I was very fortunate to be invited by LinkedIn to do a keynote speech at its first ever social selling summit, INtro: Elevating Sales, held in Singapore on 18 June, 2015. To say I was anxious about delivering this to such a senior sales audience is an understatement, however the main reason for my anxiety was because I just didn’t know how the message would resonate. I put hearts and lots of lovey stuff in my deck… but for good reason.
Working as part of a content agency, one of the most critical things for Novus Asia is not just creating mind-blowing content for our clients. We must also help our clients succeed in making sure the content gets out there into the world, in front of their customers. The best way for that to happen is for businesses to embrace and create a culture of employee brand advocates. This means getting as many employees as possible participating on social media to build their personal profiles and their brand profiles. People trust people not brands.
But you can’t just train people to do this. One of my concerns is that many people are being “trained” to use social selling tools, and the way information is being shared today shows all of us how that’s going. It’s not real, it’s not genuine, it’s not authentic.
The truth is, audiences are turning off, because, let’s face it, there’s much better information to consume. From K-pop to the latest antics of Justin Bieber or the Kadashians, all of our customers are consuming a vast array of information, but they are being entertained too. We’ve got to be in the mix of that world, not the previous world where they come to us. That doesn’t happen until they’re 90% of the way through the decision-making process today.
That’s why I talk a lot about heart and creating a “Giving Economy”. I absolutely believe that people do need to be trained to become employee brand advocates, using their personal brand for the benefit of the company and vice versa. But they also need to be inspired. They need to understand that there is something very special in it for them — if they harness this opportunity with a giving mindset at the core.
When I first started doing this myself a decade ago, there were no return-on-investment statistics backing up why it was a good idea to grow my business and my personal brand. I just knew it was the right thing to do. Today, the stats prove that social employees — especially sales people — are more successful (78% more successful) than those who are not harnessing the power of social selling.
But to do this well, we have to be amazing. We have to share special information. That’s what this new world is about, and that’s why content must be at the heart of all business today.
It was a great session — nerve-wracking, but great — so thank-you LinkedIn (Krishna Zulkarnain and Shweta Verma in particular) for the opportunity. According to some of the direct feedback, my touchy-feely words resonated with the business audience. I was pretty relieved about that.