79% of sales reps that incorporated social selling achieved their quota over the last calendar or fiscal year compared to 43% of the Industry Average. -“Social Selling: Best-in-Class Targeting of the Right Message, at the Right Time, for the Right Person” Aberdeen Group; 2012.

Last year I embarked on my first Dreamforce adventure, where I encountered a number of learning experiences. The most prominent lesson came from a short meeting I had with a gentleman at the InsideView booth. After a long conversation about our solution and Salesforce, we ended the conversation and it seemed like that was the end of our short-lived business relationship. About 15 minutes later, I received a LinkedIn invitation from the gentleman I had just spoken to. From then on, we remained in touch through LinkedIn and Twitter and now he is a major advocate of sales intelligence and social selling.

Check out 15 of the Top Professionals that Utilize Social Selling

This occurrence inspired me to write a post about the lesson I learned that day of the importance of social selling at Dreamforce. Here are 3 powerful tips to social selling for Dreamforce 2012:

Do NOT Connect on LinkedIn With This Message…

Joe Smith has indicated you are a fellow group member of Dreamforce:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

This message may be considered social selling’s SPAM or new foreign telemarketer. It is a horrible inconvenience to the receiver and 100% impersonal. Dreamforce is an unbelievable opportunity to expand your network. If you engage with a potential buyer, or connect with a fellow professional over lunch, connect with them on LinkedIn and continue to build the relationship once Dreamforce is over. However, the moment you send that 10-word sentence, you have doomed your business connection.

Take a number from Paul Castain:

“Think about the power of first impressions and, more importantly, the power of being memorable. Reference something you have observed about them in the groups, a point they made, their company, some common ground.”

The paragraph is only a 256-character limit. Here are 3 steps to writing that invitation to professionals you meet at Dreamforce 2012:

  1. Introduction: Where you met at Dreamforce
  2. Personal Citation: Bring up something you discussed during your meeting – make it personal
  3. Value Point: What value will this connection bring?

Engage With People You Meet at #DF12 Through Twitter

Imagine Twitter as a walkie-talkie to every Dreamforce attendee with a Twitter account. I can promise you will see a number of Twitter resurrections just for the purpose of #DF12. Don’t be afraid to tweet to people asking them to stop by your booth or meet at a coffee shop. People are spending hundreds of dollars on plane tickets, hotels and lunches to spend three days connecting with other professionals and learning about new solutions.

Check out InsideView’s Dreamforce Handbook to see some of the major Dreamforce Influencers on Twitter.

If you have a Twitter account, follow the hashtag #DF12 during Dreamforce and make a solid effort to set up meetings or discussions with other professionals. You will be surprised of how many people with whom you can connect!

“That’s what caring first, not selling first, looks like, and that’s how I built my brand.”

I highly recommend  prior to attending to Dreamforce  that you search through Dreamforce forums or follow the hashtag #DF12 and connect with people on Twitter or LinkedIn. By establishing relationships prior to Dreamforce, you will not be forced to walk around the Moscone Center aimlessly looking for people to talk to like your 8th grade dance. The key is to care, build the relationship, than sell when it comes to social selling.

This is probably one of my all time favorite social selling stories from Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, The Thank You Economy. Apply this to your Dreamforce social selling efforts:

When I first started tweeting, I had no brand recognition; no one knew who I was. To build my brand, I started creating conversations around what I cared passionately about: wine. I used Search.Twitter (called Summarize.com back then) to find mentions of Chardonnay. I saw that people had questions, and I answered them. I didn’t post a link to WineLibrary.com and point out that I sold Chardonnay.

If people mentioned that they were drinking Merlot, I gave them my Merlot recommendation, but I didn’t mention that they could buy Merlot on my website. I didn’t try to close too early, like a nineteen-year-old guy; I made sure to invest in the relationship first.

Eventually, people started to see my comments and think, “Oh hey, it’s that Vaynerchuk guy; he knows Chardonnay. Oh cool, he does a wine show – let’s take a look. Hey, he’s funny. I like him; I trust him. And check it out: he sells wine, too. Free shipping? Let’s try a bottle of that….” That’s what caring first, not selling first, looks like, and that’s how I built my brand.

-Gary Vaynerchuk, The Thank You Economy