3 Sales Lessons from The Amazing Race

Online sales strategy can be its own Amazing Race. Use these social selling tips from the popular reality show to strengthen your social selling and avoid road blocks.

October 12, 2014

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The twenty-fifth ‘trip’ of the long-running reality competition The Amazing Race premieres this fall. The show pits teams of two against each other in a race around the world, complete with various physical and mental challenges. Contestants face various fears and risks along the way, including communication barriers and unfamiliar environments as they zig zag across the globe.

Selling online can be its own Amazing Race, except we don't (necessarily) have to eat bizarre foods or skydive off of a Vegas hotel to reach our goals.

Still, there are certain similarities between the show and the fast-paced world of social sales. Here's some social selling tips you can learn from the Amazing Race:

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

The teams who win work together. And those who lose are known to get caught up in internal struggles and poor communication.

The struggle for team harmony is not unique to reality TV competitions. In fact, the power of the individual sales rep has diminished – CEB noted that the impact of their employees’ “network performance” increased from 22% to 49% over ten years, while individual performance dropped over 25% in the same span.

Put simply, the individual no longer rules on the most effective sales teams. Prevailing over outdated selling strategies requires a dedicated investment in team-based prospecting, where members share information communally and gain valuable insights from each other during the research phase.

Teams can utilize the following resources within TeamLink and the new Sales Navigator to encourage team-based sales collaboration:

  • Common Connections: Identify who you have in common and then ask your fellow team members to provide a warm introduction.
  • New Connections: Import your Salesforce activity into the new Sales Navigator’s CRM Widgets. Then, cross-reference with your team’s network and document newly-generated connections.
  • Social Proximity: Combine your efforts with other reps that have pre-existing social connections with the prospect organization.

Prepare for Detours

In each leg, teams prepare for a Detour challenge. These challenges test strength and endurance, timing, aim, and appetite.

Preparing for Detours is vital in sales prospecting as well. That way, you are prepared for the unexpected.

For example, do you have a plan in place for when your main contact leaves the company you are trying to close?

Here are some points to keep in mind when preparing for the unexpected:

  • Response Plans: Draft a response plan for several common events, like job changes or when prospects make the news.  For job changes, a response plan might include names of additional contacts and template InMails to establish a new connection.
  • Search Filters: If the prospect suddenly changes course with their messaging strategy, you’ll need to adjust your filters to match. When a prospect is filling roles from job changes, refresh your Premium Search function filters as existing roles are filled.
  • Build Templates: Pre-written InMails and updates can allow for instant communication after a trigger event. Just make sure to modify the templates with event-specific information before sending them. For job changes, craft a template that mentions the job change, while offering next steps for both teams to take with new contacts.

Remember the Clues

It happens often that teams fail to solve challenges because they didn't read the clues thoroughly. The show even created a hashtag (#ReadTheClue) to highlight discussion over the tendency to miss insights sitting in front of them.

The simple truth is that you need to read the clues your prospects are leaving you. Clues are everywhere, including their social updates, how they interact within LinkedIn groups, and what content drives them to engage.

As you start to build your strategy, make sure to read the clues from initial audience insights:

  • Purchase Habits: Senior executives are more likely to use social media for purchasing than managers or lower levels.
  • Develop Alerts: Tailor your alerts to deliver information that helps you take action.
  • Vendor Recommendations: See how the competition is doing by reading prospect recommendations on their Company Pages.
  • 3rd Degree Connections: Look for highly active 3rd degree connections within your prospect company. Then, check with your team to see if anybody has a closer connection with those active users.
  • Timing: Watch for mentions of specific pain points before responding with targeted solutions. A recent IDC study found that 71% of B2B buyers rejected a sales connection because it wasn’t the right time for the solution. Prospects are open to direct connections when the timing is right and the information is immediately relevant.

Winning teams have the same basic principles in common: they work together, they prepare for the unexpected, and they read the clues from their audience. Whether you’re racing around the globe or navigating the world of social selling, being prepared is essential.

In social sales, every day presents a new Amazing Race – and the payout potential can be far greater than relying on traditional sales techniques. Start your race by downloading our latest eBook and visit us on Twitter @LinkedInSelling for more insights.

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