Traditional Selling Vs Social Selling

July 20, 2017

We live in exciting times. We live in an era where almost all industries are being disrupted by technology in some way shape or form.

Daily we read news about a new technology being launched that can replace the need for humans driving cars, detect diseases with more accuracy than doctors and robots that replace the need for manual farming. There are not many occupations that aren’t affected by some new technology whether it’s 3D printing, artificial intelligence or robotics.

And the sales industry is no different. So in this article we are going to talk about Traditional Selling vs Social Selling, how things have changed, and what you can do to equip yourself for success in the modern era of sales.

Traditional Sales

We’ve discussed traditional sales in previous articles, but we’ll briefly talk about it again to give you context for the rest of the article. Traditionally sales have been like an arm wrestle, an interested person would come for more information about a product or service. Or alternatively, the sales person would reach out cold to an ideal prospect whether that’s by phone or in person.

The salesperson would give the prospect information on the product or service but lead them towards buying the product or service from them by tying the benefits back to how it can positively affect their lives. The sales person gets a commission on the sale, so even though the product or service is unsuitable for the buyer they could influence the purchase just to get their commission.

This then creates a poor perception around sales as we’ve probably all been convinced to buy something we shouldn’t have by someone who couldn’t deliver, but was a good salesperson. Therefore traditionally we have been at the mercy of the sales person to trust what they say about the product or service, which has many times left people unsatisfied if the purchase wasn’t what they had expected it to be.

Now the information age and social media has given a lot more power back to the buyer… Often the buyer is coming into the sales conversation with more information and therefore the sales process has had to change from a push conversation to a one to one consultative approach.

The new aged salesperson has had to add other strings to add to their bow in order to get the sale. This is where social selling has developed.

Social Selling

In case you’re unaware Social Selling is the art of finding, engaging and building a meaningful relationship with your target market to get them into the start of your sales process. We’ve written an article you can see here called ‘What the FEC is Social Selling’ for more information. This is one of the new strings salespeople need to add to their bow (in particular in B2B sales).

Traditional forms of selling are far becoming a wasteland, look at cold calling for example, on average it takes 18 or more calls to get in front of someone now. Which shows this traditional method of selling is fast becoming obsolete.

Social Selling is all about creating relationships with people so they ultimately want to buy from you as they ‘like’ you compared to other people with similar products. People no longer buy into product or services, they buy into the people behind the products or services.

So the salespeople who are effectively building quality relationships with prospects before and during the sales process are the ones who are seeing the most results. And where is the best place to build a relationship before the sales process begins? Social Media of course as that is where people are spending their time online – it’s where the attention is.

As we spoke about earlier, prospects often come into sales conversations with more knowledge than the sales person. And the stats support this, 75% of all buying decisions are now made before the sales process starts. Those leveraging Social Selling effectively are the ones who are going to do well in the future of sales.

According to a study by LinkedIn salespeople leveraging social selling effectively create 45% more sales opportunities than those that don’t. As well as that they are 51% more likely to hit their quota and they are outselling their peers who are using traditional sales by a whopping 78%.

The Future

So if this is how things are looking now, only expect an increase in this as sales armageddon hits. The sales armageddon for people in this industry is Artificial Intelligence.

A study by Forrester predicted that 1 million B2B sales people will lose their jobs to self-service e-commerce by 2020. So if half the jobs are lost who would be the first to go?

Well, the ones who aren’t performing and as the stats show us – that’s the people unwilling to start leveraging Social Selling. They are stuck in the comfortable place of doing what they know, thinking they are safe.

But from a buyer’s position, wouldn’t you rather deal with an artificial intelligence that can help you make an informed decision based on the information at hand. Rather than it trying to pressure you into a sale to get a commission.

So if you’re in sales the decision is yours whether to take the plunge and decide to learn everything there is to know about social selling and see your sales results improve dramatically. Or you could keep doing what you are doing, stay comfortable.

Just like taxi drivers who are now struggling for work when Uber first came out. Or the Luddites from the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s who lost their jobs to fast, cost effective machinery.

History tells us that skills & industries can fast become obsolete when something faster, better and stronger comes along. So the choice is yours on which side you want to be on. The progressive or the obsolete.

A great place to start is by reading our blogs or following influencers on LinkedIn in Social Selling. If not from us then do your research and start learning this key skill that’s going to positively affect your sales abilities well into the future and beyond.

Hope you have enjoyed the article and has provided you with some food for thought when it comes to traditional sales and the rise of social selling. And if you’re concerned whether if you go out and market yourself on LinkedIn alone you may make mistakes then it’s always best to work with experts to ensure things are rolled out successfully. When venturing into anything new that is going to be so critical for your business it’s not worth the risk to your company and personal brand.

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Stephen Brookes

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