Lenwood Ross 0:00
Engagement is going to increase retention. What we need to have happen here is a very rapid change in behavior. Social selling is more about the people than it is about the technology.
Steve Brown 0:16
Lenwood Ross, welcome to the ROI online podcast.
Unknown Speaker 0:20
Steve Brown 0:35
I'm looking forward to this because you've got a great backstory. You have you worked at a big a big deal place you were earning big money.
Lenwood Ross 0:46
This is true. Haha.
Steve Brown 0:52
You You learned a lot, then you left to go and work. Help your dad out. But that turned into a train wreck? That's right, right. You've got a family. You know, everything was just like, it was like, smoldering after that. Yeah. And then what do you do? You got focused, you dug in? And then we're talking right now your company is accelery.com? Yeah. What is accelery.com?
Lenwood Ross 1:23
Well, you know, it's a great place. You know, we're my, you know, I'm I am focused on digital transformation, we're digital transformation consultancy, very focused on the people part of that, which is often overlooked. So we're really focused more on culture, helping people change their behaviors, and specifically developing digital skills for creating demand for their products and services, right, I help people create demand for their products and services, without cold calling, without endless emails that never get answered without, you know, paid advertising bills that would choke an elephant. So that's what I do
Steve Brown 2:13
So so give us that backstory that that I alluded to here in the journey. Walk us through that.
Lenwood Ross 2:21
Sure. So yeah, I, I went to some big time expensive schools. And because of that, I went to law school, right University of Pennsylvania law school, and I was able to get a, you know, good job, out of law school. And when I got to law school, all of a sudden salary started going through the roof. I mean, they're, they're really high now. But when I got out, they jumped quite a bit. And, and this was at the beginning of the Internet, and all that. Anyway, I'm going off a little bit on a tangent, tangent, um, I ended up going working in private practice for a number of years. And then I went in-house, to a corporation, where I was the senior corporate Attorney for the company, $2 billion real retailer. Wow. And I was pretty young, at at that point, still, in my early, early 30s, I was maybe 33-34. And we went through a sort of a challenging period while I was there. And I mean, I wasn't crazy about being a lawyer to begin with, I was crazy about the money. The money was great. And I had, you know, law school debt that I needed to pay off. So you know, that's why I was doing it. But I soon realized that it was not the career for me, I couldn't do it another 25 or 30 years. So I had to make a I had to make did that I, I left that job where I was making really good money. And I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do. I started calling around talking to different people about, you know, kind of what they thought my string, you know, accomplished people write what they thought my strengths were. And I talked to a guy, a friend of mine, who's a venture capitalist at the time, he said, you really ought to be an entrepreneur, you know, you got the ability to inspire people. And, you know, I've seen that, you know, we knew each other in high school, you know, and so I, I didn't know, you know, saying you're going to be an entrepreneur is, you know, that's a big statement. And what I've come to learn is you can say you're an entrepreneur, but you're not really an entrepreneur until you become an entrepreneur. Meaning that there is a process that you Go through. And until you really persevere, you persevere through that process. You're not really an entrepreneur, the next step after becoming an entrepreneur is becoming a successful entrepreneur. Right? You can be an entrepreneur and not be successful. You get and then you can become a successful entrepreneur. But there is a process of becoming an entrepreneur anyway, I went to help out my dad, and you know, the stories on the website, I won't go into a bunch of detail. But needless to say, dad had his eyes on a big money deal that he didn't want to include me on. He decided, he believed me holding the bag while he took the real bag, money bag, Aha. So he did that. And anyway, I had to figure out what I was going to do. After all that went down, I started researching, looking for what I would call mega trends, right? Big things going on in the economy. And it turns out, we happen to be in the midst of one of the biggest economic transformations in human history. I mean, what's going on right now is absolutely game changing. So I ended up needing to go back to school, I went back went to did an entrepreneurship program in NYU got a postgraduate degree in digital business. And that kind of led me to where I am right now.
Steve Brown 6:32
So what why is it that this really appealed to you what what in you really resonates with this?
Lenwood Ross 6:40
Well, you know, when I was in the corporate job, being going to law school and becoming a lawyer actually changed me. Hmm. You know, I didn't know that it was going to change me when I started it, but it made me a very different person than I had been in college.
Steve Brown 6:56
Lenwood Ross 6:57
Um, you know, when I was in college, I was like, a very outgoing person, you know, I like to talk to people like to hang out with people, even when going all the way back to, you know, it being in when I was in high school, right, I always felt like part of growing up was not just like academics, or even academics and sports, but there was like, this thing about being social and, and hanging out with people and getting to know people and breaking it down. One of my favorite things to do in college, which you kind of lose, when you get later in life is just breaking it down, right? Those late nights, in, you know, the common room or whatever social area, the ping pong table to pools is just breaking it down, right? You know, you lose that later in life. But you, there's a lot of learning that goes on when you're like breaking it down with people. Um, and anyway, so I lost all of that. Being a lawyer in a lot of ways can be very isolating and lonely. And it there are very few times when people are like, excited to talk to the lawyer. Most time they're running from me, and they think they're in trouble or something. So you know, it's just the whole thing around being a lawyer just wasn't great for me. And, and I started to realize that, you know, in my career, like, I just can't do this for another 2025 years, I feel like there are more, I feel like I have things inside me gifts inside me that I meant to use that this is not tapping into at all. And so. So I had to really go through a period of you know, just self awareness and personal growth. And in going through that process, while simultaneously looking for mega trends. I realized that what I'm going through right now, a lot of people are going to have to go through because the way that we work and the things that we do are, it's changing. So fundamentally, it's, you know, I won't say that it's not talked about that much. But, you know, workforce transformation is huge, really, really huge. And I'm not just talking like, practical, not I won't say practical skills, but you know, there's like skills like learning technology, right? Okay. Yeah, that's, you know, that's an important skill, but I'm not talking about those kinds of skills. I'm talking about like soft skills, like leadership skills, communication skills. This technological age that we're in requires a lot of creativity, a lot of innovation, it requires people to be able to get along, work together, work through problems. And I don't think you know, there people have those skills. Really.
Steve Brown 9:59
You And then to be on the other side of zoom call, trying to work through these issues. Yeah. Serious because you can't read body language necessarily. Like could you could, it's like, you have to really up your game as far as connection. Yeah. And and really, really being with someone even though you're, you're, you're in New Jersey, I'm in Texas. Yeah. And yet we have a synergy going right now. Yeah. Yeah, that's rare.
Lenwood Ross 10:32
Yeah. Yeah. But but it's, it's something that you can develop. Right? It is something that you can develop and, and really, that's what social medias is about. I mean, we're going to talk about that a little later. But, um, it's human to human connection at scale. So it's, it just suits me well,
Steve Brown 10:53
human human to human connection via technology. And I think we're most of the humans get tripped up is getting sucked into the technology side. And totally neglecting the human side.
Lenwood Ross 11:07
Absolutely. Absolutely. actually wrote a wrote a blog about it. Where I just say that, you know, one of the reasons why people kind of get social media wrong, or they don't, they don't grasp it, it's because that very thing you just said, they fundamentally are missing the power. Right. I talked I was just talking the other day about Do you remember three way calling?
Steve Brown 11:36
Yeah. Okay. Right.
Lenwood Ross 11:38
The three way calling was this amazing technology, where you could get three people on the phone at the same time?
Steve Brown 11:48
You hit the hit it right? On the first person?
Lenwood Ross 11:52
Yeah, all of a sudden, you got three people who can have a conversation? Well, today. And by the way, you had to pay a lot of money to be able to do that, like that's a service that my family cannot afford. But I'm with today, you know, with these social media platforms, you can connect with 1000s of people. For nothing,
Steve Brown 12:18
Nothing for no long distance charges.
Lenwood Ross 12:19
Yeah, no long distance charge, no fee, that is just transfer culturally transformative. It just totally changes the game, in terms of our ability to connect with people relate with people without respect to distance or cultural differences, or, you know, some of my biggest follower following is actually in India. I mean, it's unbelievable to me. I don't know.
Steve Brown 12:57
Yeah, I mean, I have, when I look at my stats, a lot of people are coming from Europe, from the Philippines from different areas that I didn't expect.
Lenwood Ross 13:07
Yeah, yeah, you don't expect it when you start this, this journey of, you know, building an audience and connecting with people. You know, you don't know what is going to be the common thing that brings you together. And, you know, depending on the different groups, like I was in this program called Emeritus, which I talked about the digital. That's, that's where I got the postgraduate degree, that was an online program over about eight months. And there were people in that from all over the world. And the professor for that is this leap, really leading digital thinker. And he's got this book called The digital transformation playbook. And, you know, I did a post about the digital transformation playbook. He engaged with it. And you know, it got seen, you know, around the world, and I connected with all these people who were in India, who were also in that program. So anyway, it's just this amazing vehicle for connecting and meeting new people and building relationships. It's awesome.
Steve Brown 14:18
So Lenwood, what's at risk if a business doesn't maneuver and get comfortable with this digital transformation that you're talking about the biggest shift that we've seen economically ever.
Lenwood Ross 14:33
Yeah, I would say that. You base I mean, if you there's so many aspects to digital transformation, but let's, let's, let's focus in on the social media piece because the social media piece is actually a really big piece. Your every company is going to have to get comfortable with being a social organization, okay, because this is how people communicate nowadays, email, people dread going to their email box, there's so many emails in there, you know, it's it, there's no way to really have a conversation through email. Yes, you've got these platforms like slack and teams, and those things are enabling. But in terms of the town square, that's social media. And the town happens to be the world now. So you've got to get comfortable being a social organization, because when you become a social organization, now you can get really close to your customers. By the same token, you can also get close to your competitors customers. So the companies that actually move first, with adopting social media and and becoming a social organization, those companies are going to have a significant unfair advantage going forward.
Steve Brown 16:09
You I find that when you tell a business person, you know, I work with entrepreneurs, generally they have 20 or less employees. Okay, that's the backbone of the American economy, right? And when you tell them you need, we need to get you social media set up, right? They have this reaction that their face, they make this look on their face. Like, you just said, this most stupid thing in the world. And it's like, Look, I need you to think of yourself not as a surgeon, you're a multi media publishing house. Yep. And they're like, I'm trying to run a good business here. Then what what's what's your answer to that objection?
Lenwood Ross 16:58
Running a good business means of getting customers. It means protecting your existing customers, right? When you when you run a business, you can't assume that your competitor is not going to take your customer. And the reality is, with social media, I can get so close to your customers so fast, it will make your head spin. Right. So if that's a lof, professional services, especially because professional services, they make their money by selling their knowledge. So if I'm a, if I'm a lawyer, or an accountant, and I get close to your customers on social media, and I start publishing articles and writing posts, and I give you, I call it an aha moment, that's when your customer says, I'm not going to stick with this guy who I never talked to, I never hear from him. He's never given me any value. Unless I'm paying him $500-800 an hour. I'm gonna go with this guy. Because he's always top of mind, you know, I see I even though I'm not talking to him directly, I'm getting the Cust I'm getting his his information through my social media feed. And he's given me aha moments. And I all I have to do is I really, I don't have to do anything, if I just click on this, and I like it. You know, or maybe he's got something in here that I can click through. And it's going to, I'm going to be able to download a little bit of information. And like, I know, I'm going to be able to reach out to him and get him through LinkedIn or have your, your done for your done for you've got no defense to that. Right. And that's, that is the power of social media, we can get so close so fast. And, and what's powerful is, even though it's tech, technologically enabled, it's not technology, technology driven. It's actually relationship driven, value driven. So it's not like I'm getting close to your customer and I'm not delivering value, it's because I'm delivering value that the customer is like I like this guy and I I know they I can also create the feeling how many people you know, are follow the celebrities on social media, just as an example. And they're following the celebrity the celebrity is given them so much of their life, they feel like they know them. So let me tell you that all the time people come up to them in the street as if they know them, because they've seen so much of their of the person's life on social media, with, we can create that we can create rapport using social media, we can create a closeness, that if you're not doing it, to protect your customers to build your own relationship with your existing customers, someone will take them.
Steve Brown 20:22
Wow. So if you're watching on YouTube, you're watching a great conversation with Lenwood Ross, his company is Accelery, accelery.com, or if you're listening on Vurbl, you're missing a great conversation on the video. Okay, so social selling is on your, your website, and I love that term. Okay. And, and so this is a part of the conversation on the ROI online podcast where I like to ask maybe three or four or five little questions, a couple of minutes answers, but these are topics that people are really want to know about. What is social selling compared to social media?
Lenwood Ross 21:09
Sure. social selling is really, and I really should call it strategic social selling, because it's using a, a defined process, a defined methodology for building relationships, and turning those relationships into commercial interaction. It's specifically for selling even though you don't, you don't The last thing you want to do is sell. You know, that's the last thing, you know, it's sort of a misnomer, because we call it social selling. I didn't call it that. But that's what it's called. But really, that's the last thing that you want to do is sell. You don't want to we call it connect and pitch. Right? This is the disaster that we see going on on social media all the time is I connect with you. And in that connection, I pitch you, that is the antithesis of relationship building. No. Nobody wants to be sold ever. Nobody wants to be sold. So we have to go through a process. The thing about that is that with strategic social selling, we can do, we can go through the process of building our network and developing relationships at scale, we can do it with 1000s of people 10s of 1000s of people simultaneously, as opposed to if you were involved in a networking group in an analogue way, you could only do that with maybe 20 people in your networking group, every once in a while you might have a mixer with another networking group. So you mean like 40 people and a big 40 people. And you know, there's all kinds of friction in the referral process. When you're in a analog physical, right, I got to get this guy to call the next guy to and he's got to remember Oh, Linwood does this. And you know, it's all this friction, to make the referral happen to make the recommendation happen. With social media, those things happen frictionlessly easily. If somebody is in my network, and they're my advocate, or champion, and they're liking my content, they're commenting on my comment on their content, I liked it. My visibility is going up, people are seeing me that's frictionless referral friends. That's frictionless. The person has to do nothing other than, like, it's a click or a quick comment, and vice versa. So, you know, that's very different from what we typically see, which is just tactical people just throwing up a post and being like, Oh, you know, nothing happened. Or this has, you know, how does this add value this person's birthday party, or whatever it is, you know what I mean? There's no that's that's sort of like aimless social media stuff.
Steve Brown 24:19
So what's your answer to what is social selling the inbound way?
Lenwood Ross 24:24
social selling the inbound way is it's really a function of the technology platforms. And they each one works differently. Okay, so we use them differently. But let's just talk about the primary two for for professional business, which would be Twitter and LinkedIn, although Facebook is very useful as well, but it works very differently. creating content and having that car 10 amplified when I say amplified, I simply mean that if someone likes your content, or they comment on your content, sometimes referred to as engage, they engage with your content, their network then sees your content. So that's, that's one way. And then the other way is especially on LinkedIn is, the more people view your content, like and comment your content, the algorithm will move your content out, you'll see sometimes you might get four or 500 views, sometimes you might get 10,000 views. What happens when your content moves out is people see it, and they say, I have that problem, or that's speaking to me. This is, when we're creating content for an audience, we're creating content with a purpose. When they do that, then they come to you. They come to your profile, they look at what you do, and then they and then you can active when they do that you're getting information, right? I can see everybody who looks at my profile. I now that's inbound to me. Now I can engage with that person, I can say, Hey, thanks for stopping by my profile. I don't know what caught your interest or what caught your interest. I saw that you do X, Y, and Z, let's connect. I'd love for you to join my community. Right. So that's how we get people coming to us. You'd like
Steve Brown 26:46
that answer. So what would you say are the four pillars of social selling?
Lenwood Ross 26:51
Sure. Number one is social presence. Okay. I don't I certainly you know, until I I will say people, I think most people don't realize whether you are intentional about it or not, you have a social presence. The question is whether that social presence is going to be working for you, or working against you. Okay, you have a social presence. So if you have a LinkedIn profile, for example, and it's incomplete, and there's no picture, it's working against you. Because if you're selling something, or you have a business, one of the first things that people will do is go and look your LinkedIn profile up. So we can craft a social presence that will make people want to like you and get to know you. social presence is number one. Number two is network, the larger your network, the more opportunities you're going to have. So you really need to constantly be building your network. Okay. But you want to be strategic about that you it's not just numbers. Because if you have 20,000, people who don't care about what you do, or what you have to say, it will be meaningless. And I see people on, I saw a guy on on LinkedIn, I was researching. And this guy had, like 200,000 followers, putting out content every day, no engagement, that told me that he either use some kind of automation or some kind of something to get all these followers that don't care about what he's writing about. Because you I don't know how you have that many followers. And I mean, literally, he had like one like, with, like, 100. And I think was like 178,000 followers. That's, that's ridiculous. So anyway, that's not going to do you any good. So you want to be you want to basically be crafting a network that turns into a community over time. Okay, so that's number 2/3. Thing is engagement, right? We want to engage with people, and we want people engaging with us. And there are things that we can do to make that happen. And the fourth thing, this is the foundational underlying thing, you need this. And there's two forms. It's content.
You got to have content.
Everybody needs content.
Steve Brown 29:39
Oh, I just want to have a website and use your social media posts, you know about my dog and then run some ads. And that's enough. That's all I want. No,
Lenwood Ross 29:47
no, no, hey, the beauty of this thing called content and the what I will call the democratization of content, anybody can create it right. I can Create, the beauty of it is that you can now get your viewpoint your message out. Okay? So if you're somebody that has something to say, this is like the goose that laid the golden egg, because now the unique selling selling proposition is you. So if you have even if you know, I tell people this all too I use the content. That might sound bad, but it's called sharing. I share content as well as create original content, okay, taking things that I've learned, and I'm formulating my own opinions about it, and I write an article or blog about it, or even when I post the piece that I write myself, that's original to me, but I take the content that the big Deloitte PwC, Harvard Business Review MIT, I take that content, and I share that, but I don't just share it, like, oh, here's their stuff. I always put what I think about that. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't, this piece is more important than that piece. And that's how I add value. That's how I build my reputation. And this is a guy's it's an insightful person. And I don't necessarily have to read this article now. So those are the four pillars, I would say, of social media. And that last piece is so important, man, whoo.
Steve Brown 31:50
Great answers. If you're watching on YouTube, we're breaking it down. Then would Ross on the ROI online podcast, I'm Steve Brown, your host. And if you're listening on verbal, this is a great conversation, you need to tell your friends about it because Linwood knows his stuff, if you're searching and like you're wanting to know how can I really get my act together online? You need to be checking it salary.com out. So Linwood, yes. Where did you get this? You know, we've had to work to get you to kind of come out of your shell, share your thoughts and your energy? Do you get your energy from your mom or your dad?
Lenwood Ross 32:39
I would, I don't know, I I'm going to say that I got my energy from God, because I will tell you that my dad was like too much energy for my dad. And my mom was sort of just sitting back and like enjoying the show. Right. So, yeah, so I would say, you know, it's just, I don't know, it's it's more like a little bit more fun that way. A little bit more energy.
Steve Brown 33:03
So you talked about being the left holding the bag with Yeah, yeah. How are things now we resolved that
Lenwood Ross 33:11
things are, um, you know, things are a little bit better. Yeah, definitely. I mean, that that was a hard thing to overcome. So it took it definitely took a while. But you know, forgiveness is freeing for the forgiver. It's very important for the person who's forgiving, more so than the person who's being forgiven. Oftentimes, the person who's being forgiven doesn't even see they did anything wrong. Hmm. Right. That's so so forgiveness is is really all about the person who's doing the forgiving.
Steve Brown 33:49
So, what was like the biggest business lesson you learned from that phase of your life?
Lenwood Ross 33:57
biggest business lesson I learned, you have to be very careful about your partnerships, who you go into business with, you know, really, you know, if you are you know, I'm a Christian. And so I take my cues from biblical values, right? And there are some people that display biblical values. They don't really know their biblical. They just, they don't know that's what they're doing. But you can use that book as a really good guide for character. Right? That is a great way to assess you know, people's values. And you got to just be very careful about that.
Steve Brown 34:48
Wow. Excellent. So on your accelerate Comm. You have some classes tell us about. You have several choices at for sure. So tell us What are they? Who are they for? Sure.
Lenwood Ross 35:03
So, um, I, the I have a class on there, that's a what I call a Foundation's course, that's basically about social presence. And anyone can take that course, it's especially targeted to folks who are interested in taking one of the longer courses. So they can see not only the quality of the content, but also they can see the platform that we use, which is a really powerful collaborative learning experience platform. The reason we use that platform is that it's been scientifically proven to increase engagement. And engagement is going to increase retention, what we need to have happen here is a very rapid change in behavior. social selling is more about the people than it is about the technology. So we've got to get you doing some different things in order to make that work. So we've invested in this collaborative learning experience platform, then I have different ways that I can deliver this program, I can deliver to a small group of 10, using the platform I can deliver to larger groups, you know, 2030, and then, you know, massive groups, you know, 1000s of people where we really have to craft a pro whole program. So it basically the different programs are just for different size organizations or different situations, depending on how I like to craft the program to the organization, and what they want to achieve. So I'm curious, like, I'd love to hear a success story. Tell us some before and after. Okay, sure. So we had a client that had an basically no pipeline, they had no, they're there, their marketing wasn't working. And so and this is mid mid pandemic. marketing's not working. And they really just had no idea what they were going to do. We showed them what they needed to do, which they were trained and coached. And at the end of the day, they ended up killing all of their paid advertising, because this delivered so much more in terms of the inbound activity than what was delivered through the paid advertising. It didn't even make it and that that is true. We have partners around the world. I'm part of a group called DLA Ignite. And we see that, you know, all in we see that in Europe, we see that out west, everywhere, people canceling their paid advertising because of ad fraud. I don't know how many how much people know about AD fraud, but there's a lot of ad fraud out there. It just doesn't deliver what you need. And this is so much more powerful. So much more powerful.
Steve Brown 38:34
It's evergreen to Oh, yeah.
Lenwood Ross 38:37
I mean, I won't I won't even get into that. But there's, there's Okay, I'll just very briefly. Okay, when you are developing, when you develop relationships with your customers, and you're in constant contact with them, and you're listening to them, what happens is they begin to reveal problems, their ongoing problems to you, and then you can take that and shape solutions for them. That's the that is the the Evergreen aspect of this. You can use your using social as a way to know your customers better and develop new syst solutions for them.
Steve Brown 39:27
Then when you Your, your excellent guests.
Lenwood Ross 39:31
Thank you very much.
Steve Brown 39:33
This is fun. So I like to ask them when what's like one question I didn't ask that you would have loved to answer.
Lenwood Ross 39:39
Oh, that's good. That's good. We've covered so much. We even covered my collaborative learning experience, right? I didn't know what I didn't know that we would get into that. But that would that's one. That is it's a very it's a unique it's part of what we do. That's very unique. There is no other social selling organization in the world with this platform. And that means that we can get better outcomes. And we can. We haven't done it yet. But we can manage with very large organizations. Yeah. So
Steve Brown 40:23
excellent. been an excellent guest Linwood,
Lenwood Ross 40:26
hey, before we go, I want to I do have something for your audience.
Steve Brown 40:33
Lenwood Ross 40:35
Wait, there's more. But wait, there's more. If you go to S, accelerate ACC, e l e, r y.com. Forward, forward slash ROI online. There is a takeaway there. It's called five steps for your social for, I'm sorry for a likeable social presence, five steps for likeable social presence without saying a word. So I go through five steps, five things that you should do to make your social presence more likeable.
Steve Brown 41:19
Awesome. That's a great value, I'm going to be the first one to download that. So how can people reach you connect with you work with you?
Lenwood Ross 41:29
Hey, so when you go and get that a salary, I'm gonna ask you for your LinkedIn URL. So you can give me your LinkedIn URL, but I don't want your email because I don't I don't want to get email. And I don't think anybody else wants any more email. Jessica, connect with me on LinkedIn. You can also just look me up on LinkedIn. If you just want to connect with me on LinkedIn, you can do that as well. lenwood lenwood l ENWOD. m. Ross. Okay. That's my name on LinkedIn. And if you type that in, I will come up. You can also, like I said, download this little piece. And, you know, get some help with your social presence.
Steve Brown 42:16
Linwood M. Ross, you've been a great guest on ROI online podcast.
Lenwood Ross 42:22
My pleasure. It's been fun.
Steve Brown 42:25
All right. That's a wrap.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai