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Monday, November 16, 2015

Pawn shops experience boom in hard times

Pawn shops experience boom in hard times


Luxury pawn-shop owner Jordan Tabach-Bank examines gem stones for a potential client.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 12:21
Jeff Tyler

Jordan Tabach-Bank, owner of Beverly Loan Company, surrounded by some of the high-end art and memorabilia that passes through the doors of his business, which he describes as 'the pawn shop to the stars.'

As the economy has suffered, one business model has thrived: the pawn shop. In fact, this may be the golden age of pawn.

The number of pawn businesses has increased by half in the last five years to around 10,000 shops. And over that same time, the average pawn loan has almost doubled to $150.

"There's been a real renaissance in the pawn industry," says Emmett Murphy, spokesperson for the National Pawnbrokers Association. "We're seen a real change in the way the American public perceives the pawn industry. This is partly due to the success of television shows like 'Pawn Stars' or 'Hardcore Pawn.'"

And it's not just people on the lower-end of the economic ladder that drive business. The industry is also seeing growth at the extreme high-end of the market.
Jordan Tabach-Bank owns Beverly Loan Company. He doesn't flinch at the idea of a million dollar pawn loan.
"We have made seven-figure loans," he says.

His pawn shop defies stereotypes. It's discretely located on the third floor of an office building in Beverly Hills. Art by the likes of Keith Haring and David Hockney adorns the walls. To provide confidentiality, employees discuss business with clients in private offices. His customers pawn everything from Picassos to fine-wine collections to diamonds.

Last year, business was up 10 percent due, in part, to clients from the top one percent.
"We really specialize in those white-collar customers. And never before have we seen so many in need of short-term lending," says Tabach-Bank.

In the wake of the Great Recession, banks are making fewer loans. The upscale pawn shop offers an alternative.

At a bank, Tabach-Bank says, "You might fill out stacks of paperwork, provide financial statements. It will go to loan committee and you'll be denied. Here, you can walk out with $250,000, $500,000 in a matter of minutes, only signing one document."

Many of his customers need the money for business.
"We've found many business owners coming in here, especially during the holidays, who needed to meet bonus demands for their employees," says Tabach-Bank. "We have business owners who are waiting for escrow to close; many real estate brokers. We've had customers who are simply looking to grow their business."

Bob Donnelly pawned his watch.
"I just recently did a loan with them for a Patek watch," says Donnelly. "It was a decent loan. You know, five figures. I use it in lieu of a kind of business line."

In Las Vegas, Michael Mack owns a shop called Max Pawn that also targets the big fish.
"We advertise that we'll do a loan of up to a million dollars," says Mack. "But if it's something bigger, we'll look at it."

His shop doesn't look like the typical purveyor of pawn either.

"We often joke and say that we're a pawn shop dressed up as a purse store," says Mack.
He specializes in status-symbol bags from Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Hermes -- some worth $80,000.
Over the years, he's given pawn loans for cars, boats and even jets.

"We're seeing people with great wealth -- with assets that they accumulated during the good times -- that need cash," says Mack.

He charges up to 13 percent interest per month. But it's negotiable.
"The more you borrow, the less you pay," says Mack.

Pawn shops in Florida and some other southern states are allowed to charge 25 percent interest per month.
Jay Martin sees those rates as an opportunity for his online shop, PawnUp.com.

"With us, you could pay as little as 2 percent. And, you know, as high as 10 percent," says Martin.
He says clients shop around for the best rates, especially for high-end deals.

"I'm seeing what I believe are people that, if you turned the clock back ten years ago, they were doing really, really well," says Martin. "So today, that two-carat or three-carat ring that they purchased then possibly for $20- or $30,000, that's what they're using today to try to get thousands of dollars for a short-term loan or to pay their taxes."

Online pawn shops are a relatively new phenomenon. Owners of walk-in businesses like Michael Mack don't necessarily worry about the competition. But he recognizes the online trend.
"It's getting bigger and bigger, and at the end of the day, the traditional brick-and-mortar pawn shops are going to have to get into the Internet pawn as well," says Mack.

The owners of these companies wouldn't reveal how much they make. But business is good enough that PawnUp.com plans to open a new office in Colorado this month. And Beverly Loan Company is expanding this spring with a new branch in New York City's diamond district.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace's Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

New Website Aims to Take Appraisals and Secondhand Jewelry Sales Online

New Website Aims to Take Appraisals and Secondhand Jewelry Sales Online


Consumers looking to unload used fine jewelry, watches, and loose gemstones have historically looked to their local jeweler for appraisals and acquistions.

Worthy, a new online marketplace built for consumers to sell their jewelry, diamonds, and luxury watches directly to a group of prescreened buyers, is making a play for that business online.

The e-commerce site is not consumer facing on the point-of-sale side; only prequalified partners are able to bid on items. The company says these buyers are largely diamond cutters, gold smelters, watch collectors, and other industry pros with the expertise to view the pieces as raw materials (when appropriate) rather than finished products.
A home-page screen shot from recently launched jewelry marketplace Worthy (courtesy of Worthy)

The selling point to consumers is that because the buyers are able to refurbish or melt down any piece, they will likely see more value in a piece than a general consumer might. And unlike eBay, Worthy guarantees the best "spot-market price" for the seller within a 24-hour period (once the company receives the item from the seller).

The company—which is headquartered in New York City and has an operations center in Tyler, Texas, and an R&D facility in Israel—asks sellers to submit a description and image of the item they want to sell. The site then shoots over an intial market-value estimate based on the description, similar item transactions, and the opinions of expert buyers.

When the seller agrees to the estimate, he or she ships the piece to the company's Texas operations facility using a pre-paid  FedEx overnight shipping label.

The on-site appraisers in Texas then clean and professionally photograph the item, preparing it for online auction. Prospective buyers are sent an alert, and a 24-hour auction begins soon after. Payment from the highest bidder is processed, and the funds are transmitted to the seller electronically.

Worthy charges a sliding-scale commission for  transactions—seller fees range between 5 and 20 percent of the final price, while buyers pay Worthy between 2.5 and 10 percent of the final price.  
        
As a business, Worthy also plays to buyers, offering a steady stream of pre-authenticated luxury goods to snap up in easy-to-navigate online auctions.

"We have created a total win-win solution for the sellers and buyers of pre-owned luxury goods that addresses the inefficiencies and limitations presented by current marketplace liquidity solutions," said Ben De-Kalo, founder and CEO of Worthy. "Pawn shops, traditional jewelry stores, high-end auction houses like Christie's or Sotheby's and online auction sites such as eBay and eBid don't pre-qualify their buyers, offer multiple bids, or guarantee that items won't be sold below market value."

And for consumers, says De-Kalo says the company provides two critical services: "volume and authenticity."
De-Kalo, who's an entrepreneur, investment banker, and angel investor, adds that the idea for Worthy came to him when "my wife and I were looking to sell her diamond necklace and use the cash towards a newer, better one. First we went to a few local jewelers and got low-ball offers. While they clearly explained to us the differences between retail and resale value, we thought there must be a better option."

So the couple turned to eBay. "But low and behold, we were shocked by the fact we weren't receiving any real offers. It was explained to us that being new to the platform, and thus not a "power-seller," makes it very difficult to sell luxury items on eBay."

In response, De-Kalo launched iPawn in 2010, which was one of the first upscale online pawnshops dealing in luxury goods. "From this experience, we felt even more individuals could be served by our expertise—with a focus on selling re-owned luxury goods, we knew a secured marketplace would be the best solution." 
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About This Contributor:

Emili Vesilind

Emili is a senior editor at JCK—covering the retail industry and all things technology, from social media marketing to the hottest new wearables.

The Booming Market For Selling Your Luxury Timepiece Online

Ariel Adams Contributor
I write about luxury timepieces.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Lifestyle 60,990 views

The Booming Market For Selling Your Luxury Timepiece Online: How Recommerce Is Dominating The Pre-Owned Watch World


An advertisement online encourages viewers to click in order to sell their luxury watch. Top dollar is promised for pre-owned high-end watches, part of a major push by companies to buy rather than sell timepieces. It not only feels like the "cash for gold" craze of several years ago but in a way it is also an extension of it. Clever marketers discovered that in many instances, there was more money in advertising to buy people's unwanted precious metal and stones rather than looking for a market to profit from them. Today, the same thing is happening with luxury Swiss watches. However, timepieces, unlike jewelry, require a much more sophisticated process.

It has been well over a decade since companies such as eBay and Craigslist have been helping people profit from unwanted personal possessions. While it is far easier to find buyers for your unwanted goods these days, it can still be tricky to sell luxury goods where the trick is in finding buyers who understand what the items are worth.
govberg-pre-owned-watches
Before there was eBay, there were the original brick and mortar auction houses. Today, companies such as Christie's, Sotheby's, and Antiquorum still dominate when it comes to getting top dollar for the world's most valuable timepieces. While individuals with rare watches valued at well over $100,000 can still benefit by consigning their watch with a major auction house, the story is different when it comes to most of the luxury watches people own valued from about $5,000 and up. Why? Well, it really has to do with the fees involved, the success of selling, and the sheer value of convenience. Auction houses don't always hold up well when these factors are measured, meaning that alternative business have sprouted up, designed not only to sell pre-owned watches, but also to acquire them directly from the consumer.
watchuwatch

The Watch Purchase Life Cycle

"We want people to go into authorized dealers and buy new watches," says OJ Whatley, the founder of Florida-based WatchUWant.com that sells pre-owned watches to customers all over the world. Whatley started selling watches online well over a decade ago and is among the veterans of online high-end watch sales. Shrewdly-spoken and sounding like a Wall Street equity trader, Whatley is not at all a rarity among the most successful people involved in the buying and selling of luxury watches. Whatley, like his colleagues, is interested in people buying new watches because they have the potential to later become the best type of pre-owned watches. "I want them to come with the original box, or at least the papers. It is all about this provenance that helps us prove to our customers that what they are buying is reputable."

Luxury watches are among those rare items which can have an extended life cycle beyond being purchased new and then disposed of. These are products with values of at least $1,000 at the time they are being resold–and many can have values much higher. In fact, the high nature of new luxury watch purchase prices makes them a desirable pre-owned item, as buyers regularly look for the best deals. In many ways, the pre-owned watch market is similar to that of the automobile market. Desirable watches in good condition can have several lives after their first owner.

The purchase of new watches is vital to the maintenance of a healthy pre-owned watch market. Retailers such as Govberg Jewelers in Philadelphia actually deal in both new and pre-owned watches. Owner Danny Govberg is quick to comment that people can tire or get bored of watches in their collection. Many of his customers own several timepieces, and when it comes time to purchasing something new, they often look to see what they haven't worn in a while as a trade-in piece to help them with a new purchase. For retailers such as Govberg, developing close relationships with their customers helps them benefit from the natural life cycle of a luxury watch that often includes both new purchases and re-purchases.
crown-caliber

Buying Versus Selling Watches

Hamilton Powell, the founder of Atlanta-based Crown & Caliber, likes to use the term "recommerce" to describe the act of purchasing watches from consumers versus selling them. At the time of writing Crown & Caliber is about two years old and began with the business model of buying versus selling watches. While Crown & Caliber does offer timepieces for sale, the entire presentation of their website, as well as the focus of their advertising, is aimed at encouraging people to sell or consign their watches. "Sell, Consign, Trade" is a typical trinity of offerings at businesses like Crown & Caliber where the focus is watch acquisition versus sales. The name of the game for Crown & Caliber is getting inventory.
It may seem odd to consumers that companies both new and old are focused on buying things from them, versus strictly selling them something. It goes without saying that each of the companies interested in buying watches have means of monetizing their investments. Apparently, the market for pre-owned watches is so healthy that many retailers are more interested in getting products to sell versus selling.

Paul Altieri founded Bob's Watches in Southern California as a website to buy and sell pre-owned Rolex watches. He found that Rolex watches held their value so well, there was money to be made in developing a market place to both buy and sell them. Unlike many of his competitors, Bob's Watches openly publishes on their site not only the sale price of used Rolex watches, but also also the buying price.

In preparing this article, five separate watch retail businesses were interviewed in regard to their activities related to buying pre-owned watches from consumers. Each of these businesses also engages in selling watches. None of them professed any concern whatsoever in regard to to finding customers, making sales, or moving product. WatchUWant's OJ Whatley explained that, with experience, one knows what watches sell, what price to sell them at, and how to find customers. Bob's Watches indicate that they often have a waiting list for certain pre-owned Rolex models customers are looking to acquire, so the challenge for them is getting incoming pieces to ship out. The message from everyone is that getting watches to sell is more difficult than finding people to buy them.
bobs-watches

The Fight For Inventory

The biggest challenge facing many of the best online retailers of pre-owned or vintage watches is inventory. Pre-owned retailers aren't authorized dealers and don't have official relationships with the brands they often offer. Sometimes their relationships with brands is hostile, and most of these companies make a point to announce that they aren't affiliated with the major brands. Getting watches to sell is an art rather than a science. Crown & Caliber suggests that over 75% of the watches they sell are purchased directly from consumers who own them. The rest might come from estate sales, retail store closeouts, or from other dealers.
Companies that buy watches prefer to acquire them directly from consumers because there aren't middlemen, but it also means the competition can be tough. Even though luxury watches come with high prices, margins can be slim, so it makes sense for companies like Bob's Watches to offer the transparency of showing their buying and selling prices. Crown & Caliber has a different approach where they also offer to make the experience completely transparent to the consumer. Their current model is interesting, and is designed to reward consumers willing to wait. Consumers can opt for an immediate cash payment for their watch based on what Crown & Caliber believes they can sell the piece for, or the consumer can wait and consign the watch to Crown & Caliber who will then sell the piece for the maximum value and give the money to the consumer minus a roughly 20% fee.

Govberg is among the larger and more established operations that purchases watches from consumers. What makes Govberg unique and ideally suited to the task of acquiring inventory is that they are authorized retailers of new watches, have an in-house watch repair service, and also sell pre-owned watches. This means that Govberg has the ability to offer the most value to consumers in many situations. Goveberg asks the question "why are people coming to us to sell their watches? Is it for cash? No, most of the time they are selling unwanted watches to buy new ones. So we are there to offer them a trade or the best value possible to help them get that next watch."

Consumers aren't always looking to trade in or trade up to a newer watch. Many are strictly interested in the cash value of their watches. Crown & Caliber admits that customers looking for the best prices call all the time to see what types of prices they can get. Powell adds that sometimes consumers will get a better price here or there if they shop around, but what they are really looking for is a trustworthy experience that they can return to. Bob's Watches points out that high-end watch consumers tend to be rather sophisticated to begin with, and the internet only makes them more well informed. They continue remarking that a few years ago it was possible buy watches for less and sell them for a bit more, but the competition online has eroded margins.

James Lamdin operates a boutique online retailer called Analog Shift dedicated to the sale of vintage sport watches. Analog Shift purchases inventory from dealers and also offers consignment, but is the most happy when buying watches from consumers and then reselling them to their customers. Lamdin reiterates that the acquisition of good inventory is an ongoing issue, which is further enhanced by consumers becoming increasingly knowledgeable in regard to the value of some vintage timepieces, though he sees hope in an expanding market. Lamdin offers that even though dedicated watch collectors are demanding more for their quality vintage watches, the market for buyers of vintage and pre-owned watches is rapidly growing. He feels that the overall increase in awareness of the vintage and pre-owned watch market will increase demand, as well as the available inventory as more people are likely to want to sell their unwanted timepieces.

crown-caliber-ap

A Game Of Trust

Even with today's technology the purchase of a high-end watch online can still be a tricky scenario. The problem lies mostly with the transaction itself, which when done remotely can turn into a game of trust. Say a dealer offers a consumer $5,000 for a pre-owned Rolex watch. Great, they have a deal. So who acts first? The fear of course is fraud, and it is all too common. The retailer fears that if they send the money first, the consumer won't send a watch in return. The same issue works with the game of watches. If a retailer sends a watch before getting paid, they may never get paid. On the other hand, a consumer is often asked to send their watch before any payment is made. Part of this is due to the fact that retailers must validate the condition and working order of the watch.
So what typically transpires is that customers send their watches first to the purchasing retailers. The timepiece is then checked out, and either the watch is sent back or the payment is tendered. Even on the sales side, customers are often asked to wire money to retailers before products are shipped out. Wiring money is more permanent than a credit card sale (for example), but often times retailers and consumers prefer this method. That's because when a retailer receives payment via a bank wire transfer, they don't have to fear credit card chargebacks. Consumers benefit because retailers will often reward them with price discounts for tendering payment via wire. In any event, the two parties must convey a sense of trustworthiness.

Bob's Watches feels that even though things are getting better, consumers still fear sending valuable things in the mail. Retailers engaged in buying or selling watches must convince consumers of their reputable nature and integrity. WatchUWant prides itself on what it feels is stellar customer service that encourages word-of-mouth recommendation and repeat business. The founder explains that a single poor customer service experience can ruin your reputation, and it makes sense to do everything to ensure the highest rate of satisfaction. Nevertheless, he admits that when it comes to new customers, all a company can do is share positive ratings, and try to make the process as transparent as possible. He, for example, will not only pay for a watch to shipped to WatchUWant by a customer, but also the return shipping if that ends up being necessary.

Govberg feels that, for his business, consumers uneasy with the process need look no further than the fact they are both an authorized retailer as well as a pre-owned watch dealer. When Govberg buys a watch they freely share the large volume of their monthly transactions and reputation they have built up over the years.
 

Only The Best Brands Matter

Consumers interested in selling their watches may not always have much luck if they don't have the right products. Crown & Caliber explains that they are only interested in luxury Swiss watches, and that there isn't much of a market for anything else. The price floor for them is about $1,000. Under that, and it simply isn't worth their time. Even then, the most successful watches are those from the major brands with big marketable names. "Pretty much TAG Heuer and up is what we are looking for" remarks Powell. Once in a while they will agree to purchase a lesser known luxury watch brand, but when it comes down to it, the major names are what people are looking to purchase pre-owned.

Lamdin at Analog Shift enjoys the challenge of selling lesser known brands a models, but admits that most buyers are looking for a few key brands and models. He adds that if he wanted things to be really easy he would focus entirely on buying and selling Omega Speedmasters and Rolex Submariners. Having said that, consumers should be realistic about what their pre-owned watches are worth. The increasing publicity of major watch auctions that can fetch millions of dollars have perhaps created an inflated sense of value, especially for sentimental watch owners.

When Crown & Caliber first started their focus was not on serving collectors, but rather the general public. Powell assembled a massive database with historical data on watch sales from a range of sources. One goal of the database was to share with customers what their timepieces might actually be sell for. Most retailers agree that the times when consumers really had no idea what their timepieces might be worth have passed. Whatley from WatchUWatch explains that your typical pawn shop or jeweler might not know how to properly value a watch and in most instances certainly won't pay top dollar. Watch specialists are often required to understand the nature, and thus potential price of most timepieces.
analog-shift

To Sell Your Watch Direct Or With A Service?

When it comes to selling an old car, the age-old question is whether an owner wants to deal with the hassle of finding a customer or is happy to get a bit less and sell the car to a dealer. The same dilemma applies to the sale of a pre-owned watch. Consumers have a range of tools available to them to sell watches directly to other consumers online using tools such as eBay. In fact, retailers such as Crown & Caliber, WatchUWatch, Govberg, and others use eBay, other online watch retail sites such as Chrono24, or sales forums to sell their stock of pre-owned watches.

If retailers are using tools to sell watches that are easily available to consumers, why then would people sell their watches to a dealer who would also need to profit on the transaction? Retailers looking to buy watches first and foremost rely on the convenience available to customers who simply want to sell their timepieces and be done with it. Retailers are also in the business of sales so trades and trade-ins are also available when working with a dealer. Something consumers also need to consider is that other consumers are often more willing to trust dealers with established reputation versus other consumers.

"Powell of Crown & Caliber extols the benefits of making each of their pre-owned watches look fantastic. "We clean and have a watchmaker service or repair each watch on our own dime." Their competitors offer similar services that help their pre-owned watches look their best. WatchUWatch goes on to explain how presentation when selling a pre-owned watch is very important. Their site not only uses original photography but includes details such as when the watch was originally purchased by the original owner, as well images of the accompanying box and papers. Watches purchased through Govberg can even come with a Govberg warranty. The result is that consumers are often willing to pay more for pre-owned watches that are being sold by established dealers compared to what they would for watches purchased from other consumers.

The increase in competition for pre-owned watch purchases generally benefits the consumer. Not only can people expect a fair market value for their unwanted pre-owned watches, but the process of selling them has never been more simple or transparent. It is often felt by the established luxury industry that pre-owned retailers exist on the fringe, selling to aspirational buyers only who aren't interested or able to purchase new. The reality is quite the contrary, not only because the pre-owned industry is a natural and important extension of the new watch buying experience, but also because it helps many collector's fund their new purchases. The evolution of the pre-owned watch industry may also be instrumental in increasing the re-sale value of new watches, which in turn assists the sale of new watches.

Consumers looking to sell their unwanted watches have lots of options, and are generally encouraged to contact potential dealers if they harbor concerns. What they should remember is that the people buying or selling high-end luxury watches tend to expect exceptional customer service in all areas of life, so the best of these businesses cannot be an exception.

Ariel Adams publishes the watch review site aBlogtoWatch.com

Monday, November 2, 2015

Social Selling - the hype and the reality

Yesterday I attended a summit on Social Selling hosted by LinkedIn. I was impressed with how far B2B Social Selling has come in the last 12 months in many notable corporations.

There are some amazing success stories that reaffirms that Social Selling is driving an evolution in the way we sell and the way organisations buy. I am convinced that the Social Selling leaders will take market share from the laggards. 

That said, there is a lot of Social Selling hype that needs to be watered down.

I developed the following list after reading much of the recent 'thought leadership' content on Social Selling and listening to the presentations and discussions yesterday.  I present them as my thoughts and would like you to share your experiences as we are all learning about how to effectively use social. Let me know where I'm right, where I'm wrong and what I've missed.

Hype 1: Social selling is taking the B2B sales world by storm.

Reality: There is still a relatively small percentage of B2B organisations and salespeople leveraging Social Selling effectively.  However the ones who are strategically implementing it are achieving significant results that I am sure will compel the laggards to follow quickly. This is evident in the many successful case studies now emerging.

Hype 2: LinkedIn's SSI (Social selling index) is the best measure and predictor of sales performance since the pipeline or funnel.

Reality: SSI is a measure of outcomes achieved via social activity on LinkedIn.  It does not measure sales activity or sales success nor does it measure the outcomes of your social activity on other platforms..  The real value of Social Selling for salespeople is in lead generation - i.e. finding and connecting with prospective customers, developing some level of relationship and trust to the point where you can take it off line to have a face to face discussion. However in my mind SSI does not measure leads.  It measures the outcomes of all activity up to but not including confirmation that we have an opportunity. That said, the experience of the successful Social Selling organisations confirm that on average if an effective salesperson's SSI measure is high he/she will drive significantly more qualified leads than via any traditional prospecting method - assuming their target customers are on LinkedIn.

By the way if you want to check your own SSI click here.

Hype 3:  Social Selling is 'selling'. That is, if you conduct effective Social Selling you will be successful in sales.

Reality: The word 'selling' in Social Selling is a misnomer - I believe any salesperson worth their salt don't sell on social - but they do engage and prospect and they know when to take it off line.

To be successful in B2B (non commodity) sales you need to be able to sell face to face. Adding Social Selling to your repertoire, I have no doubt, will accelerate your selling capability.  However if you cannot sell in the first place then no matter what your SSI, you will still not sell. You need the ability to qualify, discover and create value. You need to be able to authenticate value for the customer. You need to be able to negotiate and close the business.  Social Selling, as measured by the SSI, will lay much of the foundation for this but that is all.

Hype 4: Social Selling is easier than old forms of prospecting such as cold calling.

Reality: Let me emphasise - 'Social selling' is not easy.

By comparison the process of cold calling is easy. (I can hear your exclamations). It's easy to buy a database and email and call a list.  I agree call 'rejection' may be tough for many but the task is easy - mind numbingly easy.  Making a hundred calls and succeeding with only a few of the hundred - or sending hundreds of emails with even poorer results. I know there is more to it than this but bear with me while I make my point.

By comparison Social Selling is hard work performed over significant elapsed time. First you must build a formidable, digitally based, personal brand that projects your unique promise of value, That alone is no easy feat. Then researching and connecting with executives, decision makers and influencers on 'social' takes time and skill. Nurturing social relationships with those executives by sharing content that is of relevance and value takes significant work, time and skill.

However the rewards can be outstanding. Good social sellers can achieve over 90% success rate when making an approach to set up that first face to face meeting with a connection they have nurtured.  I see salespeople achieve it every day. I achieve it myself.

Hype 5: Social selling is a simple tactic - it simply bolts on to your current sales strategy and processes

Reality: Social selling will fail if you do not rethink the way you sell. Your sales strategy and your sales process need to evolve with it.  I have recently heard so many  say "I tried it and did not work for us". Every single one of these when pressed agreed that they had put their 'toe in the water' - they had not thought about how they need to change in order to be successful and then commit.

For more on social selling strategy read "Ignore the LinkedIn social selling experts, until ....."

Let me remind you of all of those stories about CRM failures in the past.  It's the same risk that we face with Social  this early in the adoption curve.  Let's learn from the CRM failures to help Social Selling succeed. In CRM the high rate of failure was because we overlaid CRM on struggling sales organisations - and over poor sales processes and reluctant salespeople  - who were not ready for it. We had not driven the change that was necessary for success. It is the same for Social Selling.  In my experience if you are not ready for the change don't deploy it until you are. That said if you are in this boat perhaps you might start to get ready or risk losing market share to the early adopters.

Hype 6: Social is all we need to engage with prospective customers as we move into the future.

Reality:  This one is obviously wrong.  AsPaul McCord says in Top Sales World "It isn't our prospect's responsibility to respond to us in the way we want to connect with them; it is our responsibility to connect with our prospects in the way they will accept".  There are many channels of communication that we use to engage with customers and most of these will continue to have their place for the foreseeable future.  And I am sure new ones will emerge quicker than we can cope with them. We need to ensure we be prepared to adapt our customer engagement strategies as this world changes.

Hype 7: LinkedIn is the only Social Media platform you need to use in B2B.

Reality: LinkedIn is currently the most valuable platform for B2B however as we mentioned in hype 6 the customer chooses the platform - not us.  If the customer is active on Google+, Twitter, Facebook or any other channel we need to be there too.  Your target audience dictates the platforms you use.

In this article I have talked about Social Selling hype - not Myths.  There a myriad of SS myths 15 of which are well documented by Tony Hughes here. I commend his article to you.

These above are my top of mind 'Social Selling' hypes that I have experienced.  I hope you find my thoughts of value. What hypes have you experienced? And what is the reality in each case.  If we all understand these it will ensure greater success in our implementations. Over to you!

***********************
Check this out:
Social Selling - the hype and the reality

http://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-selling-hype-reality-john-smibert
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