magicalSocial selling isn’t a magical cure for all your sales challenges.

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.

Be Wary of Magical Cures

There is little difference between a lot of sales “experts” and the traveling salespeople in the Wild West, who sold elixirs that were guaranteed to cure everything from ingrown toenails to heart ailments. By the time people figured out the products didn’t work, these unscrupulous vendors were long gone.

These snake-oil salespeople still exist—promising magical results at a minimal cost (and with minimal effort).  But today they’re selling digital snake oil.

Social Selling Is Not a Stand-Alone Sales Strategy

Sales is not a one-way street. There is no magic bullet, and no wondrous serum that will cure all our ills.

Top sales organizations understand that increasing sales quickly requires a blend of many activities and functions. That’s why I had to share Barb Giamanco’s post, “Go Beyond Social Selling.” She reminds us what it takes to drive business results, and explains that social selling is only part of the equation.

Here’s a snippet:

The social selling noise has become deafening with the constant and repetitive missives telling sellers what to do to succeed. Not many original thoughts on the topic these days. Comical, in a sad sort of way, because if you follow the #socialselling hashtag on Twitter, you will soon discover that the experts are pretty much just pitching to each other.

I’m concerned about the hype…

Sales leaders are dealing with serious issues. For all the hype, surface level social selling tactics won’t solve them. Period. (Read the rest of the article.)

I couldn’t agree more. Social selling is a great way to expedite the first few important steps in prospecting—researching potential clients and identifying Referral Sources. Beyond that, it’s not social intelligence we need. It’s relationship intelligence—connecting with clients, asking the right questions to uncover their pain points, offering solutions that make us trusted resources, and knowing when to pick up the damn phone and have a real conversation.

Connect with No More Cold Calling

Follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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How does social selling fit into your sales strategy?