Social Selling vs Social Spamming. 10 best and worst practices 0

Posted on November 27, 2017 by Rob Petersen

Social Selling vs Social Spamming

Social Selling vs Social Spamming. They represent polar opposites. One is a best practice and the other a worst practice for developing business using social media.

Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with their prospects. The interaction is through thoughtful content and timely answers to a prospect until he or she is ready to buy. Social Spamming is unwanted spam appearing on your social networks or email.

The former requires business acumen, people and social skills. The latter uses none of these. Many people think they are Social Selling when they’re Social Spamming.

So you know when it’s Social Selling vs Social Spamming, here are 10 best and worst practices.

  1. AUTHENTIC VS AUTOMATED MESSAGE: One begins a relevant conversation. The other is a bad sales pitch. When it is apparent in the first couple of sentences of a post or email someone has taken the time to get to know something about you or done some research, you are likely to read a little further to see what comes next. That’s Social Selling. It’s spam when you’re in receipt of a bulk message, even though your name may appear at the beginning,
  2. OFFER VS PITCH: The first rule of Social Selling is to offer something a prospect is going to value rather than launch into a sales pitch. It could be a download of relevant information, trends or forecasts for your industry. Or an invitation to an event you would go to. It may require your email address and a follow up call occurs. But someone has given you something of value and you took the first action. It’s spamming when nothing is offered; rather someone asks something of you that is purely for their benefit.
  3. ABUSE OF INMAIL: How many of you have received an invitation to connect with someone on LinkedIn or someone has followed you on Twitter? And you think, what the heck, I’ll connect or follow back. Then, within minutes, you are sent an Inmail or Direct Messaged. And it’s something they are selling or want with an inflated description of themselves or their product. Unfortunately, it is occurring more and more, especially on LinkedIn.
  4. LINKS IN COMMENTS: Links in a comment are a bad and potentially malicious spamming practice. At best, someone is taking advantage of content someone else has created to insert a self-promotional message about themselves. Or worse, they may be spreading malware that contains a virus or scrapes personal information. Don’t click. Delete.
  5. BRAGGING VS ENGAGING: When a message begins with a boast about a product, company or themselves, run for the hills. An expression of thoughtfulness is much different. If the message is sincere and the offer has value, it’s Social Selling vs Social Spamming.
  6. STARTING A 2nd COMMUNICATION WITH “DID YOU GET MY 1st COMMUNICATION”? A drip campaign is a method used in direct marketing to acquire customers through lead nurture programs. It involves sending marketing information to prospects repeatedly over longer periods of time in order to nurture prospects or leads through the marketing funnel. A 2nd message that asks if you got the 1st message isn’t even a drip, it’s spam.
  7. ASKING IF YOU HAVE “JUST 10 MINUTES”: Some Social Spammers think just cutting straight to the call will bring results. How many of you have gotten an email where the subject line ask for “Just 10 minutes” or “Time for a call today?” My hope is the kind of people who reply “yes” and have this conversation are as obnoxious as the senders.
  8. UNSUBSCRIBE VS NO ABILITY TO UNSUBSCRIBE: Even if someone has opted in or purchased in the past, you must have a way to unsubscribe when sending commercial email. Many email marketing platforms require and enforce an unsubscribe link for all messages. That’s Social Selling. But it’s spam if the message is emailed from a personal email account like Google Apps, Outlook or from their company’s mail server and you don’t give people the ability to unsubscribe. It’s also a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act, established by the Federal Trade Commission.
  9. ENDING WITH CALENDAR LINK Some Social Spammers are brash enough, after their obnoxious sale pitch, to put a link to their calendar to schedule a call at the end of their message. Maybe they think it only takes one to make this tactic worthwhile. But I wonder if they get none.
  10. TELLING SOMEONE YOU WON’T BOTHER THEM AGAIN: The type of Social Spammer who keep sending messages that don’t receive a response, eventually are reduced to try and evoke an action by saying something like “if you are not interested, let me know and I won’t bother you again.” I, of course, don’t respond. I just think “good riddance.”

Do these examples help you see the difference between Social Selling vs Social Spamming? And  they best and worst practices to you? Do you have any more to add?

9 surprisingly simple steps to social selling success 0

Posted on August 21, 2017 by Rob Petersen

social selling success

Social selling success is giving your target prospects information that they value, appreciate and remember so you distinguish yourself from your competition and gain their attention and trust.

Although rewards are great, most salespeople are still  in the dark about how to effective use of social media for sales.

  • Only 26% of salespeople say they how to use social media to sell.  (HubSpot)
  • 31% of reps incorporate social media into their sales process. (HubSpot)
  • 78% of reps who use social selling practices outsell their peers. (PeopleLinx)

Technology has changed but human nature hasn’t. Social selling success but the social before the sell but still requires the key skills most salespeople have been trained for:

  • Business Acumen
  • People Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Social Media Savvy

Here are 9 surprisingly simple steps to social selling success,


1. IDENTIFY YOUR TARGETS: Social networks are also search engines. Start with some research. Go to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or any social network where customers hang out and explore names in the search box. Use it see the profiles of customers, prospects, industry leaders, companies, professional groups and events. Look at their number of followers, Likes, connections and members. Create a list of the people you believe would be in your best interest to track and follow.

2.BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE: Start following, Liking, connecting and joining. In very little time, you’ll have an audience. This is going to be one of your most important social media assets. You may even want to use a monitoring tool like HootSuite or TweetDeck to see what your audience is saying, what people say about you and what your most important customers, prospects or competitors. If you build an audience, a certain percentage is going to become customers.


3. PRESENT YOURSELF WELL: Fill out your profiles on social networks. Takes advantage of all the fields. Use photos that look professional and friendly. Tell your story in the allotted character so it is clear who you are, what you do and why people should find you interesting and like you. Almost everyone should be on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – that includes lawyers, finance companies and pharmaceuticals.

4. JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION: According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion.


5. GIVE VALUABLE INFORMATION AND ADVICE: Create posts that you want your followers to see. Provide information that shows why are you in business and how you serve people. Give advice that can solve problems. Use URL shorteners to link to articles. Include images and videos. 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it. Identify messages on a specific topics with hashtags to increase reach and relevance. Don’t just post and walk away. If you do that, you are missing prime opportunities to engage with your audience and convert them when they respond or share to what you’ve written.

6. SHARE INFORMATION AND SUCCESSES OF OTHERS: Sharing can be just as effective as creating your own content in bringing value to others and growing and nourishing  relationships. 78% of people share information online because it lets them stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with. 68% share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about. 49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action. Since it’s relatively easy to pass along good information and advice from peers, get in the habit of doing it.


7. BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME: If you’ve been following our advice, you probably already have a sense of when your audience is on their social network pages and when your content is shared. Tracking tools like HootSuite and TweetDeck, discussed earlier, show when your audience is most active. They can also be used to schedule your posts in advance for the days and times when your audience is most active. Below is an infographic from Contently showing what are the best days and times to post on social networks.

8. MEASURE AND MANAGE: See how you are progressing and what is creating business value. Avinash Kaushik of Google has an effective way to determine the business value of social media efforts called Conversation, Amplification and Applause. Simply put, Conversation is the # of conversions that come from your posts. Amplification is the rate that your content is shared and commented. Applause is how fast your audience is growing.. These categories are not mutually exclusive and the benefits range from awareness to sales.

9. KNOW WHEN TO TAKE IT OFFLINE: Most sales still do occur offline. By this time, you have reached key targets and gained their attention and trust, messaging tools are available of all social networks to reach out when the time is right. If you’ve done social selling right, you’ve distinguished yourself so your audience would be willing to engage with you and help you out.

Do the steps to social selling success seem simple enough to you. Do you need help taking your social selling success to the level it should be at.

social selling success - infographic

4 best practices for building a referral network (Infographic) 0

Posted on May 01, 2017 by Garret Norris

Referral Network

Referral network refers to a group of business owners and professionals who try to promote each other to gain more leads and sales. It’s a highly effective strategy for building business because it’s based on trust. Here’s why it works:

  • 92% of people in business trust referrals from people they know
  • 87% of front line sales reps, 82% of sales leaders and 78% of marketers agree that referrals are the best leads you can get
  • 86% of companies with a formalized referral program have increased revenues over the past 2 years (Source: Digital Intelligence Today)

What’s the best way to create one? Here are 4 best practices for building a referral network with an infographic.

  1. CONNECT WITH PEOPLE RELATED TO YOUR INDUSTRY: The first step to building a referral network is to dedicate time to meeting people in and outside your industry. To determine who this should be, ask yourself: What sort of products or services would your customers benefit from the most? Who are the best people to provide those products or services? Who are the best local providers for such products or services? What value can you provide for their customers?
  2. SEGMENT YOUR REFERRAL NETWORK: Evaluate connections and divide them into three segments: 1) Those most likely to need what you offer, 2) Related businesses in the same industry or who have the same Buyer Persona and 3) Totally unrelated businesses but important to your customers.
  3. HAVE A CHECKLIST FOR GIVING REFERRAL: When you give a referral to your one of your customers, base it on the following considerations: 1) RELEVANCE: Make sure a referral you give is relevant to their situation, 2) QUALITY: Refer only those who deliver on what they promise and 3) AUTHENTICITY: Avoid overrating a referral and keep your customer’s need the priority.
  4. MAXIMIZE VALUE OF YOUR REFERRAL NETWORK: Building the referral network is half the work.  You need to learn how to use the network so you and your connections can mutually benefit from the gains of each other. Consider: 1) Collaborating with people in your network on an assignment, 2) Use their products or services and 3) Offer them an incentive to use you on one of their assignment.

If most sales and marketing professional rate a referral network as their most effecting business building asset, why wouldn’t you have one?

Below is the infographic from Business Coaches Sydney on building a referral network for your business.

Do these best practices help you in creating one?

Referral Network

About the Author, Garret Norris: For over 15 years Garret has been one of Australia’s leading Corporate Sales, Management Training and Coaching organisations. Garret has been improving the performances of business Managers, Leaders and Sales Teams. Garret simply gets results!

10 top social selling best practices from 10 experts 0

Posted on May 01, 2016 by Rob Petersen


Social Selling best practices

  • 74% of B2B Buyer conduct more than half of their research online (source: Accenture)
  • 72% of salespeople using social media outperform their peers (source: Forbes)
  • 65% of buyer feel that the vendor’s content had an impact on their final purchase decision (source: Macalister Bali and Co.)

Social Selling is the process of researching, connecting, and interacting with prospects and customers on social media networks to provide value by answering questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.

Social Selling best practices are the methods and techniques that consistently show superior results and are used as a benchmark.

Here are 10 top Social Selling best practices from 10 experts.

  1. APPROACH AS MICRO-MARKETING: The biggest mistake people make is being afraid to move out of their comfort zone.  Just because you’ve been selling moderately well for the late 10 years, doesn’t mean that can change.  Trust me, the buyer has changed.  For the first time in human history, a buyer can gather information on nearly anything, without human interaction.  But they need human assistance to finish the purchase. – Jamie Shanks, CEO at Sales for Life
  2. MAKE YOUR BRAND EASY TO FIND THROUGH SOCIAL: When prospects start their purchasing cycle, having an established, highly visible social presence ups your chances of being in the right place at the right time—when they’re ready to buy. That accessibility also goes a long way to ensuring you’ll make their short list when decision time arrives. There are myriad ways to strengthen your social visibility. Don’t neglect the obvious ones, like including links to your social accounts in your email signature, updating your social profiles regularly, and staying engaged in the major prospect forums. – Gerry Moran, Global Head of Social Media, Cognizant Technology Solutions
  3. DO INTELLIGENT RESEARCH TO FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE: Gone are the days when LinkedIn was ‘only’ a recruiting platform. A right search will lead you to the right person, therefore increasing your return on investment (ROI) considerably. The added advantage of knowing the right person in the circle of influence, will influence the decision-making process of the buyer. There are an average of 5.4 buyers in the B2B sales process. And if the influencers are included, there are an estimate of 10 people influencing the decision making. Connecting with the director and key influencing people in the company will provide you leverage among other sellers. – Mike Derezin, VP Sales Solutions, LinkedIn
  4. START A CONVERSATION BY SHARING VALUABLE EXPERTISE: Don’t only monitor your lists, connections, and groups. Actually share valuable expertise. Top executives know a generic marketing message when they see it, so you need to set yourself apart from the rest. The key to doing this is authenticity. Share your real opinions on specific sales matters. Comment on highly viewed LinkedIn publishing posts. Start a polite conversation with someone on Twitter about their viewpoint. Agree or disagree, but take a stance, and interact with others. – Megan Tonzi, Director of Marketing, AG Saleswork
  5. DEMONSTRATE VALIDITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS: Social media plays a critical role in gaining credibility; everyone uses it, and if you aren’t using it, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of social data. So stay professional, use tact and remember to let connections happen organically. – Koka Sexton, Head of Social Media, LinkedIn
  6. GET REALLY GOOD AT CREATING RELEVANT CONTENT: Social selling has a strong streak of education to it. And while us buyers do want to control the sales process now, we love information. It’s just got to be relevant information. Send me irrelevant information, and you fall into the background noise. Send relevant information that’s just what I need to know right now and… well, I might just like you so much I’d get on the phone with you. – Pam Neely, Author at Act-On
  7. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL SELLING AND SOCIAL MEDIA: Revenue creation is the only differentiator between social selling and social media marketing. What is your goal? Is your goal to make a sale? Are you trying to generate interest in your product or service that will lead to an offline conversation? If yes, you are engaging in social selling. On the other hand, if your goal is to simply generate vanity metrics—followers, likes, shares, comments, etc.—with no actionable conversion metrics like SQLs created, accounts created, opportunities created, or revenue generating metrics like appointments, sales demos, conversations, closed deals and revenue, then you are engaging in social media marketing. – Lolly Spindler, Content Marketing Manager at xoombi
  8. MEASURE SOCIAL SELLING PROGRESS FROM LIKES TO LEADS: One of the challenges for social selling is that it does not operate like the traditional sales funnel. Sales leads and nurturing can jump across platforms and networks, and they can increasingly enter the funnel not just at the top, but much further down. Social teams now sit at a crux of sales and marketing that opens a huge and opportunity for them, but also requires those teams to understand the unique metrics and KPIs for sales and marketing, and how they intersect and overlap. – Henry Nofthaft Jr., Founder and CEO, Trapit
  9. KNOW THE NUMBER OF TOUCH POINTS IT TAKES TO CONVERT: Each company should analyze how many touch points they need to be trusted, to get a lead, to get a demo presentation, and to close a sale. At our company, we’ve discovered it takes 22 touch points to get a demo appointment scheduled (combination of digital and traditional prospecting). Of the 22 touch points, 13-15 are through social media. – Gabe Villamizar, Director of Social Selling, HireVue
  10. WORK AT IT CONTINUALLY: Social Selling is hard work performed over significant elapsed time. You must build a formidable, digitally based, personal brand that projects your unique promise of value. Then researching and connecting with executives, decision makers and influencers on ‘social’ takes time and skill. Nurturing social relationships with those executives by sharing content that is of relevance and value takes significant work, time and skill. However the rewards can be outstanding. Good social sellers can achieve over 90% success rate when making an approach to set up that first face to face meeting with a connection they have nurtured.  I see salespeople achieve it every day. – John Smibert, Manager and Facilitator, Strategic Selling Group

Below is an infographic from Sales for Life that details the state of Social Selling in 2016.

Do these social selling best practices help you see how social selling can work for you? And your company? Are you interesting in having a conversation about it?


37 facts on the future of social selling vs. cold calling 0

Posted on December 14, 2014 by Rob Petersen




social selling vs. cold calling

50% of sales go the first salesperson to contact a prospect (source:

Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. Social selling is not hard selling. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Cold Calling is the solicitation of business from potential customers who have had no prior contact with the salesperson conducting the call. 

You might say one is yesterday’s way of selling and the other is today’s.

  • Where is it going in the future?
  • Why has it changed?
  • Which means is most likely to get to the prospect first?

Here are 37 facts on the future of social selling vs. cold calling.


  1. 98% of sales reps with 5000+ LinkedIn connections achieve quota (source: Sales Benchmark Index)
  2. 89% of customers begin their buying process with a search engine (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  3. 80% of introductions generate a sale (source: DSWA)
  4. 75% of customers say they use social media as part of the buying process (source: IBM)
  5. 74% of B2B marketing companies use Twitter to distribute content (source: Content Marketing Institute)
  6. 72.6% of salespeople using social media outperformed their sales peers (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  7. 61% of US marketers use social media for lead generation (source: IBM)
  8. 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media (source: MediaBistro)
  9. 54% who used social media tracked their social media usage back to at least one closed deal. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  10. 50.1% of sales people who report using social media state that they spend less than 10% of their selling time using social media (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  11. 50% of identified sales leads are not ready to buy (source: Gleanster)
  12. 47% larger purchases result from nurtured leads than non-nurtured leads (source: The Annuitas Group)
  13. 42% Follow or Like a friend or brand; 79% are motivated to do this in order to learn more about the brand (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
  14. Over 40% of salespeople say they’ve closed between two and five deals as a result of social media. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  15. Social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers. (source: Social Media and Sales Quota Survey)
  16. Today’s sales process takes 22% longer than 5 years ago (source: SiriusDecisions)
  17. You are almost 5X more likely to schedule a first meeting if you have a personal LinkedIn connection (source: Sales Benchmark Series)
  18. Marketers spend an average of 4-6 hours a week on social media (source: Social Media Examiner)
  19. 2X higher ROI from email marketing than cold calling, networking or trade shows (source: MarketingSherpa)
  20. B2B marketers who use Twitter generate 2X as many leads as those that do not (source: Inside View)


  1. 91% of the time, cold calling doesn’t work (source: Harvard Business Review)
  2. 91% of customer say they’d give referrals; only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals (source: Dale Carnegie)
  3. 90% of C-suite executive say they never respond to cold calls or email blasts (source: Harvard Business Review)
  4. 82% of B2B decision makers think sales reps are unprepared (source: SiriusDecisions)
  5. Customers don’t want to deal with salespeople until they are 70% down the path of the buying process (source: HubSpot)
  6. 61% of marketers send leads directly to sales, despite the fact that only 27% of those leads are qualified (source:
  7. 60% more expensive per lead than other methods (source: HubSpot)
  8. 57% of the buying process is done before sales contact (source: Corporate Executive Board)
  9. 8 attempts to reach a prospect today with a cold call vs. 3.68 in 200y (source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group)
  10. 8% of salespeople get 80% of sales (source: The Marketing Donut)
  11. 7 people in the average firm of 100-500 people are involved in a buying decision (source: Gartner)
  12. Only 5$ of business lead phone calls lead to a sale (source: DSWA)
  13. Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment (source: Leap Job)
  14. Only 2% of sales occur at a first meeting (source: The Marketing Donut)
  15. Only 2 attempts are made by the average salesperson do reach a prospect (source: Sirius Decisions)
  16. 1 out of 250 salespeople exceed their targets (source: Harvard Business Review)
  17. Less than 1% of cold calls lead to a sale (source: DSWA)

These facts say we spend more time on search engines and social networks seeking out, researching and connecting with products we’re going to buy and the people who we want do to do business than we do on our phones. As a result, more of us believe we don’t need to speak to a salesperson until we are further along in the buying process.

When that time comes to speak to someone, the person who is most relevant and top of mind is more likely to be the contact that gets the business. And it’s more likely that person is going to be found through an association established on the internet and social media than it is a cold call.

And that’s now. So the trend is only going to move more in that direction for the future.

Do these give you facts for the future on social selling vs. cold calling? Could your business use help doing social selling better?

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