6 Signs (And the Cure) to Unmask a Social Selling Charlatan

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

Halloween is the holiday traditionally reserved for costumes, illusion, and scary things. But October 31 isn’t the only date for spotting Social Selling pretenders.

Here’s the best way to unmask the unreal and avoid any tricks these Social Selling sham artists are selling:

No Sales Experience

It’s been said that those who can’t do, teach. But do you really want someone new to the sales game learning (and honing his/her craft) on your team? I don’t. If your Social Selling “consultant” (SSC) has never “carried a bag” (and I don’t mean a paper route) s/he has zero credibility – plain and simple.

Never Trained – Anyone

Pets don’t count here. Much like the SSC with no sales experience, has your SSC trained sales teams? Built sales infrastructures in organizations? How about training individual sales reps one-on-one? Does s/he you even know what a ride along is? It’s OK to be new to the training industry, but new to training? Check, please.

Fool with a Tool

This SSC has all the answers to your Social Selling problems and the cure to your team’s Social Selling ills with one revolutionary app, or platform, or add-on. In reality, this magic tool is usually a just time-saving or automating device. Don’t let a strong affinity for shiny new objects distract you from your purpose. Ask one simple question: what problem does the tool solve for me beyond the obvious that you save me time? A tool cannot cause a shift in behavior. Unless automation is your sole objective, ditch the tool, and the fool.

10 Steps To Social Selling Breakup

SportsCenter Wannabe

Known for an over-reliance upon fancy slogans and catchphrases, eye-popping graphics, and ubiquitous (and often ridiculous) hashtags, this SSC desperately wants you to believe there is substance behind his/her style. Although aesthetically pleasing and alluring to those unfamiliar to Social Selling, upon closer inspection, this SSC fails the sniff test – a simple conversation lets you know that s/he really doesn’t know what the heck s/he’s talking about. It’s almost as if s/he were reading from a teleprompter, or maybe even someone else’s’ script. Boo-yah!

Acclaimed Author

Never shy about promoting his/her literary prowess, this SSC often begins sentences with “But I wrote a book…” So did I – in kindergarten. And it, too, was published: The Big Blue Car, a heartwarming story about a boy and a magic automobile. I just don’t try to build my reputation upon it. A book does not make your SSC a Social Selling subject-matter expert; it simply makes him/her a successful published author – and sometimes not a very good one, at that. With the advent of the internet, the barrier to publishing (of all types) is ridiculously low. After all, you’re reading this blog.

Brand Advocate/Strategist/Evangelist

Wins the award for best SSC costume every year. Much like a zombie – this animated human corpse is difficult to kill because of his/her understanding of the mechanics of social media, especially community building, listening, and advocacy of customer experience and social business. However, in reality he/she is nothing more than a costumed community manager – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but our community manager is not teaching Social Selling strategy and directly training our sales team, is yours? Remember, neither vanity metrics nor being a Social Selling “advocate” do a Social Selling trainer make.

The Antidote

Much like garlic, crosses, sunlight, and silver bullets, an antidote exists to combat these counterfeit “consultants,” no matter how well-dressed (and well-versed in Social Selling) they appear. Just ask the potential Social Selling “consultant” three simple questions, and remember to always ask politely:

  • Can you please show me your training curriculum?
  • What is your prescriptive process? Can you please describe it in detail?
  • How do you measure the ROI of Nos. 1 and 2 above?

If, by some strange occurrence, (perhaps you inadvertently invited the SSC into your office for a face-to-face meeting, like a vampire) the SSC manages to dodge the first two answers, question No. 3 is surely a stake in the heart of the wardrobed-wannabe.

A word of caution: these questions are powerful and are not for the squeamish. The responses you receive from phony SSCs, albeit entertaining and often highly creative, can be as outlandish as the makeup and special effects in any B-horror movie.

Still confused about whom to trust your team with Social Selling? Do you need help building a successful Social Selling routine? Schedule a consultation using the button below.

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