Social Selling Lessons From The Mall

People that visit your store to use the bathroom aren’t leads.

Think of your B2B company as having a store in a mall. The mall is called Facebook or LinkedIn with your store being your corporate page within the mall. Your sales team is hanging around in the store waiting for buyers to come in, e.g. leads being generated.

CEO Demands a Social Media Campaign

But leads are hard to come and the CEO tasks the marketing with a social media campaign. Marketing starts by hanging signs at strategic spots throughout the mall (banners-ads), based on how many people walk through (traffic), and they leave them no option but see your ads (impressions). Marketing even found a way to pay off the people at the central information desk to make sure they refer anyone your way (GoogleAds).


Great Stats On The Lead-Gen Program

The entrepreneurial and hard working marketing team did not leave it at that, they also hired a number of kids who are putting flyers under your windshield wipers (lead-gen campaigns). The stats look great, more leaflets every day, and more impressions from the banner-ads, even more people stop by your store (pageviews). Most of them however are asking if they can use your bathroom. Urgh.

Sales Remain Flat! Whoa.

Encouraged by the great stats (big data) you decide to put up more banner ads in the most effective areas (targeting), the flyer kids have been trained to put different flyers based on the kind of car (lead scoring). The always friendly person at the information desk has contacted you, competition is offering more money, alas you double the price.

Your find yourself six months later, your social media budget just doubled and the stats look great, but your sales shows no increase. Marketing and Sales now fight frequently blaming each other, whilst neither is at fault. Eventually the perceived non performance take its toll, leading to one fired, and the other leaving soon after.

What is happening?

Continuing the analogy here is what you did not see! With marginal real-estate & building cost the shopping mall was able to double retail space overnight. Declining your % and with it your exposure. And although overall traffic continues to increase, this does you no good. It is the wrong kind of traffic. The real leads are going to the hip stores that are opening up in the new parts of the mall, where cewl kids in jeans and on skateboards attract all the attention and seem to have no need for advertisement whatsoever (start-ups).

It is time for you to deploy your best asset!

The solution to this is right in front of you. Your biggest asset. Your sales team. You have invested in this group of people to handle this situation over the past years, and it is time for you to engage them in social selling!

But they too are in unfamiliar terrain, and whilst your superstars will find a way to make it work, the lionshare of your sales team needs to be coached on social selling.

Social Sales Lessons From The Shopping Mall

Social selling is nothing new, you actually experience it yourself every-time you go to the mall. I encourage you to look around and see if you can spot what works and what doesn’t. Why many brand name stores are completely empty, yet some seem to thrive. Here are some of my observations of what successful stores do;

  • They have their best people go out of the store and walk around offering samples (social selling)
  • They put up an incredibly cool, yet short, demo together that gather crowds (social selling)
  • They have personable people that you meet in line at Starbucks (social selling)
  • Instead of having a store, they have a pop-up booth that sell iPhone covers 10 feet away from the Apple store (social selling)
  • And don’t forget the mom & pop store that knows you, your entire family, and wants to know first how your mom is doing (social selling)

Time to take action!

How do you get your sales team started? You will be surprised to find that your sales team actually will be very excited to get involved with this. I have seen the most reserved sales teams get really excited once they understand this is about the core of their beliefs, building relationships between human beings. Here are some simple steps & examples to start with;

  • CONTENT: Provide your sales team with content developed in response to todays client needs. Instead of a long boring powerpoint, create an engaging Prezi for them (example social sales pitch – 2mins 1k views )
  • TOOLS: Enable them with the latest in sales tools, a LinkedIn Sales Navigator license, simple to use desktop sharing license (example tool training – 1min 69k views)
  • SKILLS: Provide them with frequent short coaching sessions, think of a video series, no more than 5-10 minutes each to coach a new skill (example skills training session-2min NEW 100 views)

Share your own experience! Contact me with your story.


Passionate about all things social, sales, marketing and business development.

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Posted in Content, Skills, Tools
One comment on “Social Selling Lessons From The Mall
  1. Ron DiNapoli says:

    Great article! I need to sign up for Prizi

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