It’s only when I travel to hot spots such as Pierron, IL, or Wilmington, DE, or Allen, TX, that I remember I live in San Francisco. You know — the city where you can walk down one street and decide  whether you are going to have  Burmese, Ethiopian, Japanese, or Spanish tapas for dinner.

But food isn’t all that is booming in my town. The social media sales hub was born this week in San Francisco: InsideView’s first conference on social selling. I was also honored with making the top 25 List of Influential Leaders in Sales.

Koka Sexton, InsideView’s Social Media Strategist, leads the LinkedIn Social Selling University group. He knows a lot about social selling — especially since his background is in sales.

Koka assembled a panel to talk about the 9 Social Selling Tools You Should Not Go Without, and I was super curious to find out what these were. I travel thousands of Blue state and Red state miles, and everywhere I go I hear what seems like the same middle-aged, overweight, and frustrated VP of Sales say, “I haven’t seen any deals close because of social media. Watching my salespeople ‘work’ on Facebook all day ain’t gonna happen while I’m around!”

He just can’t understand how the social ”How’s it going?” efforts translate into a closed sales deal. He wants to see tangible productivity and revenues generated by social media, and so far he doesn’t

I gently remind him of the reality of social media today: “Your customers are ready to buy – you just have to be there at the right time during the sales cycle to be part of it.

He listens, folds his arms, and challenges me, “Fine. Give me your top 3 social media tools you can’t live without.”

“No problem!” I say. “But remember — it all depends on your target audience, your solutions/products, and the length of your sales cycle. Do you know the proverb of the three wise monkeys –  hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil?”

“Of course,” he says.

“Good. Because I want to use them to explain my 3 top social media recommendations”:

1. Hear no evil: You can make your salespeople chief listening officers by getting them all a Twitter account. They can stay ahead of breaking news, trends, and discussions, and hear snippets about companies, solutions, and customers.

2. See no evil: Everything is so visual now. My vote is for video, which means that YouTube is where everyone goes to learn, develop, educate, and watch some good or bad presentations. Your team’s retention rate in learning and absorbing will be so much greater if they spend time on YouTube.

3. Speak no evil: In social media, you must be part of the conversation, and LinkedIn drops you right in. This is a forum where you can share your thoughts in group, you can send “inmail” messages to your contacts, and network with peers and prospects. Fewer appointments get cancelled when they are sent through LinkedIn. Real power can be vetted through the LinkedIn profiles, so you know to get out of the No-Po zone fast.

That’s my three, and Koka presented a total of 9. So here are 6 more:

4. Blogs: Have access to thought leaders, studies

5. Facebook: Become a fan, follow, and learn about prospect’s lives

6. InsideView: Give them sales and social intelligence to help them sound relevant

7. SlideShare: A great way to share slide presentations without having having to upload them

8. Timetrade: The best calendaring tool I’ve seen

9.  Pinterest: This online pinboard is gaining lots of traction — it is creative and engaging