Pick Up The Damn Phone!

Joanne Black

Over the last decade, the rapid growth of social media, the emergence of the cloud, and a myriad of other technological developments have ushered in what pundits call “Sales 2.0.” But while much about sales has changed, one thing never will: People still buy from people they know, like, and trust.

 Pick Up the Damn Phone! focuses on the intersection of sales, technology, and referrals—the marriage of the old (relationships) with the new (technology). Each of these has its place in sales. In fact, they are interwoven, interdependent, and inextricably connected. In Pick Up the Damn Phone!, Joanne Black explores these connections and explains how to leverage the invaluable sales intelligence that new technologies provide—and how to know when it’s time to put away the toys and have a grown-up conversation.

About Social Selling: What NOT to Do

What is social selling, anyway? Is it just the latest buzzword bandied about by shifty trainers, or an actual sales strategy with teeth?

Whenever a new selling term surfaces, suddenly legions of experts appear, ready to take your money. They make outrageous promises that are “guaranteed” to increase sales effectiveness overnight. If you just take their advice, you’ll have prospects lining up to work with you.

Some advice is timeless. And here is some you should seriously consider before writing that check: The key to social selling is social.

The Real Value of Social Media for Sales

Your mother was right. There is a time and place for everything. And social media is not the place for your sales pitch. Save the hard sell for when your prospects genuinely like and trust you, because strangers on LinkedIn couldn’t care less.

Social media does have value for salespeople, but sales is still about people buying from people. Thus, social selling only works if you show up as a person, not a salesperson. 

Use social media to start conversations, ask questions, and share valuable information about your area of expertise. Use it to research your prospects so you can have richer dialogues—online and off. But don’t use it to toot your company’s horn or pester people with your sales pitch. People do business with people they genuinely like—not with your puffery and not with your company.

Stop Typing, Start Talking

While social media is a great place to start conversations, digital communication will never replace live human interaction—whether that’s a face-to-face meeting or a phone call. To turn contacts into real connections, you’ll eventually have to take the conversation offline.

The art of conversation is your competitive advantage. It’s the key to problem-solving and relationship-building, which are at the core of social selling. It’s also become an increasingly unique skill set. The digital world, as great as it is, has left an entire generation of salespeople afraid to pick up the phone and have real conversations. Text messages with truncated words or 140-character Twitter posts are not the kind of meaningful, effective dialogue that increases sales conversions or gets you referrals.

Referral Selling IS Social Selling

There’s a direct correlation between your personal connections, your ability to generate referral introductions, and your sales success. Referral selling is the most personal, most “social” kind of selling you can do. When I refer you, my reputation’s on the line, so I need to be darn sure you’ll take care of my relationship as I would.

Social sellingis a great way to expedite the first few important steps in prospecting—researching potential clients and identifying referral sources. Engage with people on social media, then pick up the damn phone and take the conversation offline. Find out how your referral source knows the person you want to meet. Explain the business reason you want an introduction. Then ask how you can help them.

It’s never too soon (or too late) to ask for referrals, help someone, contribute to a conversation, say thanks, or just catch up. Step out from behind the technology curtain and discover the real world. It’s waiting for you.

About the Author

Joanne Black is America’s leading authority on referral selling and a sales executive with contrarian points of view. She is the author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust and PICK UP THE DAMN PHONE! How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. To learn more, visit www.NoMoreColdCalling.com.

An innovative sales advisor and captivating speaker, Joanne is a member of the National Speakers Association. Joanne regularly speaks at sales and incentive meetings, sales conferences, and association meetings. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley and a Certificate in Training and Human Resource Development, with Honors, from the University of California Extension.