Social Selling: How the Web Made Traditional Selling Obsolete

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automotive-social-selling-traditional-obsoleteThe traditional act of selling solutions is no longer viable.

In a recent post by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, he makes a strong point that the Internet has dramatically changed the way we sell. He asks, “Has the Internet made the salesperson an unnecessary cost?”

It used to be a salesperson’s job to find out what the customer needed or wanted and provide solutions for those desires. Today’s consumer is savvy and has access to every kind of data needed to make their own decisions–they arrive at their own solutions. What’s more is they’re socially-empowered to collect and share their experiences on Social networks.

Selling “the cheapest”, “the best”, or “the latest” of anything now is an endeavor seen as interchangeable and unremarkable. These claims mean nothing with your customer has friends who’re telling them otherwise. Selling solutions leads you down the dead-end road of selling on price. The customer perceives one salesperson is as good as another. The transaction is a commodity. There’s no real connection, which makes the experience forgettable.

Despite all these changes, studies show people still want to work with salespeople they know, like and trust. Gratefully, salespeople today have a new set of tools available to build, nurture and convert leads. They’re no longer tethered to selling from price.

Welcome to Social Selling.

By developing a clear brand persona, your salespeople can scale their message through technology that’s designed to engage in collaborative sales conversations which establish trust with the buyer. They can create mutual value in this new form of selling without wrestling control of the process from the customer.

Salespeople who understand how to market themselves effectively using Social networks control their destiny and increase sales for your store. There will be no more adversarial showroom antics, only comfortable sales to buyers who have established relationships with you and your staff through Social Media and trust they’re getting a good deal.

To do this effectively, salespeople must become familiar with who they are and how they want to be perceived in the marketplace. A “marketing-minded” salesperson:

  • Creates their own ideal selling opportunities.
  • Thinks like a publisher and builds their own expertise and influence on the web.
  • Works in partnership with the store’s marketing team to communicate a consistent message.

How will you facilitate this shift for your salespeople? Seth Godin says, “The best way to learn marketing is to do the marketing. When you put your ideas in the world, then, and only then, do you know if they’re real. Not expensive, merely frightening.”

Unless you’ve been under a rock lately, you’ve recognized we’re in the middle of a culture change. A change not only in the car business but in most every other culture you choose to name. Change does take time and with this histrionic shift in the role of salespeople, many dealers won’t adopt it for years (to their own detriment).

The solution now is to foster trust and provide your buyer with every piece of information it takes to help them buy. Choosing the right marketing messages and engaging them ensures they’ll buy from you.

Social selling is the future. Now is the time for you and your salespeople to embrace this new way of thinking and get out of the commodity business. No one wins in the race to the bottom.

  • Chris Westfall

    Social selling IS the future. What a great post! in the new economy, you have to have a great URL and be great IRL. I would note that there is definitely a difference between sales and marketing. That distinction is often blurred when talking about online marketing and online sales interchangeably.

    • krusecontrol

      Thanks Chris! In my research for this post, I found there’s not a lot of people talking about social selling right now but in the near future, I think there will be. I totally agree with you that it is the future.

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  • Toby Rogers

    Social selling is definitely the way forward. We’ve already seen it with music as many independent artists eschew the traditional confines of a record label and market music directly to their fans. If you’ve already built up a personal, social relationship with those fans first, then they’re more likely to understand the value in what you’re producing and part with their cash for it.

    • krusecontrol

      Thanks Toby, great insight. I love how Social Media is breaking down the barriers to human connections!

  • InsideView

    Very nice blog post! Social Selling is touching just about every industry.

    • krusecontrol

      It sure is! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  • ralf vonsosen

    Wonderful article. It is all about the salesperson being able to build their brand in a scalable, repeatable way. Today’s social media, networks, and tools allow this to be done in a way that can be practical for individuals, teams, and companies. LinkedIn is a central part of this for most since it is the universal 1:1 connection point for professionals.

    • krusecontrol

      Thank you Ralf! I agree, Linkedin is awesome for those in sales who want to really connect with a referring network. It’s really the traditional form of networking but with Social to amp it up.

  • Pingback: Social Selling: How the Web Made Traditional Selling Obsolete | | Social Selling (Use Linkedin & Twitter to drive business) |

  • jonathanlondon

    First of all, and finally, the change salespeople have to make is what all good salespeople have done forever, which is to know thier offering so well that they can offer insights to prospects and customers that they can’t read online or that nobody else has. That has always been the added value a salesperson brings, whether their offer has additional value or not.

    • krusecontrol

      Thanks Jonathan. I believe the operative words “good salespeople” are at the heart of this. Good/great ones are usually open to change if it can increase their sales. For those who aren’t great, at least technology is enhancing their opportunities. It’s another story if the the not-so-great choose to explore that, eh?

  • Skip Prichard

    Good thoughts here on the power of social selling and the changing nature of the sales process. Sales people are never made obsolete by technology. Technology just changes (and in many cases enhances) some aspects of the approach.

    • krusecontrol

      Totally agree Skip! Thanks for stopping by my blog :-)

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