Are You A Thought Leader or Simply a CEO? It Matters because the buying process has changed…
We are in the midst of a shift in the selling landscape. Obviously we have entered the digital era, but do we really understand ‘who’ we should be or ‘how’ we should act in the digital world? Today’s buyers are sophisticated and educated and they DO NOT want to be sold to.
So how do we handle this…if we can’t plaster features of our product or service all over our website or blast out brochures in our marketing automation toolset or present 60 slides of PowerPoint?
Let me tell you a story. In my business, I deal with a lot of CEOs and Founders. A lot. One in particular I remember well. Let’s call him George. George was a very prestigious, well educated man with a few diplomas from one of those ivy league schools.
When I met with him, he had already started and sold a few business and could have easily retired and gone sailing around the world for five years…but like most of us who are restless entrepreneurs, he started a small business one last time just to have something to do when he was not playing golf. When it came to marketing and selling, he was frustrated. The people he hired were smart and efficient, but the numbers were not coming in. Being from the ‘old school’ of the marketing and sales, he did not want to believe that sales in digital era was any different.
He eventually came to me for a solution and wanted to know more about our LinkedAutomation Method. In our initial strategy sessions he spent the first thirty minutes talking about himself and his product and why it was the best…Yada yada yada.
In looking at the time, I only had an hour to get done with him what I needed to, so with just 30 minutes left, I had to interrupt him. “Hold on George” I told him. “I need to tell you something that you may not want to hear.” After he adjusted in his seat, “George, no one gives a damn about your pedigree or what a great CEO you are. Further, no one wants to know about all the features of your product or service. Those details are lost in the noise of everyone else’s pitch. People are unimpressed with such and simply nothing you are telling me will impact your revenue goals, nothing will move the needle for your team.”
All the color came out of his tanned face and he was without words. I let the pregnant pause hang there and did not fill in the silence with any sound or motion, letting my words sink in.
George recovered and I continued. “In today’s world of social selling, people want to know who YOU are as a person; they want transparency. They want someone who cuts through the noise and who offers something worth listening to. They want someone who understands their situation or problem. They want a problem solver and a Thought Leader, not a CEO or a Harvard grad.”
In the end, George came around and we signed the deal.
There is no way around it. Social Selling is Here. And it is happening on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn. Your Profile. No longer can you hide behind your company’s website, no matter how magnificent or how much money you just spent. No longer can you send ‘brochures’ or ‘show up and throw up’ with PowerPoint.
News Flash: Tweeting 14 times a day is NOT social selling. You have to meet your prospects where they are. Educate them. Be a Thought Leader, an Information Ambassador, an Educator…not a CEO.
Someone emailed me the other day “Can you send me a brochure? I would like to read it before we get on a call.” Seriously? A brochure??? I replied “Sir, while I can appreciate your request, we have not even spoken or met yet, so I do not know what you need. I do not know if we can help you or if we would be a good match for one another. We do not have brochures or canned approaches to problems. This is about social selling and we meet our clients where they are.”
Have not heard back from him, but that is likely a good thing, as that type of buyer is dying off and is a waste of everyone’s time.
Don’t get left behind. Embrace social selling. Find your personal brand. Be educational and rememberable.