The New Year is just around the corner and people all over the world are making resolutions, measuring previous performance and benchmarks, and deciding on what changes they want to make and implement in their personal lives.  In the business world, professionals are hopefully doing the same thing.  Although we should be thinking about this on a constant basis, what better a time than the mark of a New Year to stop, take a breath, and ask ourselves, “How can I improve?”

In 2011 I, personally, am going to throw away my Social Media crutches.  The way that we interact with clients and prospects and our methods of lead generation have changed drastically in the last few years.  The way our brains work and process information that help us decide who we want to trust our business with, however, has not.  I have had the opportunity to work with and alongside many sales professionals and sales leaders over the last five years.  During this time, I’ve seen many different types of approaches work or fail, and many sales people come and go.  One of the biggest reasons that I see good sales people fail, however, is because they forget to realize that Social Media is merely an enabler for sales and recruitment, not the “end all, be all.”  They hide behind their computer, their “social network”, and their e-mail waiting for customers to come to them.  Social Media needs to be incorporated as merely a small component of your lead generation means — it should not encompass your entire strategy.

Call me old fashioned, but deep client relationships are established by a series of interactions and a realization of value over a period of time.  LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter provide us with a way to facilitate interactions and reach out to prospective customers and in some cases even establish credibility, but there are a lot of key pieces to the sales process such as trust, repoire, and the overall ability to make a strong impact on a prospect that simply cannot be transferred via anything “2.0”.  Any YoYo can can write a nice introductory paragraph and hit send and hope that the person on the receiving end replies.  The problem with doing this is twofold: 1) 20 other YoYos just sent the same message to the same person today, and 2) actions are stronger than words.  Your ability to make an impact or an impression decreases by 85% when your means of communication is typed or written.

Nobody likes traditional cold-calling, but if you are good at what you do, you believe in your product or service, and are able to effectively communicate the value-add that your product or service will have to the customer, than every time you pick up the phone or meet with a customer face-to-face, you have the ability to make a positive impact and leave an impression.  Mannerisms, tone, confidence, body language — every aspect of interpersonal communication that lead customers to want to do business with you — cannot be done by using social media or sending somebody an “InMail” or “Tweet” that says “Happy Holidays, Please Be My Client.”

As you think about how you want to tweak your sales and marketing strategy moving into 2011, I urge you to follow my suit and throw away your social media crutches also.  Use Social Media wisely to compliment your strategy — but for the love of St. Nicholas — get on the horn, hit the pavement, make an impact and leave an impression. 

May everyone have an incredible Holiday Season, a Happy New Year, and top sales performance in 2011!!!

  1. Mike,

    I couldn’t agree more. Recruiting, like sales, is also about “actively” pursuing prospects that are in alignment, or as you would say “possess the dna” a particular client is looking for.

    Case and point, I remember a colleague who lived on sending emails to prospective recruits, while I actually called them. I think we both know what happened…

    Great article and good advice!


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Brenneman, Michael Brenneman. Michael Brenneman said: Throw Away Your Social Media Crutches: […]

  3. Chris Lee says:

    I actually disagree with the title of this post though I don’t think your message is in conflict with my beliefs. I think relying solely on social media is short sighted and misses out on the main benefit of it.

    It does though give great benefit when paired with real life activity. It greatly enables the development and accelerates the deepening of relationships. I’ve used it in concert with attending events, meet ups and personal meetings for years. Non-spammy use of twitter, facebook, etc. enables you connect with people before meeting them in real life and also allows you to have repeated interactions that real life time constraints would never permit.

    I think that social media is of huge value when developing relationships and that it’s benefit shouldn’t be minimized. That being said, failing to pair it with real life activity misses out badly.

    • Chris,

      Thanks for the feedback. Glad to hear you and I have similar views on the benefits of social media when leveraged professionaly and properly. Perhaps I could have chosen a more suitable title. Have a great holiday season and good luck in business in 2011!

      Best regards,

  4. Mark Herbert says:

    Like others I completely agree. Social media is a tool and it doesn’t replace relationships and human interactions!.
    So many young people especially forget that we still live in a real world with real people.
    Technology of all kinds is a too not an end…

  5. dna says:

    I really liked your blog! It helped me alot…

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