In my ongoing quest to find ways to introduce some tangible sales benefits to business by introducing Social Media I have found much be pleased about. This is because Social Media and good Salespeople have much in common.
Most good sales people already practice many of the things that Social Media relies on Listening, Relationship Management and Referrals. They also rely heavily on Word of Mouth to build reputation and business.
While Social Media goes a long way towards eliminating Cold Calling it does not totally replace real personal relationship building.
When I worked in Sales Management for Dun and Bradstreet Software (the then biggest business software company in the world) the single biggest performance indicators used to assess our salespeople was their performance when dealing face to face with a prospect.
Once a year a sales trainer from the US or UK would accompany every salesperson on a call and asses the key criteria – ability to build rapport, ability to listen for a problem that our products could solve, ability to position our solution and to negotiate access to the power in the organisation in return making the prospect look good.
Failure to deliver would inevitably result in termination.
Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google, in his commencement address to the graduating class of the University of Pennsylvania in May 2009, urged college graduates to step away from the virtual world and make human connections. “Turn off your computer. You’re actually going to have to turn off your phone and discover all that is human around us.”
Even though we can’t replace face to face the right Social Media presence and the right approach to Social Networking can make SalesPeople highly effective.
Joanne Black, No More Cold Calling suggests 3 key areas to focus on
1.Develop a social media strategy: Like a sales plan or a marketing plan, write your social media plan. What is your goal? Who is your audience? What do you want to communicate? Leverage social media as part of your go-to-market strategy. How does your strategy link to your customer’s needs and your business priorities?
2.Establish relationships: Take the time to build your personal connections, pick up the phone and talk to people. Just because you have a name in hand, doesn’t mean you have a relationship.
3.Communicate useful information: Social sites are not for selling. They are for establishing connections, identifying ways to collaborate, and providing value. What tips can you provide? Link to other sites you strongly recommend. Get recognized as the expert and build your web presence. Be a resource.
Great advice that can help Salespeople take Social Media’s value well beyond Conversations, Fans, Blogs, PR, Consumer Driven Feedback, etc to deliver real tangibles to the bottom line …. cost-effective sales results!!