Welcome back to the second episode with Tim Hughes. Tim is recognized by many as the world’s leading expert on social selling. In our first episode with Tim, we discussed his career in social selling, common objections and mistakes in social selling, and how COVID-19 will impact business going forward. In today’s episode, Tim shares 3 secrets of effective social selling and examples of good and bad social selling.
3 Secrets of Social Selling
Here are 3 of Tim’s secrets to social selling:
A Buyer-Centric Profile
The first thing we need is a buyer-centric profile. It’s not a profile where we say how great we are, how many times we’ve made news, etc. It’s also not a profile where we focus on our company or product.
We need to put ourselves in our buyer’s shoes and say, “Okay, if I were a buyer, what would I be looking for in a person who is going to help me?” A buyer is looking for help, not someone to sell them something. This isn’t about selling; it’s about getting a conversation. Once we get to the conversation, the person will give us permission to pitch or not.
There are three types of people. One is someone we can sell to. Another is someone we can get a referral from. So they may say, “I’m not the person you need to talk to, but you need to talk to my brother-in-law. He’s actually looking for this right now.” The third person is what Tim calls someone with a big mouth, which is somebody who will take our insights and our influence and share it through the network.
A Large Network
The next thing we need is a network. This is not just a bunch of contacts. These are people we don’t necessarily need to have a phone conversation with, but we need to know. These are people that we could have a conversation with if they came to us.
“You need to build a network, and your network needs to be as big, as wide, and as varied as you can have it.”
– Tim Hughes
BMW is one of Tim’s clients, and they have about 100,000 employees. So to sell to BMW, we would have to be connected to 1,000 people.
Tim does risk forecasts by using social for his clients. One client was selling to Domino’s Pizza, and they said it was a done deal to happen that quarter. Tim said, “It won’t happen.” When they asked why, Tim said, “Because the salesperson isn’t connected to anybody in Domino’s Pizza.” The sale didn’t happen. If the salesperson isn’t connected to anybody in the meeting, there’s no relationship there.
The third thing we need is content. Tim’s company has done the research for what content works and what content doesn’t work. Unsurprisingly, the content that doesn’t work is advertising because no one’s interested in our products, services, or anything that says our company is great. However, people are interested in our people.
Eric, one of Tim’s employees, posted about his family going to the beach for his son’s 16th birthday. The post got 168 likes or comments and about 10,000 views. It took him 10 minutes to post, and from that post, he got 168 leads, two proposals, and one purchase order. There is not one single demand generation method out there (cold calling, advertising, email marketing) that can generate that kind of result in ten minutes. That’s the difference digital dominance makes.
“The more humanized that you can be with your content, the more engagement you get.”
– Tim Hughes
Examples of Poor Social Selling
One of Tim’s friends used to work at an organization, and this organization had a poor social selling strategy. They would have someone post something, and then tell everyone in the organization to go like it. Tim said there was even an employee whose title was “social selling expert,” but they clearly didn’t understand social selling.
Tim went into a big corporate organization to help them with their social selling. In a meeting, they told Tim their social selling was going very well. They said they were sending out brochures through emails. Tim turned to the gentleman next to him and asked him what he does when he gets an email. He said, “I just delete them.” Tim turned to the woman in charge of marketing and asked her what she does when she gets an email. She said, “I just delete them.” The two turned to each other and realized that it was actually not going well at all.
Brochures don’t create sales conversations or great sales. The trust and the likability that comes from conversations can cause the sale. Though, we don’t necessarily have to like someone to trust them and buy from them.
Examples of Effective Social Selling
Tim was recently working with a drains company. They did a pilot program of 6 people for 3 months. In those three months, they got 26,608 likes and 2,688 comments, just about 30,000 interactions. Interaction on social media is an opportunity to have a conversation. So, even if we took out 20% of those because they were friends liking the posts, that’s still a massive opportunity to have conversations with people.
Before Tim started helping them, their goal had been 4 sales-qualified leads a week. After Tim came in, they were getting 12-14. They got just under 2 million views, and they’ve grown their network by about 5,000 people. So think of that as increasing an email database by 5,000, except unlike an email database, we actually know the people, have had an interaction, and they know and trust us.
There’s another company Tim has worked with that got 100% ROI. That transformation is bigger than Tim’s wildest dreams. At that point, it’s a money-making machine. For every $1 they put in, they get $2 back. Because of that, they don’t need an advertising budget.
What Metrics to Track in Social Selling
Two of the most important metrics Tim’s company tracks are revenue and inbound clients. Generally, he has his clients create a campaign code, tracking business found through social media and business influenced through social media. Business found through social media is when the company puts out a post, and they get a response or an opportunity. Business found through influence is when the company goes into a particular account and connects to lots of people, growing its influence in that particular account.
Thank you so much Tim for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode.
1. We should humanize our content.
2. Focus on what a buyer is looking for in our profiles. They are probably looking for help, and probably not for our company, brand, products, or services.
3. Having a large network of people who like us and trust us will allow us to sell more easily. When we have connections to the people we are selling to, they are more likely to buy from us.
4. If our content focuses on people instead of products, we will have more engagement.
Connect with Tim
If you enjoyed this interview and want to learn more about Tim or connect with him, you can find him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/timothyhughessocialselling or visit DLA ignite’s website at https://dlaignite.com/.
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