For almost a year, these ordinary prospectors averaged daily gold finds worth 10 to 15 times the daily wages of laborers on the East Coast, some making as much in six months as many workers did in six years.
It wasn’t until late that year that word caught on across the nation and even other continents. In 1849, the masses flooded into California in what became known as the gold rush.
Social selling is the modern-day equivalent. The early adopters (Jim Keenan, Jamie Shanks, Jill Rowley and Ken Krogue, to name a few) came in, mined and struck gold.
Now the world knows its value, and sales teams are rushing to figure out this new way of selling.
But you can’t just go out and start digging. Finding the right plots (social channels), tools (technology) and mining processes (skill sets) are essential.
So, in a way, social sellers are more like social prospectors.
Finding the right plot of land
The right land can make or break you as a gold miner. And so it is with social prospectors.
Understanding which social channel to use will help you find potential customers. In our industry, LinkedIn and Twitter win, but you may find value in Facebook, Google+, YouTube or even Pinterest. It’s been done. So go find your land.
Using the right tools
Miners used all sorts of tools to find their gold, including pans, picks and shovels.
There are many social selling tools that can help you sift through debris and find your golden nuggets. Tools like Insightpool, SocialBro, Traackr, Socedo, Hootsuite, NUVI and more can help you automate and find conversations and key personas to converse with.
My one rule of thumb, though, with automated processes is to be yourself. No one likes a robot, and relying too much on tools can make your social presence feel less real and genuine.
The best mining processes
Early miners each had their own strategies to find gold. Sales reps have their strategies as well. So what types of social prospecting strategies are the most effective?
Here are two:
1. Be you. I already mentioned that, but being genuine and putting time in to get to know a customer goes a long way. Don’t let automation take you downstream where there’s no gold. The whole point of social media is to be human on the Internet.
2. Don’t be the mall kiosk guy. You know what I’m talking about. You go to the mall and the kiosk sales rep is trying to sell you expensive hand lotion, so you try to hide or look busy. “Pitchy” and aggressive sales tactics don’t usually work in social selling. Build your presence, foster relationships, deliver value — and that will build your credibility.
There are a lot of great strategies that sales teams can use to prospect on social media. I dare say there isn’t an all-powerful model that will always work.
Each person is different. That’s why I feel being yourself and doing your research is what will make or break your gold-mining experience.
One of my favorite social selling statistics comes from my friend Jim Keenan:
“78 percent of social sellers outsell their peers.”
It works. It happens every day. Now go find your gold!
Download the ebook below to learn how LinkedIn can help your sales reps maximize results.
Free eBook: 42 LinkedIn Tips for Inside Sales
Gain access to 42 tips from industry experts Ken Krogue and Jamie Shanks on how to grow your business through LinkedIn.
Feature image credit: Rick Cooper
Image credit: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Image credit: Alan Levine