Just because you’re full of enthusiasm for your new social media training for executives, it doesn’t mean that all of your leaders are. Even if your program leader’s do a great initial job of getting buy-in from leadership for your program, there will still be some that raise objections throughout training or coaching.
From the typical “I’m too busy” and “I’m too shy” to even “I want to move away from social media” (yes, we’ve had that one thrown at us!), overcoming leadership objections is a skill that every trainer and coach needs in their arsenal. Especially as leaders are usually more difficult to persuade than others!
We’ve overcome these objections time and again in our executive social media training and coaching programs and trained teams to do the same internally. So we thought we’d share the best ways of doing so. In this blog you’ll discover:
- The typical social media motivations that each type of executive leader will have (and the ones they’re not bothered by)
- The importance of scratching under the surface
- How to use the LEAP framework to overcome objections
- 5 common objections to social media coaching (and how to overcome them)
- Our top ”foot in door” tip
Preparation And Techniques To Overcome Social Media Training And Coaching Objections
Whether you’re delivering targeted social media training for executives or one-to-one coaching for each leader, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself for the objections you face. It goes without saying that you can always dig deeper with one-to-one coaching but you should always make time in any training sessions to get to the bottom of and overcome the real reasons behind any objections.
Understand the typical motivations by role
Before you start any social media training or coaching session, it’s important to understand what each leader’s motivations are likely to be, as these will form the basis of overcoming any objections you face.
While you should always question and dig a little deeper to uncover the true source of objections, you will typically find that executive leaders’ motivations will depend on their roles. You don't only want to focus on the benefits that matter most to them but also remember that what motivates one may be of no interest to another and so it’ll weaken your case to even mention it!
Social Media Motivations By Role
Subject Matter experts:Don’t mention
- Celebrity or popularity
- Deals or close rates
- Do highlight
- Connecting with fellow experts
- Deepening customer relationships
- Strengthening digital influence
- Don’t mention
- Creating their own content
- Engagement with employees
- Do highlight
- Expanding customer relationships
- Prospecting at scale
- Business impact - pipeline, deal sizes and close rates
Divisional Leaders :
- Don’t mention
- Thought leadership
- Engagement with employees
- Do highlight
- Recruiting, engaging and retaining talent
- Deepening relationships with their team
Scratch Under The Surface
One of the most common objections you’ll hear from executives is that they simply don’t have the time. (And you would almost be forgiven for holding up your hands and saying, “Fair enough” - they are, after all, the people whose time is probably stretched the thinnest!)
But objections like these are often just a surface level objection - or in other words, they’re an excuse that’s masking a deeper objection.
When someone tells you they’re too busy, for example, what they really mean is that they don’t fully see the value in it. You need to discover the real reason before you can get leaders on board with your social media training for executives.
TIP: Our Build Your Professional Brand Worksheet helps your executives focus on their WHY. If you send it to them before your coaching calls, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to overcome their objections!
Just because you’re full of enthusiasm for your new social media training for executives, it doesn’t mean that all of your leaders are.
One of the best techniques to overcome objections is to Listen, Acknowledge, Explore and Respond.
- Listen: Pay closer attention to what they’re trying to tell you.
- Acknowledge: Clarify what you’ve heard and empathise.
- Explore: Dig deeper. As we’ve seen above, often an objection really masks a motivation issue.
- Respond. Address their concerns. You should now have a much better idea of what their motivations are and what their issue really is to do so in an effective way.
Remember: it’s not your job to convince
The last thing you want to do is drag an executive kicking and screaming into social media training or coaching! When faced with an objection by executives, don’t be afraid to tell them that.
When you do respond, explain that you’re not there to convince them but that you can show them how social media can help them make their job easier.
5 Common Executive Objections To Social Media Training For Executives And How To Overcome Them
You will meet some objections time and again when training or coaching executive leaders for social media, so we’ve outlined how we typically approach these objections. We’ve also thrown in a real spanner of an objection that will stop you in your tracks!
I’ve got a lot on today. Can we cut this short today?
If your executive’s head is somewhere else, they won’t be concentrating and so it’s a waste of your time and theirs. So first ask whether they are sure they want to do this today. If it’s clear they’re not in the right mindset, then offer to reschedule.
If they insist that they do want the coaching session but are stretched for time, then how you respond depends on what you plan to cover in your call.
If you can easily break down the call into different areas, then offer to cover some of that information with a longer coaching call next time. Don’t try to squeeze everything into half the time - it will never work!
I don’t have time
We often find that this objection comes down to time and the illusion that you need to be everywhere all of the time.
A typical response therefore would be to acknowledge that it can be quite time-consuming if you try to tackle it all but your training and coaching is designed to put them in the right place at the right time and focus on the parts that give the most impact in their role.
Then we would end with how social media can help save them time within their day-to-day role and use the knowledge on motivations we have to overcome this. For example, subject matter experts often have to respond to the same customer queries time and again. By turning those answers into blogs or social posts they can build up a bank of knowledge they can refer to in the future to save them time.
I’m too shy/introverted
This is a very common objection to social media training for executives who are with subject matter experts. They often don’t want to be attacked/pulled apart for sharing their technical knowledge and don't feel comfortable being “plastered across social media”. However, we know that their driving motivation is usually furthering their technical knowledge.
If this is the case, then explain how social media isn’t just limited to newsfeeds with vast networks - there are often niche groups on LinkedIn or forums that can help them with their driving motivation of enhancing their technical knowledge.
Show them the groups where technical experts hang out and how their discussions focus on sharing and furthering their technical expertise.
(Or you may find this useful: [INTERVIEW} Two Grumpy Technical Experts’ Journey to Social Media Success.)
I thought I wasn’t allowed to post company information on social media. How do I know what to post/not post?
Your social media policy and guidelines should help anyone in your company understand what they can and can’t share. (If they don’t, they may need a refresh in which case, see our Social Media Policy Template.)
Sometimes people are still reluctant to share company information for fear of getting into trouble. It, therefore, helps to give them a guiding principle: if the information is already on the Ericsson website or social media pages, then it’s okay to share. If you have an employee advocacy platform, then that’s a good place for them to start, as everything in there - whether it’s company news, skills-focused or industry news - is already pre-approved.
What if I want to move away from social media?
This objection requires a lot of empathy and listening! Start by asking why. What’s driving them away from social? It could be a negative comment, a privacy concern or they’re not seeing any results, for example.
Then respond by empathising with their feelings. Perhaps you or someone else in their position also felt the same so tell them you understand. But explain how you can help them overcome this and why others in their position have wanted to.
TIP: Set a mini-challenge
A great way to overcome buy-ins is to set your executives a mini-challenge. Our Coffee Cup Routine is a great mini-challenge to start any social media sceptics on. It gives them a step-by-step guide to building their social media presence in just 10 minutes a day.
Tell them that if they’re still not sure then that’s fine - as you’ve said, you’re not here to pressure anyone into social media coaching. Usually, by the end of the challenge, most executive leaders are enthused to build on the initial momentum they’ve gained from your social media training for executives program.
Overcoming objections can be one of the most difficult aspects of social media training for executives. Once you do have leadership on side, though, that’s when your program starts to deliver the most impact. We, therefore, hope that these tips will help!
Need More Support With Executive Social Media Training?
Why not book a quick call with our Tribe Chief, Sarah Goodall, to discuss our executive coaching, kickstart and training programs?
If you're struggling to activate your executives on social media, book a free 15-min call with our Tribe's Chief, Sarah Goodall.
Pick Sarah's brain and gain some insight into how to start activating your executives on social media.
About Sarah Goodall
Sarah is the founder of Tribal Impact. Her mission is to enable organisations to drive revenue growth via employee social advocacy and digital selling. She's passionate about uniting people and brands together. Mum to 3 little girls. Baker, self-builder and Nespresso coffee drinker.