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There are a few different understandings of social selling. I must admit this book is about my least favorite definition. I should backtrack a bit. Social Selling, the book not the process, is Tim Hughes’ first book and co-written with Matt Reynolds. It’s about the different tools and tactics salespeople can now use to initiate the sales process. It’s qualifying leads and the cold call.
I tried very hard to like this book, but I quickly realized I’m not the target audience. So I put myself in the perceived target audiences’ shoes and continued reading. After all, it’s Tim Hughes (whom I follow and respect on Twitter), social media and sales. All powerful and important things.
Someone in the target audience could probably appreciate the book more than I. I can see how it would be a useful start, mostly.
Who is the Target Audience?
Old-school sales representatives. I want to leave my personal dislike of this sales method out of this, but it just won’t happen. There are still the sales reps who come out in teams, throw a heap of fluffy jargon around, and expect you to sign on the dotted line. They still see B2B and B2C as being things. This book is for them.
What’s Social Selling?
In Social Selling, Tim Hughes introduces a few new concepts and practices to these dinosaurs. And I’m thankful he does. In the book, we learn that social media lets us see into the lives of our prospects. Tim recommends using that someone likes kittens as a rapport builder if you saw that on their Twitter feed. Perhaps they went to the same college as you. You can see that on their LinkedIn page and mention the connection in your cold call.
You learn what each social media network is, and how to use them, both for branding and relationship building. Also about influencers: what they are and how to work with them. The influencers section gave me a little concern. My perceived target audience is used to things being black and white. Do X get Y result. I’m not sure they’ll understand you can’t throw money at an influencer and get sales. It’s more subtle and the influencer may refuse. There’s more than one recommendation to use Klout to screen influencers and prospects. Less said on that the better.
Social Selling also gets a little confusing with its focus. It jumps from company level selling to individual sales rep activity, and then back again. It also uses repetition to confirm the different uses of social media platforms, but it felt repetitious. Probably good for the target audience, though.
Who Should Read Social Selling?
If you’re a sales rep who has been using the same processes for the last 30 years, read this now. Then read Bryan Kramer’s Human to Human, and then anything you can find on personalization and one-to-one selling.
Thanks to Kogan Page for the complimentary copy.