Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, “Social Selling Mastery – Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer”. A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000’s of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

 

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS EPISODE:

  • The meaning of Social Selling revolution 
  • How Jamie built his firm from a laptop, a stack of business cards and a tank of gas 
  • Top 10 Do’s and Dont’s for Social Selling 
  • How to incorporate social media triggers, insights, referrals and competitive intelligence into the daily sales cycle 

 

SHOW NOTES

[00:15] Introduction

[01:26] Business stories that inspire Jamie 

[01:38] Building his firm from scratch

[03:06] How he got into sales

[05:31] Business development engine

[06:16] Favorite Sales failure

[06:30] Commercial real estate Lesson

[08:18] The Importance of Social selling

[08:40] Business to Business companies

[09:14] Triggers, referrals, insight and competitive intelligence

[10:48] Why some companies are yet to embrace social selling

[11:00] Fear of change

[13:15] The Role of LinkedIn

[15:49] Do’s and Don’ts

[17:32] The emerging power of video in SM space

[19:56] The Art of Storytelling

[20:08] Building a storyboard

[21:26] The STAR process

[22:52] About Jamie’s book, Spirit Selling

[23:40] Contact info

[24:35] Outro

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Ed Bilat:   

 

Jamie Shanks. Welcome to the show.

 

Jamie Shanks:  

 

Thank you so much for having me.

 

Ed Bilat:

I’m delighted. Jamie, I’ve been watching your videos from all over the World, exotic places, airports,

helicopter, castles. I’ve been following you for quite some time so it’s an honor to have you on the show

and congratulations on your new book, Spear Selling. So that’s wonderful and would love to hear your story.

But before we do this, let me ask you our traditional question, which is, what business success story inspires

you and why?

 

Jamie Shanks:                          

The business success story that inspires me is any entrepreneur that has built something from scratch. For me, as somebody who built his company from an idea and a failed consulting practice at that in my first couple years, I am inspired by anyone who is a founder, owner, operator who took a business from zero to millions of dollars. In fact, you know, you can read books about those that have built billions of dollar businesses, I’m less inspired by those that take over businesses more about those that started from scratch.

Ed Bilat:

Wonderful. Yeah, I watched the video where you described the experience, I believe you were getting married at the same time. Right. And starting the company. So just a total start from nothing. Correct?

Jamie Shanks:

I mean all I had was a laptop, a stack of business cards and, you know, a tank of gas in my car and that was it. I really didn’t understand and it took me years to really understand the financial and operational rigor and acumen necessary to run a professional services company. I had to learn it the hard way.

Ed Bilat:

Hmm. Wow. That’s very interesting. You came to the consulting practice from the sales world, right? So like, you’ve been the director of business development, however, this is different. Right. So how did you even get into sales originally?

Jamie Shanks:

Well, it was by accident. I didn’t want to be a sales professional. So when I was at university, I went to the University of Ottawa. I volunteered at the bank of Montreal, Nesbitt Burns in Canada, Ontario. And then I would spend my time as a volunteer, that gave me a summer job that turned into a full-time job and at the same time finishing my undergrad degree. So what I didn’t realize, my dream as a kid was to be a stockbroker. I mean I did job shadow days at the stock brokerage firms. This is all I ever wanted it to be. And then in 2000 when the market collapsed and I was an investment representative, I didn’t know that a stockbroker is actually a self-professional that advises on, you know stocks that are out in the market but also advises on stocks that the bank has underwritten and their job is to sell the inventory that the bank owns. Nobody told me this. So what I didn’t realize is I was already a sales professional, just, I was like a wolf in sheep’s clothing or whatever that saying is. Anyways, I left the bank and went on to do my master’s degree and when I came back, the only company that would hire me or the only role that people would hire me for was a sales role because they said, well that’s your previous experience. What are you talking about? I’m not a seller. And anyway, so I felt …

Ed Bilat:

Interesting. So obviously not expecting to be a full-time sales professional. So what was your major challenge earlier on moving into this?

Jamie Shanks:

I can tell you what my major strength was and then I’ll work backward to everything else being the challenge.

Ed Bilat: Sounds good.

Jamie Shanks:

So what I discovered about myself, I’ve always been a talker. When I was in high school, I owned a landscaping company. I make other people cut the grass and I just went door to door to win customers. So I had a neat skill of making feel people feel comfortable, creating a business opportunity for myself. So my strength, when I started in commercial real estate, it was a hundred percent commission I was really good at booking meetings, creating opportunity. I wasn’t as great at the follow-through and actually doing the real estate transaction. I started partnering internally and I would become the business, development engine in a group of corporate real estate brokers. one person would maybe manage the customer, one person would do the real estate transaction and my job was business development. At that time business development was primarily done via telephone and face to face meeting. And so I could cold call the daylights out. I get to burn the phone up with cold calls. I was just strong at this.

Ed Bilat:

Yeah, the analog way, right.

Jamie Shanks:

The analog way. So every other skill became my challenge.

Ed Bilat:  

Hmm. Okay. So do you have a favorite sales failure? Like can you give us an example of a failure which was actually a good lesson for you?

Jamie Shanks:

I have a story that I’ll try to shrink down to podcast level, but essentially when I was in commercial real estate, I won a mandate, which means the opportunity to work on a piece of business for a large industrial company that wanted to build a building and the commission from this deal would have been enough to pay off my master’s degree and buy me a house. Like it was massive. The long and the short of it is, the day that the landlord and my customer and their investors met to do this deal it turned into an all-out fistfight. And what happened was my customer…

Ed Bilat:

[laughs] so this is a closing appointment?

Jamie Shanks

Exactly. And my customer and investors fired me because they said I didn’t do the due diligence on who this land low land[sic].

Ed Bilat:

Oh no.

Jamie Shanks

So what I did is I actually googled the investor’s name, look them up on Canada 411. I bought the most expensive bottle of Scotch I could afford, drove to this person’s house. It’s a gated community north of the city and a place called King City. I jumped the fence to their property, ran across the yard, the investor was sitting in his bathrobe smoking a cigar right on his porch and he and I proceeded to have a scotch together talking about rekindling our business partnership. That’s when I realized I was willing to do just about anything.

Ed Bilat:

Unbelievable. Unbelievable. So he was okay to see you show up with a bottle of Scotch?

Jamie Shanks:

I guess so [laughs]

Ed Bilat:

Well, that’s a very good, interesting story specifically for Storytelling for Sales Podcast. So thank you for sharing this. I know you’re a top expert in social selling and for our listeners, could you describe it? What is social selling? What is everybody talking about?

Jamie Shanks:

What it really means is whether we as sellers like it or not, our customers are going to learn with or without us. So a customer is going to go on a journey. And when I’d say my customers are primarily business to business companies

Ed Bilat:

 B to B

Jamie Shanks:

Yeah. So let’s say I’m vice president of information technology or a VP of HR is going to look at an initiative and a portion of their learning is going to happen without the sales professional. That means that they’ll do online research. They’ll reach out to their social network and ask some questions. And so what a seller needs to do is to map and meet the customer where they are doing their due diligence, which is online and what they’re doing is using four principals. They, reusing triggers, referrals, insights and competitive intelligence that can be found using social platforms or also using digital technology to aid in that buyer’s process. So on a tactical level or as a real tactical example, one of the things that I as a seller could be doing to acquire customers is I take every existing customer of ours from our database and I map job changes every time somebody in our customer database from a company that we’ve worked with leaves that company and moves on to an organization we’ve never done business with that should, you know, create a trigger for my team to start a compelling sales conversation with them. And that is the purpose of what social selling is. You’re just using data and new communication mediums to engage the customer in a bold and different way.

Ed Bilat.

Mmhmm Okay. So what I hear from now, you say that the sales cycle has already started before they talk to salespeople, right, for modern customers. So it could be 50% in, 60% before they dial the number or even start any kind of conversation. And it’s the job of the sales professional to get into that sales cycle early and start influencing the process before they even talk for the first time. Is that correct?

Jamie Shanks:

100%. That’s exactly it.

Ed Bilat:

Hmm. Okay. And then why some of the companies have not embraced this yet? Like what’s stopping everybody going from analog to digital?

Jamie Shanks:

There would be a few things. One would be, analysis by paralysis or fear of change. So there’d be a group of companies that have been doing it the same way for so long, the idea of altering back current sales motion is just impossible for them to fathom. Option number two is the companies are then, so that’s kind of like the status quo. Then the next level would be they want to change, but they’re so focused on working in their business, not on their business.

Ed Bilat:

Hmmm Lovely. I love that.

Jamie Shanks:

That they, unfortunately, can’t pull their head up out of the sand and realize maybe I can work on things today that will dramatically affect me six to 12 months in the future and I am willing to go through learning and development and the hard things about, you know, a transformation. I’m going to do those things now even though I might be doing very well from a business development standpoint, I might be hitting my sales quota yet all indicators today show that we’re doing well. That doesn’t mean success in the future and great companies recognize that they need to be evolving today for their 2020 here. And that’s just the difference. So many companies are so focused on their next 90 days in the quarter that they can’t fathom planning beyond that. And it’s also because remember the average vice president of sales stays in a company, something like 17 months. That’s the average tenure of sales. So that VP of sales isn’t really concerned about what it’s going to look like a year or two down the road. They’re focused a quarter at a time.

Ed Bilat:

That’s right. And then if you want to drive magnificent, fantastic results, you have to change, right? Because what’s the true definition of insanity in the medical term? It is continuing to do the same thing and expect different results and this is exactly why is it’s such a challenge. So is there any other tools, any particular ways you recommend to doing this for somebody who is just evolving into a successful social selling as a strategy?

Jamie Shanks:

Well, absolutely. The most prevalent tool to start with is the tool of Linkedin. [sic] business to business. And then from there, think of Linkedin as two things. One, the world’s largest database, sort of resource or research tool. And the second, a different type of communication platform. And when you think about it in those two contexts, then first start to evaluate how you can acquire more data that is beneficial to you. Strategic data such as, I could go into your social network, Ed, right now and see all the companies that you’re connected to. So at the end of the day, think of what we use in the analog world and how you can apply it in the digital world. You think yourself referrals. Referrals are obviously a fantastic business development motion. Great. Where do I acquire referrals? Well, what if I dropped into Ed’s social network and I looked at the 3 to 5 companies that Ed knew the best. Now all of a sudden you’re taking a sales to play and you’re executing it through a digital medium like LinkedIn. So that’s where I would get started. Think of how I would use it as that research tool. And then from an engagement tool, I would think to myself, okay, I want to target a company in Ottawa, Shopify. Well, if I wanted to get a hold of the C level executives at Shopify, instead of me calling my way in, what about if I use a medium like I make a video and I send it to those C level executives through Linkedin, that bypasses the gatekeeper. Again, you’re just using the same process you would use in the analog world. You’re just digitizing it.

Ed Bilat:

Yeah, that’s very important because you mentioned three things; the trigger selling, referral selling and then insight selling. So in the find extend [sic] correctly, you’re asking, okay, these three things they did exist for centuries in the sales world. Now all you do is you taking them from analog to digital. So is that correct?

Jamie Shanks:

That’s 100% what you’re trying to do. In social selling, you’re not inventing a whole new sales methodology. What you’re doing is refining your existing sales motion. That’s ultimately what you’re trying to do.

Ed Bilat:

Yeah. Very cool. So because if we put it like that, that sounds less scary for our listener’s right.

Jamie Shanks:

Yeah, right. That’s when people get caught up because they think, oh, I’m doing less now becoming a social seller. No, no, you’re not abandoning the way you sell. You’re just evolving.

Ed Bilat:

Excellent! That’s excellent advice. So is there any particular do’s and don’ts for people who are just evolving into this, for companies, for sales professionals, anything which you’ve seen through the years when you were leading this transformation?

Jamie Shanks:

I’ll, maybe on some of the don’ts at the individual seller perspective. Don’t try this once or for a week and then say to yourself, oh, this doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. You know, I live in Canada. And that would be like me trying hockey for the very first time for a week and saying, no, you know what? Nobody could ever learn to skate. This is, what do you mean blades on ice? Right? And so the reality is my company alone has trained hundreds of thousands of sellers who have made billions of dollars of sales pipeline around the world. So when somebody says this doesn’t work for them, they’re just making an excuse for themselves at the corporate level. 51% of success are of the digital sales transformation. Sit with frontline sales managers actually sit with sales leadership. If the sales leaders don’t inherently believe this, know how it works, turn these into coachable moments and actually coach towards these in one on ones, then it doesn’t really matter what you teach the sellers. You can teach the sellers these skills all they want, but if they’re not being held accountable to them, it’ll never happen.

Ed Bilat:

Yeah, that’s right. They just wasted the training dollars for nothing.

Jamie Shanks:

Correct.

Ed Bilat:

Hmm. Okay. So these were do’s  and dont’s Any particular do’s, like do this? Is there any particular favorite social selling story, the success of social sales story you can share with us?

Jamie Shanks:

What I would start experimenting with today, not tomorrow is the power of video and 95% of sellers that, I mean are scared out of their mind to start making videos to teach, tailor and take control of their customer conversation. And we’ll take it from the book, the Challenger Customer or challenge them. The reality is how do you consume and learn? You Watch Youtube and the difference is that the sellers are, for whatever reason, don’t see themselves in the same context. Take a moment, make a video around best practices, what-if scenarios, market trends, get it in the hands of your customers. You’re going to humanize yourself in a completely different way. You’re going to be able to synthesize all these best practices. Your customers are just going to view you differently. That’s where I’d start.

Ed Bilat:

Okay, so definitely the video and don’t be afraid to do the first tryout and then the second, then the third and nobody’s watching, right? So you can make as many attempts as you like unless you are satisfied with the end results. I just got back from Cuba and I was filming a few videos and sometimes it takes 10-15 times to rerecord it, but in the end, it does look good. Right?

Jamie Shanks:

Yeah. I mean I’ve had a different view on this, so I try to record it only once.

Ed Bilat:

Only once?

Jamie Shanks:

Even with mistakes. because if you were on a cold call right now, or if you were in a boardroom or if you were on a discovery call on a conference call, you don’t get to do it over again.

Ed Bilat:

That’s right.

Jamie Shanks:

Just like this podcast, we’re just talking, right. And there’s no stop and start here. And so if you make videos with that mindset, you realize that the customer actually prefers that authentic nature.

Ed Bilat:

Okay. So they’re all foolish.

Jamie Shanks:

Exactly.

Ed Bilat:

Just like from your videos from the airport. I have been watching the one you did in Australia I think. You had people around you, you’re moving and you just delivered your message.

Jamie Shanks:

Yeah. Just deliver the message.

Ed Bilat:

I thought you probably practiced it is like 20 times.

Jamie Shanks:

No.

Ed Bilat:

You can do it from the first tryout. Wow. That’s great. So thank you so much for sharing this. So in terms of the storytelling, the digital storytelling, like what does the art of storytelling mean to you? What do you see in this world?

Jamie Shanks:

When I think of storytelling, one of the very first things that I try to do is take a step back and build a storyboard. If you’ve ever seen how a movie script is created or when I wrote two books, actually, for me, what I do is I draw out the scenes or the core parts of the story. I draw them up. I’m a visual learner. And that way I tell the story through those main visuals. And I think what’s important as a seller is, storytelling is critical in your engagement communication. But that story needs to have been, you need to back up and ask yourself, number one, what part of the story are they going to trust? What part of the story is valuable to them? What is their call to action? So I like to back up, design and craft what that storyboard is going to look like and a variety of storyboards. So this is the other important thing, is that sellers will design one story, we’ll deploy a customer, it won’t resonate with the customer, the customer will get back to them. Well, it’s like they’re out of bullets now. So, why aren’t you drawing out three, four, or five storyboarded plays? That way after the first message doesn’t resonate, you move on to the next and the next and the next.

Ed Bilat:

Hmm. Okay. So the classical one is the one where you use the star acronym, right? So S-T-A-R, Situation, Trouble, Action, and Results, right? So you basically describe life as it is, then something happens, right? Oh, that’s the trouble. And then what are the actions you took and the end results. So this is sort of the classical ways. So what you are saying is that scenario may not resonate with everybody so you need to have several, correct?

Jamie Shanks:

Correct. The process that you just described, the star process might work, but the content within that star process, the situation may not have resonated or the result may not be of value to that person. So you might need, if you like the star process, then you just need to devise multiple stories using that process.

Ed Bilat:

And the more details you put the more believable story is, right? Because on the other side, you know, the customer, they’re trying to evaluate did you just make this up, right? or is this is a real story?

Jamie Shanks:

Correct. Another point, social proof is really valuable when you have a link that can attach to a video or a blog that’s written about it or a podcast. Now all a sudden there’s some social proof to that story.

Ed Bilat:

That’s right cause they are looking to validate it. Wow, this’s been wonderful, wonderful discussion. So Jimmy, thank you so much for connecting with us today. So tell us about your book and tell us about the best way to connect with you for our listeners.

Jamie Shanks:

The book that we published in January is called Spear Selling.

Ed Bilat:

Spear Selling.

Jamie Shanks:

So Spear Selling is the ultimate account-based sales guide for modern digital selling. What that really means is when I wrote Social Selling Mastery in 2016 it was about the overarching movement of social selling. But what happened is over the years customers are becoming more and more account-based focused. And so this book is very tactical and provides real sales plays that you can run and your leadership team can coach towards as a modern digital seller. And you can pick it up on Amazon in every format from audibles to Kindle to hardcover to softcover and you can also connect with me on Linkedin @Jamie shanks.

Ed Bilat:

Wonderful. Wonderful. So in terms of the account-based selling, everything you described the digital selling or the social selling, is that component included in this or is that separate?

Jamie Shanks:

Nope, it’s completely covered inside this. Everything that we teach has a social and digital twist to it.

Ed Bilat:

That would be really cool to check this out, right? Because if you can see this as one strategy, as one approach, not as separate pieces, I think it would be very, very valuable for our listeners to try this out. So thank you so much for coming to the podcast it’s been an absolute pleasure. So I will make sure we include your information. Again, ladies and gentlemen, Jamie shanks. Thank you so much.

Jamie Shanks:

Thank you so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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