Extracted from John Golden’s book Social Upheaval: How to Win @ Social Selling.
When he said, “Focus on your music and not on technology,” Canadian rocker Bryan Adams was advising aspiring musicians to focus on the art of creating music and not on all the wondrous technology available today to help produce it. Similarly, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins said, “There’s nothing wrong with technology. It’s when technology is the story and not the artist, that’s the problem.”
Think about it, why do we still need professional photographers when professional-grade, idiot-proof cameras are available at consumer prices? Why? Because as idiot proof as it is and as advanced as it is, the camera cannot compensate for you not having a good eye, an understanding of lighting and an innate ability to creatively frame a shot.
Before you engage in social selling you also need to consider these examples in the context of your chosen profession. Social media will not sell for you, it will not compensate for your shortcomings as a salesperson, and it will not allow you to abandon all the hard work and preparation that distinguishes a successful salesperson from an also ran. In other words, if you can’t sell offline, you won’t be able to miraculously sell online. Ain’t gonna happen.
I feel obliged to be upfront and not allow you to get so caught up in the fantastical labyrinth that social media provides—one that grows everyday (now even Instagram and Snapchat are being used as sales tools!) —that you think the technology is what is most important. It is not, and just like Messrs. Adams and Corgan advise, do not neglect the fundamentals of your craft. In other words, traditional selling skills matter; they always will. There, I said it!
I know we all live in a world of instant gratification, of shortcuts, of 140 character attention spans where we are bombarded constantly with the keywords “easy,” “convenient,” “fast,” “immediate,” etc. Anyone who preaches doing something that takes time and effort to master sounds counterintuitive, or worse, like someone from another century. Well, given that I am someone who was born in a different century and witnessed the world pre-Internet/cell phones etc., but has spent a good deal of my working life figuring out how to adopt technology to help people do their jobs better, I may just have a somewhat balanced point of view.
Despite all of the advances in technology, the reality remains that if you want to be truly good or successful at something you need to apply yourself, develop your skills and practice them. Think about it for a moment: “Practice the basics.” “Drill, drill, drill the fundamentals.” These are the perennial cries of first class coaches around the world, in every field of human endeavor. Music coaches urge scales; continuous, monotonous scales. Basketball coaches insist on dribbling, passing, shooting; shooting, passing, dribbling. There’s a good reason that the world’s best coaches spend the majority of their practices on fundamentals.
Mastery of the basics produces ease and grace and beauty; mastery of the basics wins games; mastery of the basics wins business. There are no shortcuts. You can analyze an opposing team and computer model every scenario but at the end of the day you are still relying on the skill of the human to execute. Soldiers with combat experience always say that in the chaos that is a firefight all you have to fall back on is your training.
So don’t be fooled by conventional wisdom!