In a recent post (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-explain-social-selling-your-grandparents-jill-rowley?trk=prof-post) she suggests that it is up to the social media hipsters to clue-in their elders about the mysteries of successful selling when she writes, "It’s not about fans and followers, likes and retweets, clicks and favorites and shares. It’s about pipeline and revenue. It’s a new channel - a new way - to build better relationships with your customers." I couldn't agree more. That is a message I deliver when I teach and speak to audiences who want to learn more about how to benefit from social media. My advice: move past the introduction to the relationship by demonstrating the value you provide.
There is little doubt that accumulating likes, tweets, etc. bumps up your status and overall presence online. So, it is a means to the end: engagement. When you learn from folks like Jill how to build a social media presence, you are putting your career on steroids ... and expanding your opportunities dramatically faster than we could have ever done "back in the day."
However, putting trust ahead of selling is not a new concept that must be taught to your grandparents. We sexagenarians and beyond learned the importance of being trustworthy back when "social" simply meant living together productively.
Take a look at this classic scene from Glengarry Glen Ross, where actor Alec Baldwin screams, "Coffee is for closers!" [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kZg_ALxEz0] Warning: Rough Language. I show this clip in sales training sessions as a means to illustrate why people distrust sales people. A veteran sales trainer told me, "I don't want to be sold, I want you to walk me through the buying process." Your grandparents have learned this lesson the hard way. As sales researcher Neil Rackham (1988) discovered: "Closing techniques, like all forms of pressure, become less effective as decision size increases" (p. 34). That was research from nearly 30 years ago.
To Jill's point using contemporary social / digital media can really expand the effectiveness of reach, but it can also expand one's ability to understand a prospect's needs, too. Be a thought leader. Be a resource in helping the customer articulate their needs. Your grandparents learned this is essential to earning trust and effective selling.
As Jill Rowley asserts, "When you are selling, it pays to use the best sales tools available. Today, that means using social networks." Absolutely, at the same time I will suggest that your grandparents may know this better than you. That is because they have looked someone in the eye only to discover a timeless message that any attempt to sell, if detected, meets immediate resistance. Social selling, as Jill calls it, works on many levels. But first it is social and that is about understanding how to build engagement.
MORE ON ENGAGEMENT IN MY NEXT POST!
Rackham, N. (1988) SPIN Selling. New York: McGraw-Hill.