The words in the headline are from John Golden, President and CEO of Huthwaite, was just one of the nuggets of common sense which were expressed at the recent Huthwaite Future Forum held at the Marina Mandarin Singapore. The topic was ‘Social Selling’. On a panel, besides John Golden, were Andrew Chow, Social Media Strategist & Author of Social Media 247, Christel Quek, Regional Social Business Lead at Samsung Asia, and Marco Ryan, Managing Director/Partner at Accenture Interactive.

Greg Moore, the Managing Director of Huthwaite, started the breakfast session with an overview of social media and sales based on Huthwaite’s own research and that of The Sales Management Association. He said that while often marketing departments had formalised social media efforts, the sales department is the lowest of all departments in this area. Surveys show 66% of companies have no social media strategy for the sales organisation. Lack of training in social media for the sales force was highlighted in the research
by SMA.

Moore said his company was seeing shifts in the buying process. Buyers were engaging with the seller later, spending more time on research prior
to purchase.

Too often panel discussions are the most boring part of any conference and seem to be used to fill in the time and make use of the speakers who are on hand. However, the panel pulled together by Huthwaite for this Future Forum was one of the best AdAsia has witnessed for a long time. Each member was articulate and contributed valuable insights.

Andrew Chow said we should be “selling by sharing”. All panellists made the point that one must listen to the buyers and look to give without expecting returns. Christel Quek felt companies should be using it to gain social intelligence and Marco Ryan suggested finding what you know about who you know. Everything is about relevancy and relationships.

All agreed that the CEO should be active in social media, making the buyers feel he is approachable. People trust companies where the chief is seen on social media. The panel advised the audience to develop their own self brand and become micro-marketers.

Recording the conference in real time as an infographic (see illustration) was Bernie Quah of Sketch Post Studio. This company offers a service that records seminars and conferences in words and pictures.