I received a call last week from a lady who was interested in attending one of my public courses. She told me that she was interested in my LinkedIn for Business Success course because she had read on my website that that if she came on my course she would “never have to cold call again”.
I had to inform her that unfortunately she was mistaken as I knew I would never have written that on my website … you see, I hate the hyperbole that all too often gets written, overstating what LinkedIn can deliver.
“So, you’re telling me it isn’t true then?” she asked.
This was the moment when I had to ask myself if I should just stick my salesman’s hat on and go for it … or stick to my principles.
I stuck to my principles.
“No, it’s not true,” I replied. “At least not quite in the way you are looking for.”
It doesn’t feel good to deflate people’s expectations, particularly when they think that they have found the secret to automating their new business development without having to speak to people again. Or perhaps they think that the business can all be conducted on LinkedIn and they won’t need to move from their desk or meet potential clients again.
However, I prefer realism … even if it isn’t quite so glittery.
You see, the reality actually is that social selling and LinkedIn’s as part of it can indeed result in you never having to cold call.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to call … and unfortunately, that’s what many people believe LinkedIn will offer them, the ability to start, develop and, most importantly, conclude business … all purely on LinkedIn.
That is possible but massively unlikely.
Instead, think of it as a wonderful way to start to facilitate key stages in the sales process for you. Think of it as a research tool, as a way of identifying the right people to talk to, of leveraging relationships to get yourself in front of those people, of marketing to keep you front of mind, of engaging with them … of making sure that you have the best chance possible of being in at the end.
So many elements it can offer.
Using LinkedIn for business development and social selling is most certainly real and it allows you to do many things to help you achieve success in the face to face sales process … what it doesn’t do is remove the need for that process to take place at all.