Every spring, people around the world focus on the NCAA basketball tournament to see how 64 teams stack up against all the hype. For many of us, this isn’t that different than the struggles we face managing salespeople. When we add a new salesperson to our team, we may not put them into a bracket, but we rank and value their strengths, weaknesses, potential and risk reputation.
In a an article here on The Financial Brand, “Social Media Boom or Bust,” TSYS research illustrates that a relatively small percentages of consumers officially ‘Like’ their bank on Facebook. But few researchers focus on the individual performances and effect that relationships between financial institutions’ employees and consumers have forged in social media.
Key Question: What is it that separates the top individual performers on social media, particularly those that sell financial products?
Legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden inspired his teams to championships. His timeless advice can help motivate individual sales performers as well. Here are some of Wooden’s more famous expressions, and how they apply to financial marketing professionals toiling in social channels.
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
For first-time professionals using social media, it is very easy to obsess about crafting the perfect text to fit in under 140 characters and loose sight that your aim should be to learn from the responses (or lack of) that you receive. These lessons especially apply to social advertising — it is an experiment, so you need to learn what works, test, and repeat. As social media becomes more of a pay-to-play game, you will need to apply advertising dollars (or partner with a vendor that spends it for you). This is going to involve more test-and-learn behaviors. Success isn’t guaranteed 100% of the time, and there will be some failures along the way.
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
Whether people share your post, or they find it important is not as significant as moving on to the next activity that can generate traction for you.
- Ignore (especially early-on): links, shares, retweets
- Pay attention to: Needs, buying decisions, ways to connect personally and be helpful
“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
This great life-lesson is even more important on social media. If you can find those people around you to help, it is amazing how many times those gestures of connecting a person to their request does come back to help later. I’ve connected people to jobs on social media and been amazed that — as they moved and I forgot about the impact — they come back and try and repay me. Banks — despite their reputation among consumers — are often very generous institutions. But we don’t often share the individual stories of salespeople and the magnanimity that comes with the job: volunteering on boards, giving time to non-profits, etc. These are stories your social community will enjoy.
“Never mistake activity for achievement.”
In one of my first sales jobs, my manager liked tot think that outgoing sales-calls were the most important activity involved with generating new sales. I stopped him after several months and showed him that while I had 90% less outbound sales calls the previous month, I had almost exactly ten times more profitability. The activities I was engaged in were working.
I know I could always get at least 10 retweets if I talk about my favorite collegiate sports team, but that does not help me build meaningful relationships with the people I want (and need) to connect with in social channels.
“The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”
If you are a sales manger, you know this more than anyone; it is about making your team look good, not yourself. That’s why you need to help your sales staff realize that building up their organization in the outside world is critical to success. No one wants to buy products that require a high-degree of trust from an institution that is not supported by a team of highly adept employees.
“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
No one wants to hear your sales staff complain on social. They do want to hear about how they overcome adversity… that’s a story we can all relate to. Keep your teams focused on positive impacts.
If you are managing your producers, consider how a few small changes in their activities and perspective could affect the amount of prospects they reach.