Image via Flickr: Cambodia4kids.org
‘Social’ is the art of connecting, interacting, and engaging in a since. I like most others appreciate this broad definition of SOCIAL or in this discussion ‘Social Communication’…
So, with that being said, let’s talk about a less fashionable “S-word”: SALES.
As mentioned previously in many of my other posts, the new era of communication, engagement, sharing quality content, combined with the new social media approach makes ‘SALES’, along with its partner ‘SELLING’, a word(s) many people and organizations have started to discuss removing from the dictionary. Well maybe not that extreme but check out this article which seems a little contradictory since the author points out that social media can help with customer service, engagement and marketing (i.e. are these not part of the sales process anyway, so why not selling through these in the social space?)
Needless to say, whatever your viewpoint is of sales or selling online (i.e. through social media) almost every business (big or small) have/has to use these social medians now a days to make money, while promoting, networking, and marketing… I think others would refer to these along the lines of brand recognition, huh? Furthermore, believe it or not there are quite a few ways that you can insert yourself or business in this space in order to boost your reputation and/or revenue, while not disrespecting the developing social world, which I think is what most people are really talking about here. Yes?
In fact, I have identified a couple of techniques for you and or your team to use, so you can take advantage of engagement, networking, and referrals in the new social world.
The art of knowing everything you can about a particular product, service, and/or target market is just that… an art without proper evaluation of your network or your potential prospects. With all the online resources available to you/your business, you now have the ability to target just about anyone or any company anywhere for your ideal sale pitches… well this is assuming that you or your organizational leaders have used these tools before and you have them available to create detailed social accounts for your growth plans. If not try developing/development in this/these simple steps:
Create some saved searches based around keywords relevant to your business (Google is a good place to start, after all who doesn’t ask the Google Gods for just about everything?):
- Your product/service offerings
- Your company and competitors name(s)
- Your and other related industry sector(s)
Basically, what I am saying here is that you need to search and develop ideas or anything that reflects on you and/or your business acumen, which offers you the best ability to engage with people who are showing an interest in creating offers you may be considering promoting yourself. Let us also not forget about some other key components in selling.
- Listen and/or listening! Perhaps this is the most important part of any sales pitch but one in which many people ignore because most salespeople are tempted to jump straight to the sale in fear of rejection or needing a sale now. Whether you are in person or online remember not to take over a conversation or hijack a comment stream just for a sale, as this more times than not turn’s people off especially if you are complaining about your brand or another person or company. Instead feed people (prospects) information backed up by quantitative research in order to engage, add value, and educate people or companies in order to grow relationships that will lead to long-term partnerships and ultimately more sales and referrals- (this was a big part of my dissertation, so please email me if you would like more information on this).
- After you have identified people and other businesses of interest, try assigning some sort of “lead/prospect rating” in order to categorize the who, what, and when of first contact in your networking strategy.
Lastly, keep records of your data, findings, and future plans for all new or potential sales leads, in your CRM system. If you don’t have a CRM it is about time you put away all the Excel spreadsheets and bought a program such as ACT or subscribed to another system such as Sugar, Salesforce, Zoho, etc if you want to really take on SALES in the new Social CRM world.
“Going viral is not an outcome; it’s a happening. Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn’t. Just remember, fans are vanity and sales are sanity.” Lori Taylor (@lorirtaylor)
Now once you have identified, rated, and perhaps even already engaged a person or business of interest about your product or service stop a minute and think about a few other things:
- Depending on what social sites you are part of Facebook, Twitter, FourSqaure, EmpireAvenue, Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, etc you need to start or continue to reach out and join other people or companies conversations who are talking about you, your product, service, or other similar products or services in order to showcase to others why they need you or why you or your company can add value to their life or future business plans.
- Have you ever heard of the old saying… plan the work and work the plan? Well, this holds true online also as after you have planned your networks of engagement, you need to work your leads in order to nurture future sales. If possible let others start and drive the conversation (i.e. a great site(s) for this are LinkedIn or Quora), while you listen (remember this was spoken about earlier?) for the right opportunity/opportunities to add value to that conversation. Remember IT’s NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!
Lastly, do not forget that in this new age of communicating and engaging that the customer is not 100% of the time correct but do remember that if you engage properly, while showcasing your skills that you can gain more control even over the most pesky customers. Perhaps you may also want to check out this article out about the shifting customer landscape, as it illustrates and highlights some things (tools) customers use now a days as they communicate (good or bad) online.
“Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially…just be yourself! Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.”Susan Cooper (@buzzedition)
3. Now Get Social and Sell
After you have joined other networks and conversations, as well as engaging with others, it is now your chance to get social and start your own conversations. Remember that social media is a two way dialogue that starts with the construction of networks and builds into relationships that you and even your entire team can use to build target messages, which
- Invite their own comments on particular topics thus building other(s) interest, potentially creating new customers especially if those who engage share with others in their network(s)
- Take the time to share company news, highlights, and goals regularly whether they are about you, an industry, or other relevant sector
Image via Flickr: Fredrick Md Publicity
Don’t forget to develop a personal face or avatar that is the face of you or your business!
“People want to do business with you because you help them get what they want. They don’t do business with you to help you get what you want.” Don Crowther (@don_crowther)
Now Go Get’em
If you use some if not all of these tips in developing your network, you, and your sales team will be light years ahead of others that still have not decided to take a social ‘online’ approach to selling. If you have or are considering a CRM system? Stop that nonsense already and get your CRM in check and take your socialCRM and sale efforts to a new level by combing them into one approach. If I can help you or your business please drop me a line or if you have any comments, please feel free to comment below. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and until next time KEEP SMILING!
David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven] and a Contractor at [FedEx]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via his About.Me Page or any of his other social platforms.