InternetSocialMediaSocial selling is a powerful tool for salespeople who prospect through referrals, but only if you do it right.

Relationships still rule in business, and especially in sales. Whether you’re connecting with someone in person or online, your goal is to begin a conversation, ask questions, and develop a relationship—not scare people away by immediately launching into a sales pitch.

Unfortunately, many salespeople forget that clicking a button and blatant self-promotion don’t start conversations or begin relationships. With this in mind, I looked forward to chatting with Koka Sexton—global senior social marketing manager at LinkedIn Sales Solutions—who invited me to LinkedIn’s Mountain View campus to discuss the links between social selling and referrals. Our conversation has been broken into short videos on some cool topics, including:

  • Why sales and marketing must call a ceasefire
  • How social selling has (and hasn’t) changed the sales game
  • The right and wrong ways to use LinkedIn for sales
  • What Buyer 2.0 needs from salespeople
  • The danger of too much technology—in sales and our personal lives

Click here to watch the videos and share your thoughts with us.

Plus, check out some of the latest blog posts from No More Cold Calling:

Social Selling Not Working for You?

Your mother was right. There is a time and place for everything. So when and where is the best time to make a sales pitch? Save it for when your prospects genuinely like and trust you, because strangers on social media couldn’t care less. Sales is still about people buying from people. Social media can help start conversations that lead to true connections, but only if you show up as a person. (Read “Social Selling Not Working for You?”)

Love Them or They’ll Leave

Your clients want to hear from you … really. They don’t want a pitch or even to hear about your services. They want to know what you know. Many of your clients don’t get out of the office very often. They keep their heads buried in their work, occasionally emerging to sign birthday cards and share giant cookies with co-workers. Meanwhile, you’re out there talking to people—at different companies and across multiple industries—hearing stories about what is working and what isn’t. Knowledge is power. And your position gives you unique, valuable insights. (Read “Love Them or They’ll Leave.”)

[Message to Management]: Your Team Is Wasting Your Time

Salespeople not performing, dragging you down, and compromising your team‘s sales effectiveness? If you’ve provided all the tools and training they need to succeed long-term, and they’re still more trouble than they’re worth, it’s time to make some tough decisions. Guest blogger Will Brooks—executive vice president and director of marketing for The Brooks Group—discusses his perspective on cleaning house. (Read “[Message to Management:] Your Team Is Wasting Your Time.”)

I Don’t Want Your Deck

How many times have you received an email with attachments and multiple links? Do you hit the delete button, or worse yet, save it to read later—knowing you probably never will? Sending too much information at the wrong time puts a wrench in your sales process. The same goes for demos, product descriptions, and any other information your customers didn’t ask for and probably don’t have time to read or watch. (Read “I Don’t Want Your Deck.”)

Why Are You Giving Your Prospects the Silent Treatment?

We delete emails like robots. Social selling works, but only when we remember to put the “social” back in social media. Phone conversations are what really drive sales. Why? Because sales begins with relationships, which are are built and cemented when we speak to other people. In this guest post, Sean Burke—CEO of KiteDesk—explains how important phone conversations are to his company’s sales success. (Read “Why Are You Giving Your Prospects the Silent Treatment?”)

Trust Trumps Technology—Who Do You Know?

In an era of economic instability and wrecked public faith in business, trust is no longer the default starting point for skeptical consumers. It must be earned and nurtured over time. That’s why cold calling doesn’t work, and neither does pitching people on social media. So how do you earn your prospects’ trust and start building relationships that translate into sales? With referral-based selling, half the work is already done for you. (Read “Trust Trumps Technology—Who Do You Know?”)

Why Keeping Up Has You Falling Behind

The key to success in sales is definitely not being busy. It’s focusing your time on sales activities that matter—building relationships, asking for referrals, and delivering value to your current clients so they keep sending you business and singing your praises. And you can’t do any of that unless you can slow down and focus on the clients and contacts who matter. (Read “Why Keeping Up Has You Falling Behind.”)

Do Your Connections Count?

Thousands of people have subscribed to my newsletter. But I’m not connected with thousands of people on LinkedIn. The reason is simple. LinkedIn is not a numbers game. So stop counting connections and focus on creating connections that count.

Of course, just because we aren’t connected doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Click through to my LinkedIn profile. Am I the type of professional connection that makes sense for your business? Can we help each other? If you answered “yes” to both questions, send me a personal invitation to join your network. But please don’t use the standard LinkedIn invite. Make your case, and let’s start a conversation!