During my interview with Kim from Trapit, she asked me about my first experience with Social Selling and I had to think about this. Was there a specific moment that I decided to start using Social Selling and if so, when was this moment? Very often Social Selling is not something you start from one day on to the other. It takes time and it is definitely a journey. But when I think back about my first experience I realize I wasn’t aware I was Social Selling!
3 years ago I left The Netherlands for a new job in Dublin. In the years before I moved to Dublin I was very active in the B2C space focused on Retail and Social Media. The IT world and B2B sales was completely new for me. Because of my background I decided to start my B2B career in a Business Development role. Which I think is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done. When I started my role I found it very difficult to get people on the phone. I didn’t like cold calling at all and it felt like I was wasting my time, calling companies multiple times without getting results. During the first weeks I got, for the first time ever, a LinkedIn premium license and I was impressed by the features that it had (at that time). I was able to see everybody who visited my profile and I got access to InMails! Because of my background in Social Media I knew InMails were very powerful and I was very keen on testing them.
I started to send my first InMails after a couple of weeks and figured out that people replied to it when I took a consulting approach. In stead of writing about products I focused on learning about their business. I tested different types of InMails and got a good understanding of which InMails worked the best. I realized that people started to visit my profile after they received my InMail so I decided to change my profile. I focused on the people who were receiving my InMails, by explaining why they should talk with me. After 2 months I was sending 10 InMails per day and I got 5 InMails per day back. I planned calls via InMails and reduced my cold calls with 50%.
At this time I wasn’t aware that this was Social Selling but I was very aware that this was the easiest way to hit my target. I decided to leverage Twitter to invite people for events. I started to add prospects to Twitter lists, I tested personalized tweets for prospects and grew my follower base quite fast. Twitter helped me to spend even less time on the phone. After 3 months I started to share my success stories with colleagues and more and more teams asked me to train them to get the same results. I trained several teams and found out I really enjoyed this type of activity in stead of sales!
I was very lucky to move to the Social Selling and Social Listening team, 6 months after I joined the company. In this team I had the opportunity to develop myself as a Social Selling trainer and grew my career in Social Media and Social Selling. Because I’ve been in a business development role I know how important Social Selling is but, also how much easier it can make your job. I want every sales person to have the same experience, using new ways to hit their target and because of my own experience, I believe everybody can get their dream job when they use Social Media!
With love, from Dublin..