When I was manging sales teams and being subject to receiving much sales training, I was very aware that a good sales person has to be a very good active listener and less concerned with the sound of their own voice.
One of the trainers always said God gave you two ears and one mouth he must have been telling you something.
So whilst most people thing a good seller has the gift of the gab that is definitely not the case. They must be listening for problems to which they have a solution and then be able to position that solution in the context of solving the problem/s and nothing more.
Most inexperienced / unsuccessful sellers tend to over sell by focusing on features they want talk about rather than the required benefits they bring to solve problems.
So when I am asked what are the tangible benefits that I see from Social Media I refer back to this basic principle and say that Social Media has the power to do what a good seller does by nature but to a much larger market. Rather than develop Word-of-Mouth one person at a time, if used properly it can do this en masse.
So the keys to Social Media Marketing are providing the tools to listen, share, participate and understand and this can be done quickly to many. While now, as with the unsuccessful peddler of products, there should be less emphasis on talking, selling, marketing and advertising. These are all time consuming and resource hungry activities that also move people towards you slowly and cautiously.
Social Media can develop all the right attention quickly if used properly while the traditional approaches to advertising, marketing and selling are much slower and much less convincing.
Its all about storytelling and explaining to engage, converse and ultimately convert. The art of the explainer, teacher, story teller is a real key. The ability to explain complex topics simply and quickly in a world where we are drowning in irrelevant information is a real art. Common Craft and their simple videos are but one great example of this simplistic approach that is needed these days.
Among the simple and easy to use tools that can help you to Listen are Google News/Alerts/Reader, Blogs, and the Twitter Search features and supplementary tools. Twitter in many ways is a better Search Engine than Google, because it looks real time at what is being said about a topic to return instant and up to the minute results.
For sharing there is RSS, Facebook, LinkedIn Groups and of course Twitter.
While to speed up the process and cross boundaries when sharing info there are many tools. I use Ping.fm to instantly update my “what am I doing/interested in/got to say/want to know about in Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn etc. I do so instantly with one message using Ping.fm. And I can add a link in a Twitter style message by shortening the link using TinyUrl or other similar tools.
So we can practice professional salespersonship these days in bulk by smart use of Social Media and get fast results.