How To Go From NOTHING To INFLUENCE To AUTHORITY

Tim Hughes is a best-selling author and social selling pioneer.

On this episode of the Salesman Podcast, Tim shares how things like social selling can take us from nobodies to influence and finally to a position of authority within our industry.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Tim Hughes
Social Selling Pioneer

Resources:

Transcript

Tim Hughes:

And you should be using all the tools that you've got, to your hands, whether it's email, whether it's a telephone, whether it's social, to prospect.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, sales nation and welcome to today's episode of The Salesman Podcast, on today's show we have Tim Hughes. He is a social selling expert, author of the book, Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Change Makers, and that is exactly what we're talking about today. How we go from nothing, to having influence, to then having authority in our space through social media, creative content, and a whole lot more. You can find out more about Tim over at social.experts.net. Now with all that said, let's jump in today's episode. Hey Tim, and welcome to The Salesman Podcast.

 

Tim Hughes:

Hey Will, it's great to see you, really excited to be here.

 

Should Salespeople Contact Decision Makers on Social Media? · [01:10]

 

Will Barron:

I'm excited to have you on, I'm excited to dive into social selling, and I'm excited to dive into the angle and the end point I think we should all be aiming for with social selling, which is both, one, awareness and then, two, influence. Before we get to all the good stuff, I want you to frame up our conversation, I want you to tell us, me and sales nation, the audience, the 25 to 30,000 people that are going to be downloading and listening to this show, should we all, point blank across the board, should we all be engaging with our decision makers if they're on social?

 

Tim Hughes:

Yes, the thing about social selling really from what I see is it's now business as usual. It's not really about, should we be doing it, we should be talking about how. I don't want to get into an argument about cold calling or social-

 

Will Barron:

Go for it, dive deep and ruffle some feathers.

 

Tim Hughes:

I'm a great fan that every salesperson has to prospect and you should be using all the tools that you've got to your hands, whether it's email, whether it's a telephone, whether it's social to prospect. You should be doing all of those things, and social nowadays, we all need to be on social. All of our customers are on social, half the world is on social and we need to be there too. There's two things that are impacting on us. One is that our customers are going online and searching for things and self-educating themselves and we know that they're doing it and we all do it as well. It's kind of a given now that everybody's going, and it doesn't really matter whether it's 50% of the way through the buying process or whatever it is. People are self-educating and they're going online and they're researching information before they make a purchase.

 

Tim Hughes:

That's the first thing, the second thing is that if we look at the way that we can get access to people, we can get access to the people far easier through social than we can actually by picking up the phone. If you think about, we should be cold calling and we should be ringing people up, but we're in a situation where, certainly with my mobile, if I don't know the numbers or the names that basically crop up my mobile, I don't answer it. Whereas I can go to a sales director, the other week I went to a sales VP on the Wednesday. I retweeted his stuff, I was having a meeting with him, and we were closing business a week later. You can actually get in very high into organisations and get access to people that you can't do using the telephone.

 

How to Incorporate Social Media Into Your Sales Process · [03:40] 

 

Will Barron:

Makes total sense, and you've kind of teed up where I wanted to go with this next, Tim, of when does all this happen within the sales cycle. If we've got the sales process, the stereotypical of prospecting onwards, where should we be leveraging social to have the most impact? Is it most useful at the beginning to get the awareness, or is it most useful throughout the process to keep top of mind?

 

Tim Hughes:

It's end to end, we can be using social at the beginning to actually get people or make people aware that we exist. Right through to using social to make sure that when they get to the point of choosing us or choosing a supplier that they actually choose us or choose you because they're buying into you because you're an influencer. If you think about anybody who's going online, what you want them to do is come to the conclusion that you are the best person for them in terms of the product or service. That isn't just about having great LinkedIn profiles or having great Twitter profiles, it's about having a complete culture out there on social. In terms of great content, educational content, all of those things that when people search and they go, I'm looking for someone who's really good at social media, they find us.

 

Why B2B Salespeople Should Learn to Embrace Selling on Social Media · [05:11] 

 

Will Barron:

We'll come on to content in a second, because this is a hot topic of whether sales people should curate content, whether it should be insights about their accounts, whether they should be curating, whether marketing should be given at them. We'll dive into that rabbit hole in a second, but I just want to emphasise this point here, and tell me if I'm wrong, but I think I'm on the right tracks. We should all, as B2B salespeople, be super excited about this, because this gives us, personally as individuals, leverage on top of the product and the company that we work for of, as you just said, I only want to work with the top people in my industry. If I can, one, portray myself, maybe not the best way to describe it, but if I can be one of these top people in my industry through having that visibility, this is leverage that we can use to close deals that we've never had before isn't it?

 

Tim Hughes:

Yeah, absolutely, having influence, I have influence as an individual and we get daily inbound. This is really the thing that salespeople should be looking for in terms of what they're working in terms of their social profiles, is getting inbound through LinkedIn or through Twitter. They should be so much out there and so above their competition that actually people go, these are the people that I'm going to buy from because it's just so obvious because they're holding the most influence. I really don't understand why you wouldn't want to be better than your competitors, surely you want to be… I've been in sales for 25 years, I've always wanted to be better than my competitors. Fighting isn't the right word because it sounds a bit negative, but I've always made sure that what we provided in terms of our presentations, we were the best. We had the best materials, we had the best insight to take in to senior people, and second best has never been good enough.

 

Social Selling as Part of Your Inbound Sales Strategy · [06:50] 

 

Will Barron:

Is this how we should be looking at it then? Because you said something subtle there, which is perhaps different to other social selling experts who use that term that have come on the show in the past. Should all our content, should all our linear profiles, the interactions that we have, should that be geared… And I'm kind of going to drill down into this deeper in this episode because you brought it out. Should all this be geared towards bringing in inbound leads? So not necessarily saying… It's almost like putting out an advert about a call to action if you are saying, hey, I'm an influencer or an expert in this field of whatever niche it is, medical devices, SAS software sales. Are we missing the point here, should it be that plus here's how you contact me directly, and that's where the real leverage of all this lies?

 

Tim Hughes:

I think that sometimes we get hung up on it should be this or it should be that, at the end of the day we should be polling and trying to get the business that we can get in and close. I know I build my social profiles in a way that people are curious and they come to me and say, that sounds really interesting, can you come and talk to us? I also prospect for opportunities, so I don't say it's one or the other, I do everything that I can to make sure that we are successful and we gain revenue.

 

Should All Salespeople Aim to Become Thought Leaders · [08:16] 

 

Will Barron:

Nice, okay. I want to ask you… I'm laughing as I say this. It's going to sound like a silly question, but I think there's a lot to it that will help the audience here of if people aren't so familiar with… Clearly everyone uses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, but they may not be so familiar as what I am and what you are, Tim, of going through and producing content and getting that reach. It's going to sound like a silly, basic question, but I think it's an important one. What's the difference between just every three, four weeks randomly retweeting one of the latest tweets on this decision maker that you're trying to get in front of, versus becoming a influencer in your industry or even within your niche of product? Because clearly they're opposite ends of the scale of social selling and people have different thoughts on it. Where should we be aiming for within that scale, and how do we go about achieving that?

 

Tim Hughes:

I think that we should all be achieving for doing the best that we can and we should all be achieving to going as high as we can. My feeling is that what we've done in terms of training people, is that we've gone into telesales organisations and got them to understand the power of social. Because if we take telesales as an example, we've always been through the process of trying to warm up the call. Cold calling is interesting, but in my day we sent letters and then it was emails, we try and do something to warm it up, and social is a way of warming up a call. But also you could actually be using social as a way of when you actually ring into an organisation, if you already have the authority or the influence in effect, you're calling and it's like you are a rockstar, they're going to take your call. They're going to want to listen to you, they're going to understand that what you're going to provide to them is interesting and will be its insightful.

 

Tim Hughes:

I'm in a position where, and this is kind of strange, where I've walked into meetings and people say… I put out my hand and introduce myself, and they say, yeah, I know who you are. That, from a selling perspective, you've already passed lots of the barriers, we don't have to stand up and talk about who Digital Leadership Associates is as a company, everybody knows. We don't have to do the company presentation, we don't have to go through all of those things, because actually people have gone through and done all those ticks beforehand. If you think about social in the way that we work, there's so much information out there about organisations and companies. Most people now are not going out there and researching organisations to put them on a short list, they're going out there and researching organisations to deselect them from a short list.

 

Tim Hughes:

If you look at most applications nowadays there's so many apps and stuff, there's probably 10 or 20 products that can do it, and what they're going to do is they're going to bring that right down. What you need to be doing is you need to be showing that you understand their industry, you understand them, and that you look like you're really good people to deal with. That's kind of what I would see, because we tend to get heads up on this influence thing, it's really about showing that you know your stuff.

 

Tips on How to Improve Your Sphere of Influence Social Media · [11:40]

 

Will Barron:

This is a massive question, so perhaps you can help me segment it down, but how do we do that? Because again, there's one side of things and there's some people listening to this of going, I've got 1,000 twitter followers and I retweet all the CFOs that I sell to so I've got influence with them, versus what you just described. It's what I have as well, clearly interviewing people like yourself almost every day for like two years now and the audience and the reach that we've got. When I reach out to brands that I want to work with, Salesforce and HubSpot, for Salesforce I got introduced to one of the VPs at the Revenue Summit a few weeks ago. She knew who I was, she came over and shook my hand, big smiles.

 

Will Barron:

I assume she doesn't watch the show consistently, but at least she's seen bits of it and she recognised my face kind of thing. Clearly I've got a huge in there with the biggest company within the sales industry and that space. I've not proactively done it, it's just happened organically, which is clearly part of the usefulness of social, when you get to a certain reach point it can start to build a bit of momentum itself. Tim, how do we go from just retweeting people randomly to actually having influence? Is it content, is that the magic switch in between these two places?

“The thing about social media is that there is no magic silver bullet. There is not one thing that we do where we suddenly have 150,000 followers, there's not a button repress or a pill we can take. It takes hard work” – Tim Hughes · [13:10] 

 

Tim Hughes:

I think there's a number of things that we can be doing, the first thing about social media is that there is no magic silver bullet. There is not one thing that we do where we suddenly have 150,000 followers, there's not a button repress or a pill we can take. I'm sorry, but it takes hard work. What you are describing there in terms of what you've built up by interviewing people, I saw you at the event, and I knew who you were because I recognised you. Because you're a star, you're a rockstar in your own sphere so people-

 

Will Barron:

I'm glad you… added that on the end then, because my head is getting big.

 

Tim Hughes:

Yeah, you are a rockstar, Will, a lot of people know who you are and a lot of people respect you, and that's what salespeople need to build up now. There's a whole number of things, yeah, you can be retweeting the CFOs and that's kind of interesting, but yes, I think you also need to be creating your own content. I got to a point with my followers where it plateaued until I actually started writing my own content, and I now get people coming to me saying, I really enjoyed the article, I liked what you said. I don't mind if people come to me and say, I don't agree with what you say, the important thing there is that you're getting the engagement and you are sharing in a way, even though you are…

 

Tim Hughes:

Come on, it's really easy to write a blog, it's 500 words. The first blog I wrote, I was writing instructions for a VP that I was working for who wanted to know how to use Twitter lists. I was writing this email about how to write Twitter Lists, then I realised this is a blog and I just changed the top and the bottom of it and I put it out and I sent the email to the VP on how to use Lists. We're always writing and creating things, it's just a matter of understanding to make that switch.

 

Tim Hughes:

To some really great people out there who are doing things like Twitter chats, add some value, you can turn yourself into a rockstar, but you've got to add some value. You've got to be adding something to the collective of social and social media. Spend some time on LinkedIn, make some comments, indulge Tony Hughes in his conversation, say some things sometimes which may be a little bit controversial. It doesn't matter that people may pile in and disagree with you, it's the fact that you are adding stuff. There's individuals out there who've gone from nothing to something in like three months because they've just continually put out either content or been running Twitter chats or whatever. I'm not saying it's easy, it takes a lot of hard work, but you've got to be doing lots of things, you've got to be adding value.

 

You Don’t Need Thousands of Followers to be Influential in Your Space · [16:05] 

 

Will Barron:

Are we over complicating this as sales professionals?

 

Tim Hughes:

Yes.

 

Will Barron:

What I mean by that is when I first started putting out content, it was exactly what you just described of I was collecting insights from medical device sales from one hospital, and I was going to the next hospital. Which obviously in the NHS and the UK here, they can be separate trusts and they're competing with each other. Their essentially trying to pull patients from one side of the town, or city, or county to the other, because that's how they get more funding and they can grow. I was going from one side to one hospital to another, giving them insights, and then it was a basically no brainer of me to start writing these down, publish them on LinkedIn, and then saying to the surgeons that I was dealing with, check out this post on LinkedIn that I've just done.

 

Will Barron:

I only needed to be a rockstar for 30 or 40 urologists in Yorkshire, it was no more complex than that, and at that point, rightly or wrongly, they saw me as the expert in endoscope urology, endoscopic urology products. They would come to me and then I was getting referrals from… This is only a fluke that all this was happening, there was no structure or planning to it, I just felt it was right so I rolled with it. But then I was getting referrals from urologists in Scotland asking me for advice on things, so I'd have the conversation then pass them on to someone internally who's the rep local for them in Scotland. Is this what we should be aiming for, versus having 100,000 followers or likes on Facebook?

 

“It's not about followers, you can create your own influence by playing the game a bit and putting out valuable content.” – Tim Hughes · [18:45] 

 

Tim Hughes:

You don't need to have 100,000 followers. I wrote an article where I interviewed a friend of mine where he's getting 10 C-level meetings a week by using Twitter. Now that article was written two years ago, and all that was, was just finding someone and interviewing the person and putting it out as content. There's a guy called Jan Barbosa who takes his 10 best articles that he likes every week and puts them into another article. It's a really cheap way of… And I mean this positively cheap, you don't have to have thousands of people writing for you. It's just a very quick and easy way to say, these are my 10 favourite people. He obviously then tags people, and I'm usually in it so I usually retweeet it. Here's a guy with like no followers, he's in a situation where he's getting retweeted by people with influence. When I interviewed Paul about the 10 C-level meetings a week he has and still he has about 450 followers. It's not about followers, you can create your own influence by just playing the game a bit.

 

Why You Need to Start Selling on Social Before the Market Becomes too Saturated · [18:54] 

 

Will Barron:

For sure, that makes total sense, and I want you to clarify something here and look forward perhaps 12 months, 24 months, five years into the future. Because I really strongly believe that both in and out of sales, we're going to be getting more and more public, whether it'll be at the point in 10, 15 years, where there's a drone following you around all day, videoing you and making it into interesting content as a Casey Neistat's YouTube video-esque video, blog of your day. That's kind of debatable, but there's probably people who will… I would probably do that if I could have it and it be seamless and it allows me to give the audience more context to everything I'm doing every day. Is this something that's going to become more and more applicable and more and more leveraged, so, where I'm getting at is, we should start doing it now when it's easier to break through the noise?

 

Tim Hughes:

Yeah, I see a number of things that are coming out and it's really accelerating. There's a number of things now, my book came out six months ago, and there's things that even in the conclusion that are around artificial intelligence. I don't know where that's going to go, it's fairly rudimentary at the moment, but all organisations are going to look at taking out cost of their organisation. If you think about every company, the biggest cost to them is sales and marketing. If there's a way that they can take out certain transactions, I'm not talking about taking out people, I'm just talking about ways of making either a salesperson's life easier or if there are certain things where just going into being able to go and buy the product on the web and putting your credit card in, there will be ways where the cost of sale is going to be reduced.

 

“I'm a great believer that every day is a sales day. You've got to be learning something every day. If you're not learning, you're not moving forward.” – Tim Hughes · [20:41] 

 

Tim Hughes:

To answer your question, what do we need to do? Yeah, I'm a great believer that every day is a sales day, you've got to be learning something every day. If you're not learning, you're not moving forward, and the thing about social is it's enabled us to actually learn and drive forward. If we don't start learning about these artificial intelligence products, even though they are rudimentary and we may think it's nothing at the moment, if we don't know, if we are not learning about it, we will get left behind. We'll wake up in six months and go, where did that all come from, and we've got to learn it from scratch.

 

Will Barron:

Tell me if I right here, but I think I am, forever, right? There's always going to be the next thing that if we're going to be a quote unquote influencer, if we're going to have the 80/20 principle, if we are going to have 80% the leverage with 20% of the time, energy, whatever it is. Clearly you can then use multiple of these 20%s to have multiple of the 80%s, I'm not saying that we should be leveraging social to be lazy. But there will always be the next thing, and I wasn't selling in the heyday of when cold calling seemed to work. I hear these stories from guests that come on the show, then there was email where people actually opened the emails, and then now there's social, then there'll be something else and something else, and then it'll be VR because people are intrigued and want to be involved in that. I just want to make the point here of this is just the game, isn't it, that you just have to be that one step ahead of the competition.

 

“Things are changing and as salespeople, we need to stay up to date with things, otherwise we will start falling behind.” – Tim Hughes · [20:29] 

 

Tim Hughes:

I've got elderly parents, they're in their eighties, and I went through the process of teaching them how to use PCs and stuff like that. But I had to help my mom do an online check-in on a flight, she was completely terrified about it. Now, most of us go, online check-in, that's really straightforward, but for an 80 year old who's not really grown up in computers, it's difficult. What I learned from that is we need to stay up to date with things, otherwise we will start falling behind. Artificial intelligence and there's a whole number of technologies that are coming through that we've just got to stay on top of it and go, I'm going to sign up for the free version a nudge. I may not believe in it, but at least I've got a view and an opinion on it.

 

Will Barron:

For sure, and I'm trying to wrap up this part of the show, Tim, with just a little bit of context for the audience about what I'm doing. I get this question all the time, if the audio side of things is getting tens and tens of thousands of downloads, but the video, some do really well, some have about 30, 40,000 downloads, but most get between, say, three or 400 and 1,000. Why do you invest so much time and energy into the video? This is a prediction on what we're talking about here of, I look in our living room when I'm home. If there's a football match on we're watching Liverpool, my dad's just about on his iPhone and watching football and going through the results or the stats or anything on his phone. I'm kind of half watching the match, half doing something else on my phone.

 

Will Barron:

Then my youngest brother, the match is on and he sat there watching video of something else whilst watching the match. This tells me that throughout, clearly… There's ages involved in this as well, but that's less important than perhaps the amount of time that people spend on the internet, which is passed through the generations. My younger brother, he is 22, and I'm 30 so there's a gap there. I'm doing all this video content because when my youngest brother, Elliot, is just about to graduate, come into the job market, he is going to be spending more time YouTubing for results to sales questions and things of that nature than he will do Googling it, than he will do perhaps even reading books. Clearly books have their own value, which is aside from this conversation, and they will always be there.

 

Will Barron:

But I'm trying to build this massive database of conversations, on lots of crazy topics, all tying into sales, so that when someone, and Elliot, in two or three years time when he is getting into sales or marketing or business or whatever it is, it's my content that he sees. I'm kind of trying to jump the gun a little bit with all of this, and then to go that even step further, we are getting every video annotated and it's costing me a fortune to do it. Barely anyone watches the videos with the annotations on, but what it will allow in the not too distant future, and there's a couple of apps that have promise in this but not doing it very well, is that you can essentially on our site search for something and it'll pull up a time stamped part of the video.

 

The Key to Success in Sales is Thinking Long-Term · [25:30] 

 

Will Barron:

The next step on from that is you ask your phone, tell me something about X, Y, Zed, and it'll pull data from whatever database, whether it's Alexa, whether it's Google Assistant, whether it's the new Samsung assistant that has just come out on the new phone. Hopefully my content will all be in that database and they'll pull out from the voice recognition to text, pull out content from my videos as well. Just to add a bit of context here of, I'm trying to play this longer term game, and perhaps salespeople don't need to go that far ahead, but I think there's real emphasis in my mind that the people who get ahead of all this now. Not just the people who are retweeting, who set up a Facebook page, and things like this, which are simple and easy to do. The people who take that extra step ahead will come out on top in the longer like 12 months, two year, five year, that's the game that I think we should all be playing.

 

Tim Hughes:

I agree, I think you've got to create lots of content in different formats, because people consume lots of different formats. If you look at some of the TV programmes like X Factor and that, dual screen is common. My partner's 21 year old is just about to move back into here, and he will sit there watching the television while having a conversation on Facebook Messenger or whatever. Dual screen, I think, certainly by from the under 25s, is pretty common. I saw a stat recently by the Six Nations Rugby, something like 60, 70% of the people that watch that on the TV are dual screening.

 

Tim Hughes:

In terms of content, and I set up my own video interview, Tim Talks, purely as a way of putting video content out there that was different from what we were doing from a writing perspective. I know for a fact that this brought us business, people come to us and said I want you to do what you do on Tim Talks. I've actually had people come to me now, I'm getting people coming to me, probably like you do, saying I want to be interviewed by you. For me, that's kind of the tipping point in terms of the influence. You've got to be putting out, I don't but I should be putting out, podcasts, video, short form and long form content, because people consume it in all different ways and different formats.

 

The Difference Between Influence and Authority From a Social Selling Perspective · [27:32] 

 

Will Barron:

For sure, makes total sense, and with that, Tim, I've got one thing that I want to wrap up with, and then we'll dive into the question I ask on every single episode. The thing I want to just emphasise here is, what is the difference or is it one and the same between, we've built this authority, we've put content out there, people know who we are. Is there a difference between having that authority and having influence or is it the same thing? Is influence perhaps when we have authority and we make an ask, is that what that is?

 

Tim Hughes:

I think there is a difference. People often ask me what authority is, and I usually describe it as a bit like the Queen of England, that she never has to introduce herself. She never goes somewhere and says I'm the Queen of England, everybody knows who she is. I think I have on my LinkedIn I'm an influencer, and I only have that for SEO purposes. Normally you wouldn't need to do that because everybody knows that you are. I think it's probably a very thin line between the two, but there's a lot of people out there that have authority. If we are looking at social feeds and we are searching through our phones, whether it's Facebook or Twitter, there are people out there that we go, boring, boring, boring, boring, boring, same old corporate rubbish, boring, boring. This guy's really interesting, what's he posted today?

 

“If you're putting out really good content that's engaging and insightful, people will stop by and start looking.” – Tim Hughes · [29:25] 

 

Tim Hughes:

There are people that are out there that I'm connected to who I will always look and see what they've done. I may not read the article, but then there's that sort of level up, which is Ted Rubin, I will always read what he writes, Brian Solis, I will always read what he writes. There's that hierarchy of that once you get to the point where if you're putting out really good content that's engaging and insightful, people will stop by and start looking. Usually what we explain to customers is it's a bit like having a shop window, if you're walking down the high street and you're going, boring, boring, boring, boring, boring, boring. Or this window looks interesting, I'll have a look in. Oh, right, they do social selling training and social strategy training. Oh, that's interesting, I'm not interested now, but I might be in six months. What you're doing is that you are, using this term, getting front of mind people. It's just so important that you're doing that and you're doing it with multiple times with multiple bits of content and being insightful, engaging. Hard work.

 

How Having Authority Can Boost Your Sales Success · [30:15] 

 

Will Barron:

Hard work for sure, I can testify that with the show that we do. Perhaps authority and influence are not the best ways to describe it, I can't think of the right words off the top of my head. But your Queen example though, is amazing of, I know who the Queen is but if she was recommending… What I'm looking for at the moment is someone to help coach me on YouTube and to help grow the audience from the statistical side of things. If she recommended someone to help grow my YouTube channel, I probably wouldn't put much value on her recommendation, even though she has massive authority and reach. I guess that ties into it as well.

 

Tim Hughes:

But if she said that there was a particular hat you should wear, or a particular coat you could wear, or the fact that she turns up in a Land Rover Discovery, you go, I quite fancy a Land Rover Discovery. Whereas yeah, I can imagine from an IT perspective, you wouldn't necessarily see her as having authority. But there are people out there that are creating authority and they're using that as a way of, it's a very soft sell, it's not a, you ring them up and buy now. It's a very much a, it's interesting, that person saying this about that product, I never thought about that before. Yeah, I recognise myself with that or I recognise I have that problem. Then that's a person I respect, therefore. It's a bit like if you go to TripAdvisor, most of the people that you… It's not the fact that Will Barron has stayed at a particular hotel, it's the fact that I think that Will Barron's a really good bloke, therefore, he's got a mate who stayed at this hotel in the Seychelles, therefore it must be a good hotel.

 

Tim’s Advice to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [32:20] 

 

Will Barron:

For sure, it's almost like a verbal referral but just on a screen, it's almost possible to look at it like that. With that, Tim, because I could talk to you about this all day and we'll have you back on to dive into this deeper, I've got one final question to ask everyone that comes on the show. I'll throw this at you, and that is, if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you'd give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Tim Hughes:

The one piece of advice that I would always give to myself would be to stick at it. I think there's sometimes on a rainy night in November where you wake up at 4:00 in the morning and you have a little bit of self doubt. I'm quite happy with what I've achieved in my life, and my advice would be go back to sleep, you're going to be okay.

 

Will Barron:

This is something I see all the time, I think it's prevalent in the world of sales, of jumping sales roles because we think the grass is going to be greener at this next company, and a lot of the time it's exactly the same. When did you learn this, or when did you manage to implement it? I think there's an age element to this, for the younger audience listening now, I think this could have real impact on them.

 

Tim Hughes:

I was talking about this to somebody the other day, I think one of the great things that you have when I was in my twenties was I had the energy. It's not that I don't have energy now, but I just had loads of energy. But I didn't know how to channel it, and I was generally going off in lots of different directions. The first time I went to work for Oracle, I learned how to slow down and think, and I was talking to [inaudible 00:33:54] about this the other day. About how you need to actually put time in your diary for thinking, rather than just, we've all done it, it we've just turned up a customer, we'll meet in the car park and have a quick chat beforehand, before we go in. It's about thinking clearly about what we want from a particular meeting and slowing down. The other thing that I learned was not to run so many deals. There was always this mad panic that you didn't have enough in the pipeline.

 

Will Barron:

I've been there, Tim, been there.

 

Tim Hughes:

Yeah, so I would do this, what I would call, plate spinning thing, that you have so much in there and in the end you don't focus on the couple of deals that you could actually win. Certainly, when I started selling, I'd worked for a couple of software companies and then went, Oracle was kind of the big time for me, and it was very much slow down. You need to focus, let's work out which two deals that you're going to win and we're going to just bet on those. That was the thing, that was the turning point for me from a selling perspective.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing, I appreciate you sharing that with us. I think that gives real context for the audience as well.

 

Tim Hughes:

You're welcome.

 

Parting Thoughts · [35:10] 

 

Will Barron:

Well with that, Tim, tell us a little bit about the book, Social Selling, and tell us where we can find out more about you and then everything else you're doing as well.

 

Tim Hughes:

Okay, thank you. Will, yes, this is my book, Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Change Makers. When Matt and I wrote this book, there was lots of people saying that you should be social selling but nobody was actually saying how. What we did was that when we wrote this book we decided to write it in a way that it's a book that you can pretty much start working through and use as a workbook as a way of actually getting into social. I've got people that have read it two, three times and they've come back with all the pages with lots of post-it notes in. Lots of people have come back to me and said, it's been really useful as a way of, I didn't know anything about social, but it's a great introduction and now I feel that I've got that foundation.

 

Tim Hughes:

I left Oracle seven months ago to set up my own company with a friend of mine, Adam Grey, and we've set up a company called Digital Leadership Associates. As far as we're aware, we are the only company in the world that focuses just on social, and we do three things. The first thing that we do, we go into organisations at a C-level or a board level, and we help them understand and synchronise what they're doing around social. It's our belief that social that's going to be the transformational platform that's going to change organisations in this century. Not digital because digital is it, and changing an IT system doesn't give you the ability to transact or work in this century. It's social that's going to do that, and a lot of organisations at that board and C-level don't understand that.

 

Tim Hughes:

The second thing that we do is that we drop down into different departments. One of the first projects that we were engaged with was working with one of the top 10 accountants in the UK. Their HR department was looking at a way of externalising their culture so they could recruit talent and keep the talent they've got. The second thing obviously that we do is social selling and most of the inbound that we get is through social selling, but we do work with organisations around digital marketing because we are finding nowadays that the marketing agencies are just not good enough or not giving them enough support.

 

Tim Hughes:

The third thing that we do is that we run people's social for them, so it may be that we run it on a full-time basis or what we do is we have an accelerator programme where we get people to go from zero to something very quickly, using our tools and techniques. Gradually over a six month period, we make them self sufficient, so they can actually run the social themselves. Some organisations, particularly resellers or channel partners where they don't have the resource to actually work on social, or whether they feel that they can, it's just that they don't have the time. Then, as I say, we hand over that to them and we get them self sufficient. We focus, as I say, totally on social, we don't do SEO, we don't do websites. We don't do any of that, we know about it, but we just decide not to work on the area.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. I'll link to both those in the show notes to this episode over at thesalesmanpodcast.com With that, Tim, I want to thank you for your time, I want to thank you for your insights on this, and I want to thank you for joining us on The Salesman Podcast.

 

Tim Hughes:

Thank you Will.

Table of contents
Get your free book today:
Untitled-4
Selling Made Simple
Find and close more sales, like clockwork, using 15 proven, step-by-step frameworks.
100% Free sales skill quiz:
Do you have the 15 traits of high performing sellers?
Learn your strengths and weaknesses in an instant. Don't get left behind.
illustration-web-4 1
Do you have the 15 traits of high performing sales people?
Learn your strengths and weaknesses in an instant. Taken by over 10,000+ of your competitors. Don't get left behind.
22_LINKEDIN SUCCESS FRAMEWORK (3) 1