Barbara Giamanco – The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

The book is called The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media. Whether you sell professionally for a large corporation, or you are the rainmaker in your business, our purpose was to show that the sales approach needed to evolve to meet the needs of the 21st Century. For too long sales organizations have relied on methods that have been around since the 19th Century, and frankly, there have been few changes in the way sales professionals operate in the last 100 years. It’s time for sales to evolve. Sales executives and their teams must recognize that the integration of social media into their selling practices is a business imperative not a nicety. If they don’t get moving soon, it is guaranteed that the competition will, if they haven’t already.”

Tell us something about yourself.

Though I was born in North Carolina, I moved around quite a bit, as my dad was a Marine Corps officer. After spending about 22 years on the West Coast, I arrived in Atlanta by way of Microsoft. My professional background includes a proven, 30-year track record of generating sales, and I know exactly what life is like living by a sales quota. I spent the bulk of my corporate career in the technology industry, so I’m pretty tech literate and have a passion for showing organizations how to use technology to achieve a specific result. Technology is certainly cool, but if it doesn’t drive your business forward, what’s the point? After I capped my corporate career at Microsoft, where I led sales teams and coached executives, I started my own sales performance consulting company in 2002. On the personal side, I am an avid reader, love traveling, great food and wine, and I’m crazy about my dogs Shorty and Cody. Shorty is a Shepard/Retriever mix who is 10 and Cody is a very feisty, stubborn, Siberian husky who is about 14 months old now.

What made you decide to write the book?

We wrote this book to draw attention to the evolution that is taking place in sales. People may have heard the term Sales 2.0, and according to CSO Insights, Sales 2.0 solutions allow salespeople to connect with prospects and customers across multiple communication platforms while improving the targeting and timing of each engagement. Sales 2.0 initiatives often include a strong inbound selling component. That is using the telephone as a primary sales communication vehicle rather than using just face-to-face activities as a way to close business. Beyond the current thinking about Sales 2.0, we wanted to open sales executives’ eyes to the power and promise of how the successful integration of social media into the business will produce higher quality sales results in less time. Unfortunately, too many companies are ignoring the sales force when they consider social media as a business initiative.

How did you choose the title and what does it mean?

It was important to have a title that people could relate too, but one that was also straight forward enough for people to grasp quickly what the book was all about.

Everyone can relate to meeting someone for the first time and shaking hands. The new handshake takes this concept of shaking hands to create a personal connection and extends it to encouraging salespeople to use social communities as a way to create relationships in advance of doing business. There’s no question that selling is happening in the online world. But, it’s not the kind of selling that is at the heart of the new handshake philosophy. We believe that social sales success comes from engaging with prospective buyers through a mix of sincerity, transparency, authenticity and a genuine concern for their business issues. Instead of using unsolicited sales methods – like those spam emails some sales people just can’t seem to resist sending – the new handshake requires you to first get to know something about the person, start to build a relationship with them through LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter without expecting anything in return. By adding value in advance of the sales transaction, you become known as a trusted, informed advisor in your market space. You become someone that people want to buy from.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Yes, writing a book is hard work! It is one thing to talk about it and it’s another to actually get it done. I also learned a lot about myself and my writing style. Though I had my calendar marked to write a certain number of words every day, it didn’t quite work out that way. I tend to think about my topic and what I want to say, but the words and ideas float around in my head for a bit, and then all of a sudden, I fly into a flurry of writing. I also learned that it was really important for me to use a tape recorder to capture many of my thoughts. I often verbalize concepts out loud, so recording them was the way to go. In fact, during phone conversations with my co-author, Joan Curtis, we started recording those calls to capture my fleeting moments of brillianceJ.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Many budding authors choose to go the self-publishing route, because they think that trying to secure a contract with a publisher is too difficult. And, there is certainly some truth to that. However, you need to think carefully and do your homework before you self-publish. There are pro’s and con’s to everything. On the pro side of self-publishing, you have complete artistic freedom. But the downside is that you have to be pretty involved in the production process and that’s even more work you are heaping on your shoulders. When you work with a publisher, they do all the book production heavy lifting. Authors also need to be careful about being seduced by the many self-publishing book scams out there. If someone is asking you to invest money…make sure you know who you are dealing with before handing over your cash.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

The book is specifically targeted at sales professionals and/or business owners who sell for themselves. Readers of the book will learn how to leverage social networking tools to increase their sales. We introduce sales professionals to the ways that they can begin incorporating the use of social media in their everyday sales operations. We provide suggestions on the best uses of social networking tools in supporting an overall sales strategy. Readers will learn about netiquette, and we help them stay out of hot water with our tips for what to do and what not do when participating online. At the end of the book we pose a 30-Day Challenge to help salespeople get going. The point is that social sales success can only happen by taking the right actions. We provide guidance on the steps that need to be taken to effectively incorporate social media into a sales strategy.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Please visit us at www.thenewhandshake.com. There you can order the book via Amazon.com, and, if you sign up to receive updates from us, in exchange we’ll give you a complimentary copy of our e-book that provides some great social media/sales foundational information, as well as the introductory chapter of the book.