Why Social Selling Is Like Losing Weight

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks
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why-social-selling-like-losing-weight.jpgI want you to picture that you woke up on January 1, and you’re 15 pounds overweight from an unfortunately overindulgent Christmas.

Guess what — two years ago I remember waking up like this. I was 8 pounds heavier on January 1 then before the Christmas holidays. It happens. So you’re a little overweight and you’ve decided, I am going to make a change for the better! I’m going to go on a diet!

People will think they’re going to lose 10 pounds just like that. No problem. Mathematically, if you understood how weight loss happens, it comes down to calories consumed versus calories burned. If you can burn more calories in a week than you’ve consumed you lose X number of pounds, and it becomes a mathematical formula to the timeline at which you will hit your goal.

If they actually taught it in school, you would think people would just understand how to lose weight. But for some reason it seems like black magic, and that’s why it’s become a billion-dollar industry to try to lose weight.

So back to our analogy: you’ve woken up at the beginning of the year, and you want to lose 15  pounds. If you are consuming less 500 calories over a week than you normally consume, and you lose 1 pound, then it would take you 15 weeks to reach your ideal weight. However, only if you follow that pattern. But that’s just not how humans work.

Humans go to the gym with no sort of process or game plan. They sit under the bench press, they jog for about 4 – 5 days, they get really bored of what they’re doing, and they stop showing up at the gym. And they can’t figure out why they haven’t executed their goal within 15 weeks, why they can’t fit into their summer shorts. Here’s why. Because behavioral change is:

1. Hard; behavioral change is hard to put together all the pieces. 

2. People can’t envision all the micro steps required to get from A to B.

Reverse Engineer Goals

Whenever you’re creating a program for social selling, I want you to picture the Emerald City the Wizard of Oz. The Emerald City is the end place that Dorothy is trying to get to. The only way to figure out how to get there is to reverse engineer what you need to do every day, week and month to get to that goal. That would be the yellow brick road.

You’ve got to go through the evil forest and the flying monkeys and meet the Tin Man, you’ve got to go all the way back to get there. So, if you’re building a social selling program for your sales professionals, there is one vital thing you need to figure out:

What are the milestones and goals we want to get to? 

Goals are not goals unless they have a defined timeline. You must indicate I need 20% pipeline increased by X. Let’s say that X = 6 months, great! Now I have to think of what type of sales activities could yield me that type of result.

Now I take another step back. What behaviors do I need to train towards and reinforce every day, week and month to ensure that we hit the activity levels that get us to those sales goals?

Then we continue to reverse engineer what kind of program would be required to teach the type of activities that would achieve all of these goals? That’s how we set this program together.

And behavioral change, like going to the gym, takes a little bit every day. All it takes is 30 or 60 minutes a day. Guess what — there is a real social selling routine that is exactly the same. All it takes is 30 – 60 minutes a day.

A Fine Balance

If you’ve ever heard this old adage about going to the gym, it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. This is the kind of thinking we used when we built our methodologies.

We recognize that the habitual nature of human behaviour is you must learn something, you must then apply it, and then you must build upon it in the next day or week. And we do this for months. We do this for three months because the only way it becomes sticky is if you learn something, you practice it, it becomes part of your DNA and then you build upon it.

You can’t go too fast, because if you overload people they get frustrated and give up. You can’t go too slow, because it doesn’t achieve the type of results your organization wants in a normalized period of time. So it has to be a fine balance between getting to a path that can achieve business results, but at the same time not overloading people so they and give up.

It all comes back to the gym analogy. You need to understand where you want to be and the speed it takes to get there.

Reverse engineer a plan so on Mondays you’re going to work on jogging 5 miles, on Tuesday you’re going to work on yoga and stretching. And you start putting all of these pieces together, because you know every week you should have burnt 500 more calories than you consumed. And then if you do this week after week you will have achieved your weight loss goals.

Social selling leverages the exact same behavioral mechanisms in which humans learn, apply, and build. All it takes is first, recognizing you need to change and next, dedicating to reaching your goals.


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