Three reasons why social media should be a key part of your sales activities

Posted by Matthew Parker

We live in a world of change

Incredible as it may seem, the first mobile phone call made in the UK happened as recently as 1985. Nowadays it is unthinkable that a sales person would be able to operate with out a mobile phone.

LinkedIn launched in May 2003. Twitter started up in March 2006. Google Plus only went live in June 2011.

For many sales people, social media networks such as these are as important as a mobile phone. They would not achieve the same sales results without these networks. Social media is now a vital sales channel.

Here’s why sales people should embrace social media as a key sales channel

social-media-selling-print

LinkedIn is only 11 years old. But it is now a great way to improve print sales

They will find a route to creating great prospect relationships. Even before they pick up the phone, the sales person will often find that they have created interest from a prospect. That means sales people are in a position to control a powerful sales pipeline. They will have a much greater opportunity to achieve both their sales and personal goals.

Sales people who ignore social media will often have to work much harder to achieve the same sales pipeline. They will not have control over the same opportunities to find new prospects. They will also have to work harder to create the same level of prospect relationship earlier on in the sale.

Here are three reasons why social media is so important in sales today.

Social media is a great way to find new prospects

Sales people traditionally used telephone directories as their major route to contacting prospects. Social media has offers you a route to contacting many more people. It usually gives you much fuller details of each person, as well as more ways to contact them

Best of all, social media allows you to carry out extremely targeted searches. You know you will be contacting people who are exactly the sort of prospect that you are looking for.

However, I see many people using social media as a prospect database and nothing more. That is a serious error. There is much more that can be achieved with social media. Here’s the next one.

Social media allows you to engage with people

Traditional outbound selling relies on people being interested enough (and having enough time) to take your call. If you contact them at the wrong time, the chances are that a prospect won’t be prepared to talk to you. That often means the end of the sales approach.

As we will find out later, social media is not about hard selling. Instead you have an opportunity to create a relationship with your prospect. You can take time to get to know each other. With the right activity you can create a warm prospect: someone who is keen to receive your sales approach.

Naturally, you still need to be able to have a prospect who will accept your initial approaches. That’s another area where social media is at an advantage.

Social media is a great way to get to talk to prospects

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Social media can be a great way to start off real-time conversations

Many people are much happier to engage on social media than they are through other channels. I have heard countless stories of sales people who had been blocked by prospects every time they tried to call them. However, these prospects also connected instantly on social media.

Social media is often a route to engaging with people who will not communicate n other ways.

Here’s an example of how social media won me a surprise sale

I was recently contacted by a prospect through twitter. To be honest, I hadn’t really registered that I was connected to this person. But it turned out that he had been following my social media feeds keenly. He was interested in what I was saying on social media and wanted to find out more about the opportunities of working with me.

He is now a valued client of mine. I had to do very little traditional sales work to convert him from a prospect to a client. The right social media activity had done all the work for me. It was a very easy sale.

If a sale is this easy on social media, some of you now may have an important question to ask.

Does this mean that traditional sales methods are dead?

It is important to remember that social media is simply an extra tool in the sales toolbox. It’s an important one, and I would encourage you to dedicate some time to it. However, you should certainly not adopt it as your only route to sales.

It takes a fair amount of time to nurture prospects through social media. It definitely is not an instant route to new sales.

You will also realise that not all your prospects will be keen on social media. It is necessary to use all sales channels for maximum success.

But, as the world continues to change, there will be fewer and fewer prospects who are not connected on social media. Social media will take a more and more important role in the sales world.

That’s why it is so important to start learning now to sell using social media correctly.
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PS Find out some of the strategies that I use to sell successfully using social media. Download this free e-guide. You’ll also be signed up to  “Views from the buyer” where I share tips, stories and resources to do with selling print and social media.

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