5 Warning Signs That Your Social Selling Consultant is a Fake

As a courtesy, a client just forwarded me an email that he received from the CEO of a LinkedIn consulting company. The sender described how his company “specialized in measurable LinkedIn Client & Talent Acquisition Campaigns”. After describing how his company could drive thousands of lead for my client, the consultant ended his pitch with “If this isn’t for you, please just let me know, but do feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn either way.” 

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Apparently, not too many people have taken him up on his offer.

The CEO of this LinkedIn consulting company shows twelve Connections on his LinkedIn Profile. 12

That prompted me to write this blog about the 5 warning signs that your LinkedIn expert may not be all they claim to be:

1. They have a less than professional LinkedIn Profile. You wouldn’t hire a web designer with a bad website, an image consultant that looked like they just rolled out of bed, or a 438-lb weight-loss coach would you? If they are not Walking the Talk, you should walk.

2. They are a Jack-of-All-Trades. Watch out if the expert also claims expertise in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, FourSquare, YouTube, SEO, and all things Social Media. LinkedIn is THE social network for B2B sales. It is so feature-rich and it changes so fast that the average B2B seller will never fully master it. If your company sells to businesses, then focus on LinkedIn. If you run the corner cupcake store, then hire Jack.

3. They’ve never carried a bag (and may not even know the expression). Social Selling is a subset of Social Media. Most Marketing people have a five-year head start on Sales types when it comes to social, but if your goal is to get more appointments with high-level decision makers, then hire someone with experience getting appointments with high-level decision makers. Just knowing which buttons to click is only part of it. Everything has to be put into the context of solid sales principles.

4. It IS their first rodeo. Some people think that Social Selling is a young person’s game. They believe that Gen X digital natives who grew up in the Internet era are best equipped to teach salespeople how to do Social Selling. However, Social Selling is 50% social and 50% sales training and sales teams are tough audiences. A big part of sales training success is earning the respect of veterans. Prior sales accomplishments, war stories, and experience rolling out programs to hundreds or even thousands of sales reps all contribute to success.

5. They promise a quick fix. When companies ask me to speak about Social Selling at sales meetings, I ask them about their objectives. I explain that I can inspire people in one hour, but I cannot train them in that amount of time. Think of Social Selling like any other skill. Sales training legend David Sandler captured it best in the title of his book, “You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar”. Beware of the consultant who says that a few hours, days, or even weeks will turn your salespeople into Social Selling masters. Creating the lasting habits that lead to measurable results takes many, many months.

As LinkedIn and Social Selling get more popular, you’ll see more people popping up claiming to be experts.

So, what do you think? Can you add any warning signs to the list?