I was talking to a VP of Sales at a mid-sized company recently, and we were discussing the merits of social-selling. Despite the data, he hasn’t bought in to the idea of social branding, and has yet to include social media in his sales strategy.
At first, I started to explain how to engage with people on Twitter, and how to use groups on LinkedIn. I got about 2 minutes in when he cut me off. He said, “So its like the Hunters on my team, go find the people who can buy and market to them.” – No
So I tried a different approach, I decided instead to talk about how social media allows you to engage prospective clients earlier in the buying process. I began to explain how establishing yourself as a resource builds credibility…and again I get cut off. He said, “So its like the Farmers on my team, put out a lot of information and wait for the leads to sprout.” – Not really
Finally, I started from scratch, I looked at the baseball on his desk…and I told him that it was only a few years ago, that using social media to try to advance my career made me feel like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams.
In the movie, before all these great baseball players showed up to play, and before crowds of fans came to watch, he had to plow under his corn field and build a baseball field. (plus, there was a voice in his head telling to do so, consider this post “the voice in your head:” if you build your social-media presence your prospective clients will come.)
But building the baseball field wasn’t easy, he needed to put in the time, plow under his own corn crop, and spend his own money to do it right. All the while, many of his peers questioned what he was doing, why he was doing it, and if he had gone mad.
Similarly, while your “unenlightened peers” question your efforts, you need to spend time and energy establishing a brand, getting involved and putting out quality content…all because you know it will pay dividends.
That analogy seemed to sink in. Now, how much of his corn field he was willing to plow under before seeing results has yet to be determined. But he now understands:
there IS a team coming to town, they DO draw an audience, and they WILL generate revenue…but they need a field to play on, and if you don’t build it, someone else will.