5 Sales Tips If You're Stuck in Days of Future Past

Social selling can bring old-school and new-school together, much like the mutants in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

May 23, 2014

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The X-Men film "Days of Future Past" aims to connect generations of mutants together - using their combined strength and insights to prevent the extinction of the mutant species.

Your sales team likely has a similar makeup of both old and new. Do you have a mix of traditional sellers and new-age social sellers?

Melding these two approaches together can help crush sales goals – but you'll need participation from all parties for the strategy to work.

X-Men and Brotherhood members alike must put aside differences for a larger goal. Here's are some sales tips to convince your team to do the same.

Show the numbers

Alliances forged in the X-Men movie bring the experienced mutants together with their younger selves to fight a common enemy. Elder knowledge is combined with youthful abilities to create a formidable combination.

This can work the same way with your old-school sales pros and new-school social sellers. The numbers favor social selling in the digital age – but the personal connections forged in the traditional selling process are still very valuable.

Eighty-two percent of the world’s online population is using social networking sites – that alone shows the need for a sophisticated social selling plan. Still, there is a wealth of knowledge available – even for the greenest of social sellers. Sales managers can get traditional and social sellers to work together by training everyone on the changing personas of today’s buyer:

  • Identify the social and interpersonal factors that drive today’s buyer. The modern B2B prospect is digitally-driven and socially-connected, but still craves relationship-building and long-term development.
  • Show them examples of how both methods have produced results in the past, and have them work to merge the productive tactics.
  • Give traditional reps a clear definition of Social ROI – influence makes a huge difference online.

Explain how one side can benefit the other

Younger X-Men and Brotherhood members are often irresponsible with their powers, using them to impress others rather than help people in need. The wise advice of the older mutants helps reign in the wild passions of younger minds.

Sending an introductory InMail is one of the first steps in the social selling process, but sellers shouldn’t end the process there. Experienced reps will tell you that selling isn’t about making a connection for the sake of it – it’s about identifying several people within a company to make the selling process more effective. This is the multi-threading approach to selling, and it helps maintain prospect relations when staff changes occur.

The age of social selling has reinforced the need for peer-to-peer (or human-to-human) selling. Whether the initial contact occurs from a trade show introduction or a warm social lead, the goal is to develop a personal relationship.

Traditional selling reps hold many years of experience in defining value, so utilize their insights to craft better social interactions. Play to their strengths and leverage their knowledge to influence younger, less-experienced sellers.

Identify influencers within your company to bridge the gap

Professor X and Magneto have mentored their respective alliances for most of the comic’s lifespan. Each elder mutant is held in high regard by less-experienced members, and their knowledge is utilized to further the mutant cause (for good or ill).

If there are influencers within your company who are already active on social, use their activities as examples to help your sales teams understand and implement best practices.

You can even create a regular training plan to leverage influencer knowledge with less-experienced sales reps. This social “buddy system” could consist of weekly/monthly training sessions, where mentors coach mentees on the importance of strong social presence and the most effective tactics for prospect engagement.

Learn why senior decision-makers use LinkedIn for social buying with our infographic, and follow us on Twitter @LinkedInSelling for more social selling perspectives.

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