Relationships Make Digital Selling a Success According to Bill McCormick, Ep #254

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Bill McCormick believes that relationships are the most important difference between digital selling and social selling. To Bill, digital selling encompasses all mediums. It’s email, SMS, chat, direct messages, phone calls, video, etc. It’s larger numbers and more impersonal outreach. Social selling is social. It’s about establishing a relationship and a connection with a person and moving that relationship along until there’s an opportunity for a sales conversation. Hear his complete thoughts on digital and social selling in this episode of Sales reinvented!

Outline of This Episode
  • [1:13] The difference between digital and social selling
  • [2:12] Why digital selling is so important today
  • [3:55] Bill’s ideal digital selling strategy
  • [7:13] The attributes you need to reach success
  • [9:44] Tools + techniques + strategies to improve
  • [12:14] Digital selling dos and don’ts
  • [15:17] Why consistency and persistence are key
How to improve digital selling capabilities

Things can change in a moment. Even as things begin to open, Bill doubts that we’ll return to how things used to be. He believes we’ll be looking at a hybrid model for companies where many more people will work from home. McKinsey reported that 75% of buyers are saying that when they get back in the office, they’d prefer initial meetings to be conducted virtually.

People need digital communication to set up meetings and have the meetings. Companies need to support their reps with decent technology (camera, microphones, laptop, etc.) and teach them how to use it so they’ll be successful.

Bill’s ideal digital selling strategy

Bill implores salespeople: Don’t try to build relationships with mass outreach. Use social selling to build relationships. You use digital outreach—like an email campaign—to get valuable information out. The second part—using social selling to build relationships—means you need to slow your outreach to increase your outcome. You have to go fast to go slow.

So you have to identify social tactics that will build relationships and credibility and build a cadence around that. Don’t just blindly connect with people and pitch your product because they’re your ideal client. You need to identify them, view their LinkedIn profile (or other social platforms), and engage with their content. That gives you a reason to connect with them. Once you’ve done that, you need a well-crafted welcome message with a piece of content that’s educational and ready to send them if they want it.

When you do this consistently, it builds relationships that lead to more sales conversations. It takes time—but you don't end up burning people. When you do mass outreach and you get a conversion rate of 5–10%, that’s considered successful. But what are you doing to the other 95% of people? When you slow your outreach, you aren’t burning those that aren’t responding.

Tools + techniques + strategies to improve

Bill believes that much of digital selling will have to be video, which means you have to be comfortable in your own skin. You also have to be authentic and comfortable talking about yourself in a way that shows people that you’re human. You have to be open to learning new technology, tactics, and strategies. You have to be adaptable. Lastly, you must be consistent with digital and social selling. People have to get used to you. It develops a relationship and credibility—that is what makes a difference in your digital selling efforts.

Video isn’t the future—it’s the here and now. If you’re not using it, you’re being left behind. If you hate the way you look and sound in a video, guess what? You look and sound the same in a physical meeting. It’s not different and you have to get used to it. Treat the camera as someone’s face and look them in the eye when you speak. Eye contact builds trust and it’s no different with virtual communication. All prospects, clients, former clients, etc. are all people. Digital selling can seem impersonal, but you can really create a connection across a screen.

Digital selling dos and don’ts

Bill shares a few things to keep in mind with digital and social selling:

  1. Make sure that you’re authentic no matter what medium you’re using. Don’t mislead or manipulate. Don’t give false compliments
  2. You must understand the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication. In Jeb Blount’s book, “Virtual Selling,” he shares that asynchronous communication is the giving of information. Synchronous communication is a conversation. You have to know the difference between the two and you have to earn the right for a sales conversation.
  3. Stop practicing the golden rule and practice the platinum rule. Part of virtual selling is passing along valuable information. Bill notes that “We always tell people what we want to say, not what they want to hear.” The platinum rule? Do unto others as they want to be done unto. It essentially means you need to find out what your prospects care about and tell them what they want to know.

Bill shares a digital sales story that demonstrates the need for consistency and persistence. Listen to the whole episode to learn more!

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