyers Are)
Information and technology have always disrupted traditional marketplaces. Everyone wants access to information to better shape their decisions. The allure of new technology is nothing new.
Social media gives salespeople access to information about their prospects like never before. But it's not just a one way street. Don’t forget the flip side of this coin -- buyers can (and do) research you!
In a leading study of sales performance by Dr. Mark N. Tuggle at The Sales Conservatory, top social sellers discussed their ability to use social to accelerate their sales process, but also revealed that they learned buyers were much more prone to research them. This is immensely powerful.
Research and access to information is not only the right of the seller -- it’s the right of the buyer as well. They’re researching you. What does your online brand say about you?
With this in mind, if you’re not actively providing insights and information, you diminish your chances of becoming a resource for your prospects.
The Bottom Line
There's nothing preventing us from researching our buyers, especially using information that’s so publically available. Remember our sales managers always telling us “know everything you can about the buyer”? It was because more information brings more context and relevance to our sales conversations.
The beauty is, this information exists online. And it’s also being used in reverse by our buyers to research us.
So, are you in or out? You can learn more about this topic at the Social Selling Summit on Sept. 1st, 2015. Register here.
Originally published Aug 27, 2015 7:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017