Social Selling on LinkedIn Beyond Personal Brands
The Customers That Broke My Heart
Before I set up my own business I had worked in sales roles for close to 20 years. I loved it! Anyone that has worked in sales knows that when working with key accounts there is often blood, sweat and tears as you work to strengthen those relationships and build the business.
I have many examples but one, in particular, stands out in my career that left me heartbroken.
I worked my butt off to build a working relationship with a customer. They were 80% of our business revenue as the stakes were high. Our friendship grew over lunches, multiple site visits weekly and the amount of time we spent on the phone.
Six years into the role, the business I worked for was sold and my role became redundant. I had the opportunity to email key clients to let them know.
I sent the email to my “friend” in purchasing to let her know the news before I finished.
Zero response. Ever.
Gone without a trace.
It made me question everything. All the effort I had put in and zero acknowledgement with even a simple goodbye.
You see whilst I made the process more enjoyable and she had fewer headaches, the fact was we were the only business that manufactured their products. She would have placed purchase orders every week regardless.
Yes, it broke my heart. Something that would happen in other roles as the relationship lines of business and friendship became blurred.
It wasn’t me they were doing business with – it was the company.
Yes, I have equal stories where the reverse is also true. I left the company for a competitor and customers followed me.
LinkedIn Strategy - No One Size Fits All
For those of you who have been following my content for some time, you will know that my style is to create content that challenges the status quo. It’s not for the sake of being a contrarian (as much as that is good for engagement), it is so that you take a moment and question your own LinkedIn strategy.
I wholeheartedly believe that there is no one size fits all strategy. No two people are the same and certainly, no two businesses are alike. If a LinkedIn trainer gives you the command “thou shalt do this or that”, it is on you to question that info objectively. Even if it’s me 😉
Today, I want you to look at a different perspective to question…..
Do people really only want to do business with people?
People Don't Just Do Business with People
Regardless of how many Simon Sinek quotes you read, business is beyond just people to people. Although one may argue a company is just a group of people.
Whenever I’m scrolling LinkedIn, I find the case for “people only do business with people”, with screenshots of Bill Gates and Richard Branson having more followers than their respective LinkedIn Company Pages. Take this at face value, and it makes the case.
Let’s take the same logic and apply it to the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, and the CEO of Nike, John Donahoe and the evidence shows the opposite would be true. That people only do business with company brands.
The fact is neither side of this argument is “true”.
LinkedIn Lessons with MJR Podcast Episode
Right Product, Right Price, Right Time
While it’s easy to want to complicate the sales process, it is as simple as “Right Product, Right Price, Right Time, ” a wise sales manager once told me.
The awareness of your products and services may come through your company brand or your employee brands. Or it could be a combination of both.
Do you think cutting off 50% of this potential and ignoring your company brand is a good idea?
💥PERSONAL BRAND(S) + COMPANY BRAND = COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE💥
You may, after reading this, still agree to disagree, which is fine by me. If you have read this far, I know you are smart and have considered this in line with your business strategy.
That’s all I can ever ask.
Michelle J Raymond is the Chief LinkedIn Strategist at her company Good Trading Co and a founding member of the LinkedIn Small Business Advisory Council for LinkedIn Pages. Michelle specialises in helping small to medium business owners make a real impact in business. As a leading global authority on LinkedIn Pages, her passion is to change the world by doing good business with good people.