There may come a day when social selling replaces traditional methods of prospecting. That day, however, is not today. As things stand, it’s not tomorrow either.
Much of what passes for “social selling” is research and the equivalent of an email. What the Charlatans and Snake Oil Salesman have laid down as the new gospel has overpromised and under-delivered, all the while using cold calling as a straw man. “Buy what we sell and you’ll never have to make another cold call as long as you live.”
For brand building, there has never been a better toolkit—if you are a content creator. Digital has changed things: It’s a content creator’s world, and you are just living in it. For research, the social tools are simply unmatched. As a replacement for every other method of prospecting—including cold calling? Phooey.
The question isn’t whether or not you are going to need to use other mediums in the future. The question is “What mediums should you be using now?” Right now, cold calling is still the fastest, most effective method for getting in front of your dream clients.
Someday, you may be replaced by artificial intelligence. A chat bot may be your dream client’s trusted advisor. They could turn to it for advice on how to make complex, strategy, risky, strategic decisions. This is not happening right now. Right now, we are getting the weather, directions, and elementary instructions for our new products via ‘chat boy.’
Certainly, we are going to use AI to augment our mental work, very much like we used electricity and machinery to augment physical labor. In fact, we have been leveraging the chip for quite some time now. The spreadsheet comes to mind, and now there are crude tools like Siri and Alexa, which gives us some idea about what the future is going to look like.
Right now, you have to be your dream client’s trusted advisor, just like you have to be a rainmaker and create new opportunities.
“What should you do now?” is a different question than “What you should do later?” Because at some point in the future commerce may include more interactions with artificial intelligence or something that looks a lot like a human being, does that mean that there is no need to do what is necessary to create value for your clients now?
A very different future is coming; much faster than we are going to be able to properly contend with, but much slower than many believe. That future isn’t here yet, and while you should be aware of what’s coming, you still have to do what is necessary to succeed now, and you still use the tools that work now, including the greatest technological innovation in the known universe, the human brain.
Be smart. Be practical. Do what works now. Do what works later when that’s what works.