How Your Sales Team Really Feels About Social Media

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Sales people are some of the brightest, most adaptive, and persistent personalities on the planet.  They thrive on ego and strive to be recognized from the highest levels of their organizations.  The best sales people focus on establishing strong relationships and broad networks of contacts.  But what most sales people dislike more than anything else is change, and social media represents one of the most sweeping changes to sales people since the invention of the fax machine.

To get your sales team on board and using social media to improve their results requires you to have a thorough understanding of what’s preventing them from getting involved to begin with.  Here are 3 things your sales team believes about social media but isn’t telling you.

  1. Social media isn’t up to me, it’s the company’s responsibility.   Reps believe that social media is an extension of advertising and thus is the sole responsibility of the company.  Communication, narratives, or messaging whether via social or traditional media outlets are the responsibility of the corporate marketing team.
  2. I don’t have time.  Reps see things as either-ors.  If I must do Thing A, than Thing B must be sidelined.  Something must come off the plate before something new is added.  Given most sales people feel they already work to their fullest capability and capacity, few see a way to add more to their daily routine.
  3. I’m afraid.  Ever hear the story of the sales rep over-promising what their product or service can do?  What about the rep who exaggerates, manipulates or misleads a prospect?  Reps fear putting things in writing which provides them little to no wiggle room if they need to dial-back a previously issued statement or comment.  Putting something on LinkedIn or Twitter creates a feeling of unease and discomfort for a sales rep.

How to overcome these 3 false-beliefs?

  1. Here’s just one reason social media is a joint endeavor between a company and its sales people:  branding.  There are 2 parts to every sale – the company’s brand reputation and the sales person’s brand reputation.  A buyer will not buy if they don’t believe in the company’s brand.  If its product is perceived to be irrelevant, or low quality the buyer will know and look for an alternative.  Likewise if the sales person’s reputation is in question no matter how good the company’s product is the sale will not be made…at least by that sales person.  Social media is a great way for sales people to build and expand their personal brand reputation and thought leadership.
  2. Social media can help a sales person become more productive by improving their efficiency.  Utilizing free apps like Zite, Hootsuite, USAToday, and Google Alerts can help keep a sales pro up-to-date and add value to their sales conversations with prospects and current customers.
  3. Show them.  As their leader you must be able and willing to demonstrate your involvement with social media.  How do you embrace social media?  How does it play into your day?  Is it a passing thing, or do you participate daily with social media?  How do you use it?  Can you provide examples?  Being able to walk the talk is critical to implementing any new initiative or change.  The sales team must see you doing it before they even consider it for themselves.

Try these approaches and let me know how it works.

 

Charisma or Character…How To Tell The Difference

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In life we encounter many different types of people.  Introverts, extroverts, funny, serious, loud, quiet, shy, and jocular.  These are all personality traits or characteristics of an individual.  They do not define or identify their character.  Many times we try to “read people” to determine if they have good intentions or selfish desires.  Confusing character with charisma is an area where most people struggle.  It also poses potential danger if misread.  So what’s the difference between character and charisma and how do you determine if the person you’re interacting with has great character or is simply charismatic?

Before you can determine character from charisma let us first establish a working definition for both.  Character is the way someone thinks, feels, and ultimately behaves.  Think of character as an individuals guiding light, or true north.  People of great character operate with authenticity.  They have strong self-awareness, and the likelihood of them doing the right thing under the most difficult of circumstances, is incredibly high…almost unquestioned.   Character boils down to doing the right thing when no one else is looking.  Character is hard-wired.  You can teach right from wrong, but you can’t teach character.

Charisma on the other hand is an appeal that attracts others to an individual.  It could be a specific talent or attribute.  Charisma, or charm, are qualities that are also hard-wired into a personality.  Many celebrities, politicians, and public figures have great charisma.  It’s a quality that has been developed over time and used to rally support behind a persons specific efforts.  In the movies, as in life, there are people who have enough charisma to make obnoxious characters likable.  Perhaps this is where the saying “wolf in sheep’s clothing” came into existence.  We are often times fooled in life by people who are very charismatic rather than supporting the individual with strong character.  People with charisma seem to have it all and it’s exciting to be around them.  But charisma is no substitute for character.

So how can you tell the difference?

  1. When talking with someone do they open up or keep things shallow or superficial?
  2. How willing is the person to roll up their sleeves and “do”, versus simply talking about “doing”?
  3. When interacting with others does the person focus on the material things or do they make human connections?
  4. What examples can be found where this person did something good for someone, or some company, for which they received nothing in return?
  5. How do they treat and interact with their family and friends?
  6. Do they keep their word even if doing so results in a loss?  Or are they quick to abandon their commitments and justify doing so with one reason or another?

Learning how to deal effectively with people throughout life will determine your success and happiness.  Being proficient in identifying people with character versus charisma will give you greater opportunities to align yourself with those who will truly add value to your life thereby create lasting relationships.  Focus on establishing relationships with people rich in character rather than charisma.  Remember, charisma is an outward sign whereas character comes from within.  Surrounding yourself with people high in character will bring you a lifetime of self-fulfillment and happiness.

A Lesson in EQ – Move To Improve

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Most people evolve into a leadership role.  Sure, we’ve all heard people talk about a specific person as a “natural born leader”, but few are. Often times, someone rises to the position of leader as a result of their accomplishments as an individual contributor.  Think about it.  What was the reason for your first promotion?  Or your second?  Most likely you were promoted because you exceeded a specific sales number, or made an improvement that saved the company a great deal of money.  Early in your career, those are the reasons you achieve recognition and promotions.

Many companies invest heavily in leadership development.  They use tests to identify potential leaders, teach classes in leadership lessons and ideals, and even rank employees in the ever popular “Org & Talent Review”.  And while each of these components serves a very specific purpose in building the leadership ranks within a company, it’s the time and development spent in the areas of EQ that tend to be overlooked.

EQ, or emotional quotient, is the measure of a persons ability to deal with others in a sensitive and empathetic way.  People with high EQ have a great sense of self-awareness and know the importance of treating people with respect and dignity regardless of position, title, etc. A report published by Glowan Consulting Group, looked at the correlation between leaders with high EQ versus IQ, or cognitive intelligence.  The report found that those leaders with a high level of EQ generated results ranging from 10 – 24% better than those with low EQ.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods said, “For leadership positions, emotional intelligence is more important than cognitive intelligence.”  Having the ability to respond to one’s own emotions, and those of others, is the key differentiator between those that manage people versus great leaders of people.

Leaders that have a difficult time connecting with others in high stress environments should look to improve their EQ.  As the pace of change rages on, and companies are faced with changing strategies, workforces, and philosophies, it is critical that its leaders understand how to connect with people in order to affect positive change.

Daniel Goleman brought EQ to the forefront in his 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence.  I highly recommend this book for any leader looking to gain a better understanding, as well as, improvement of their own EQ level.  Your ability to connect with those around you in an authentic and genuine way will create the trust and bond required to help you – the leader – provide direction and guidance both in good and bad times.  An improvement in your EQ level will drive increases in your individual performance, as well as, producing better results across the team you lead.  The reason?  People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.