Social Selling pioneer

The True Pioneer of Social Selling: My Father

With apologies to Reid Hoffman, my father really invented LinkedIn.

While Thomas W. Tully wasn’t anywhere near Silicon Valley during the early 2000s when the mainstay social media platform and epicenter of social selling was created, the theory and practice behind the business-oriented social networking service was commonplace for him decades earlier.

Dad and I first talked about business during a long car ride to Baltimore to drop me off at The Johns Hopkins University in the late 1980s.

The then-rising executive at McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, the man without a college education, the man who scraped and fought for everything he earned in his life, shared the words that would define my professional career:

The most important business skill is the ability to build integrity-based relationships.”

In the era of the Tandy 3000 and the IBM PC he followed up his prescient insights about relationships with this:

“And learn everything about computers; they are the future of business.”

Computers + relationships = LinkedIn. Q.E.D.

What many of us who are engaged in sales, or marketing, or who are embracing the “new” sales methodology of Social Selling fail to realize is that while technology is an enabler, people ultimately buy YOU.

My father died seven years ago, but what he said nearly two decades earlier is as applicable today as it was then – across all industries, verticals, and social media platforms.

There is no substitute for building an authentic relationship.

If your Social Selling strategy is to mass produce content and indiscriminately shout, without providing any true value for the recipient, it’s time to embrace the power of one-to-one.

Because to achieve success in Social Selling (and in business), one-to-one yields one-to-many, when integrity is the differentiator and relationships are the driver.

Human beings are hard-wired to crave individual social interaction. While face-to-face is the ideal, it isn’t always practical.

Tools like Blab, Periscope, G+ hangouts, Skype, Videoconferencing, and even the – gasp – telephone make it easier to facilitate one-to-one.

And who among us wouldn’t like more one-to-one?

I would, especially today, in a long car ride talking with my Dad.

About the Author Kevin Thomas Tully

Kevin Thomas Tully has employed the principles of Social Selling long before the term entered the popular business vernacular. With a C-level background in Sales, Marketing, and PR, Kevin built multi-million dollar sales infrastructures and trained award-winning sales teams across variable verticals both as an entrepreneur and corporate officer. Kevin believes that the most important business skill is the ability to build integrity-based relationships. You should, too.

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