So, you’ve finally heard enough about social media. You’re to the point you actually think you might be missing something. You might even be hearing whispers around the sales floor that this might be some of the top producers’ secret weapons to grab a few extra wins every month.
I’m glad you took the initiative to be here. We’re going to do a little equalizing.
You’re going to learn some of the basics of social media. However, much more importantly we’re going to show you how to get value from it immediately–long before you’re a guru.
Why try social media?
Okay, not quite convinced this is going to be worth your time to figure out? Let’s take a little walk down memory lane and talk about sales history.
Back in the day it all started with carrying a bag and walking door to door, getting a foot in the door, showcasing the product, and selling belly-to-belly at the kitchen table. (Notice all of our cliches come from old school sales).
Then things changed a bit. We started to send sales letters, picked up the telephone for a little cold calling, and blasted a few emails to stay top of mind. That’s right, we took a few marketing tricks to help us cover our prospects and sales pipeline a little more thoroughly and efficiently.
Social media is the next trick for personal lead generation. Think of it as the new telephone and the email of the future. Believe it or not surveys show that youngsters under 20 never use email–it’s Facebook or text message if you want to pull their chain.
7 Reasons salespeople should be using social media
Enough coaxing, you either want to learn this or you don’t. Here are 7 specific ways social media is going to immediately improve your sales process:
1. People hang out on social media
The fact of the matter is that millions of people are now congregating on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and hundreds of other social networking sites to stay connected and share ideas. If you’re in sales, why would you hang out on the Internet alone? (It’s kinda like eating alone).
2. Social media stitches the fabric of referral networks
In the real (physical) world it is really hard to refer business. When someone hears a friend ask, “Do you know a good…” You have to recall the name of the great person you used, search around for a crumpled business card or a scribbled down number, and then you need to get it back to the person who asked the question. Most often these referrals don’t happen–in social media these friends just search the profiles of their Facebook friends and connect to the expert.
3. Trust is already inherent in social networking
Normally when we find people on the Internet or an advertisement for a service we start skeptical. Will they treat me right? Do they care about my business? Will they screw me over? There’s none of that in social media. If you’re in my social network and my friends vouch for you–that’s good enough to get started.
4. You can spot opportunities without cold calling
Cold calling is hard work. You have to break through the firewall and then start peppering the prospect with questions to see if there is a fit. Incorporating social media into your sales process lets you do most of the pre-qualification of a lead long before any call is made or email sent. Just read their profile and content. Is there a reason to do business, or not?
5. If you’re connected, referring to yourself is much easier
Outside of social networks you rarely refer to someone you’ve never used. It’s too much of a risk and you probably don’t even know about these people and their services, unless it pops up in a random conversation with friends. However in social media you can search for great people to refer to by seeing who your friends are endorsing, referring, and raving about. So, there are many times with social media you may get referrals and endorsement from people you’re never even met.
6. Social media makes finding the right angle a snap
Starting a conversation is the hardest part of sales. What will trip their trigger? What is their burning objective right now? How can I make them a hero in their own company? These are the questions we love to know the answer to–they make getting an executive’s ear easier. Interestingly enough managers and executives talk about these things all the time in their social networks, using them like advisory networks. And it’s all there for you to read and plan the perfect angle of attack.
7. You are going to find things you never thought you had
Here’s my favorite. One of the first steps in signing up with a social media or networking website is to automatically load in your address book. You will be floored by how many of your friends, colleagues, and prospects are already in the social media channel–instant ins and referral networks.
As you can see social media is not necessarily about engaging and Twittering all day. It’s about observing, listening, and searching for folks that need your products and services.
Then you can use all the user-generated chatter to guide you in the right approach to doing some of your traditional sales stuff–like cold calling, emailing, or even belly-to-belly selling.