How social media fits in to the sales cycle

Posted by Matthew Parker

Have you heard of an earth-inverting horticultural implement?

You may not realise it, but many people talk about these regularly. It’s just that they use much simpler language.

An earth-inverting horticultural implement is simply fancy language for a spade!

We often over-complicate things for no reason

The sales process is no exception. I have seen many people turn the sales cycle into a series of extremely involved processes. I have seen all sorts of fancy flow charts. They use language that no sales person would use in real life.

social-media-strategy-printing-sales

A social media strategy doesn’t need to be complex

Successful sales consists of just three steps

  • Find prospects
  • Engage prospects
  • Convert prospects

When it comes to making new sales, these are the only activities that the sales person should be carrying out.

So where does social media fit into these three steps?

Social media works very well in two of these steps. It is an extremely powerful way to find prospects. Used correctly, it is also a very effective tool to engage prospects.

Here are the four specific activities that are necessary to create successful sales in social media:

To find prospects it’s important to create the right profile and connect successfully.

To engage with prospects it’s important to gain their interest and also to move prospects to the sales funnel (which is outside of social media).

Understand that, in business-to-business sales, social media is rarely the place to make the sale

When it comes to actually shaking hands on a deal, this is usually best done outside social media channels.

Sales people that understand how social media fits in to the sales process have an opportunity to control a powerful sales pipeline. They can use social media to build close prospect relationships. Social media will help them achieve their sales goals.

However, I see many sales people actually driving prospects away through mis-using social media

Some people believe that social media is a route to instant sales. They seem to believe that social media allows them to ignore the normal sales cycle. Instead, they approach their prospects with aggressive sales pitches. They act as if they were trying to book work on a first cold call.

If you try and sell aggressively on social media you will put your prospects off dealing with you.

So what’s the point of social media if it doesn’t make sales?

Social media is only part of the sales process. Used correctly, it will help you create a powerful pipeline of warm prospects.

This is an extract from my forthcoming online self-study course “How To Sell Print Using Social Media” which launches in mid-September, price $139
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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.

Download your free copy of “10 Social Media Rules For Print Sales People” right now

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