Review of The Art of Social SellingFinding and Engaging Customers on Twitter, Facebook. LinkedIn, and Other Social Networks, by Shannon Belew (AMACOM, 2014). 

Are you confused by social media; maybe even downright befuddled by what you may or may not do owing to your broker-dealer’s compliance department? Before you get involved with compliance discussions–and I mostly take the approach that compliance folks exist to help me stay happily in the business–would it not make sense to understand what all the e-shouting is about? The Art of Social Selling is about the getting of that required knowledge.

“Adopting a social selling strategy is really no different than the changes you make when incorporating any other modern sales tool,” Ms. Belew assures us. Think about it–when you started with Morningstar’s Advisor Workstation or the complex financial planning software approved by your broker-dealer, did all of the pieces mysteriously fall into place at once?

There are still parts of some software programs where I see new things frequently, and I’ve been at the game for a long, long time. (I have a detachable Apple keyboard for my IPad and I just figured out the other day that, on the keyboard, Control B moves backwards. Since I do most of my work on IBM-style equipment, some of the Appleisms still confuse me, even after years of using the keyboard, but, heck, I still remember the WordStar diamond, which probably makes me a dinosaur.)

Here’s just one nugget: “While it’s possible to make progress in social selling, and perhaps even generate a few decent leads, even if only occasionally reaching out to prospects through social networks, without a defined strategy (italics mine), it will be difficult to repeat or maintain any successes you may have achieved. High-performing salespeople will tell you that their days are well planned and the techniques used for prospecting are consistent with best practices and based on proven sales methodologies.”

This makes me think of my oft-repeated mantra about partnering–one works with portfolios, SMAs and the like; the other on marketing. Whether you wear two hats or one, The Art of Social Selling, is going to help get your though the next quarter-century with aplomb.