The New Buzzword That Is 100 Percent Bullshit

by · March 31, 201415 comments

If I never hear the phrase “social selling” again, it will be too soon. It seems now that the hippies have come around to understanding they can’t sell social media to the C-Suite based on joining the conversation and singing “Kumbaya” alone, they’ve gone out and invented a hip new catch phrase to cover their butts.

As terms or catch phrases go, “social selling” is almost as much nonsense as “collaborative economy,” though my thoughts on that one will have to wait for a longer, more detailed explanation, one I’m sure will get Jeremiah Owyang’s panties in a wad since he’s one of about one person on the planet talking about it.

But I digress.

What gets my goat about the term “social selling” is that it’s not some magical new thing or world that people have to explain or understand. When you uncover the hype and bullshit the “social sellers” talk about what you realize are these facts:

  1. Social media is yet another medium in which you can communicate with customers or prospects
  2. In order to successfully do so, you need to have active and attractive presences in or on those channels
  3. Selling is still selling, regardless of whether you’re grippin’ and grinnin’ or posting a status update

You still have to establish a relationship. You still have to build trust. You still have to illustrate the benefits. You still have to make the ask. You still have to close the deal.

Because you’re doing it either exclusively on a social network or with social channels, or intelligence as a supplement to your traditional information sources doesn’t make it special.

It makes it SALES. Period.

If you are not leveraging a prospect’s social updates or information when you contact them these days, you’re not a bad social seller. You’re a bad seller.

If you are not leveraging a prospect’s social updates or information when you contact them these days, you’re not a bad social seller. You’re a bad seller.

If you are not populating your own social channels with smart, thought-leadership or lead generation content so prospects or random people can see who you are, what you’re about and perhaps get interested in what you do, you’re not a bad social seller. You’re a bad seller.

Social media doesn’t make the sales process any different. It only enhances how good (or bad) of a job you can do.

Disclaimer: At the time of this writing, I was a bit cranky. You’re welcome.

 

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    From day one it’s been said that the proper use of social media is for engagement, not sales.

    But when you think about it – effective selling has always been about engagement first, because true engagement happens between people.

  • Simple Simon

    Hmm…. Really, Mr. Jason Falls?…

    First this:
    “the hippies have come around to understanding they can’t sell social media to the C-Suite…”
    (Uh, what? Hippies?!)

    followed by:
    “…will get Jeremiah Owyang’s panties in a wad”…
    (Really? “Panties”?)

    And then… this advice:
    “[You should be] populating your own social channels with smart, thought-leadership or lead
    generation content so prospects or random people can see who you are”

    Well, if nothing else, Mr. Jason Falls, thanks for letting me see who [and what] you are. ;-)

    P.S.: FYI, I don’t know Jeremiah Owyang, nor am I young enough to be considered a “hippie” anymore.

    I just recognize a self-embarrassing, filterless rant when I read one.

    Peace, man! ;-)

    • http://occamsrazr.com Ike Pigott

      As one who has been watching and commenting on this “social in the business” thing for the last decade (yes, decade), allow me to answer.

      1) “Hippies” is probably not the best term, but accurately describes one who enters the C-Suite as an outsider, promising love and unicorn kisses as long as you don’t peel the label that covers the snake oil.

      There are a lot of really good people out there helping organizations with technology — and there are a lot of charlatans and well-meaning but dangerous fakes who are preaching a doctrine of free online love. So, yeah… Hippies.

      2) “Panties in a wad” is a southern expression that has no gender-based connotation, nor any loaded commentary about sexual orientation. It is a direct analog to the British “knickers in a twist.” Don’t read anything more into it than that.

      3) Applies only to those who are trying to sell their services as sales consultants.

      • http://www.marketingtechblog.com Douglas Karr

        It wasn’t too long ago that social “media” was full of hippies entering the C-Suite promising love and unicorn kisses.

  • Parissa Behnia

    There is selling and then there is pushing. Back in the analog days of yore, higher emotional IQ led to higher sales percentages and it’s not any different in this new technology rich age. Technology aids in selling effectively but there are plenty of people, including the luminaries, who still push product as if it’s going out of style. My main beef is people thinking that sparkling twitter feeds and 1000+ connections equate to selling effectively. It’s just plain wrong.

  • jessicamalnik

    “Social selling” is right there with paradigm, synergy, real-time marketing, and the list goes on and on.

    However, the one buzzword that drives me crazy is “social business.” If your business isn’t actively embracing social media – both internally and externally listening to feedback from customers- you probably won’t be in business in 3-5 years.

  • Alex Feigenbaum

    This is so true. Calling it “social selling” makes it seem
    like something new and different that companies don’t have to do. In reality, it’s
    just bad business to not take advantage of everything out there. With all the
    new technology out there, this is still just our generation’s form of selling.

    Alex Feigenbaum, Tulane

  • http://www.kingged.com/ Sunday

    Hi Jason,
    Selling remains selling with or without social media. Making “social selling” look like a special kind of selling is misleading. The selling strategies employed by marketers these days embrace the use of social media for facilitation. Its important that marketers realize this and not push the main process of marketing to the background.

    In kingged.com, this post is shared and “kingged” for its value to content marketers.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/buzzword-100-percent-bullshit/

  • http://www.marketingtechblog.com Douglas Karr

    Couldn’t the same argument be given for “social media”? Isn’t media just media?

  • Pingback: Fresh Pressed: 4/2/2014 | CopyPressed

  • Koka Sexton

    Oh Mr. Falls… Lets not get crazy.

  • venkyiyer58

    I generally avoid any term that has derivatives of the word selling in it. This is the first post I have read on social selling. Just another buzz word. I get the idea.

  • http://nexlevelsales.com Julio Viskovich

    Wow, JF you certainly did get up on the wrong side of the bed. Social selling is a tool that needs to be part of every sales person’s arsenal just like email and phone. Using social media tactically for sales is far different than announcing how many pepperoni’s are on your pizza. But really loved the rant ;)

  • http://www.RoninMarketeer.com John Wall

    Your Social Selling isn’t working because you’re not doing enough Growth Hacking.

  • Jill Rowley

    Love your #CrankyPantsRant. I’m actually teaching people how to stop SELLING and start SERVING their buyers. Social is a channel sales people can use to research, network, build relationships, and earn trust by adding VALUE; not by SELLING. If you suck offline; you’re going to suck even more online (it’s amplified). We’re living in The Age of the Customer; not The Age of the Seller. Sales people need to Adapt or Be Replaced. http://www.marketingprofs.com/podcasts/2014/24906/social-selling-jill-rowley-marketing-smarts