Written by David Mattson
The explosion of social media has created lots of new opportunities for your company when it comes to sales prospecting. Utilizing the tools available to you can expand your business and be a source of continuous lead generation. Or it can cause a very embarrassing publicity nightmare. Here are five rules you should follow to cash in on social media opportunities and become a successful sales professional:
Rule #1: Never Miss A Chance To Connect and Inform. Social media is not a replacement for active cold calling, but your pages can work in conjunction with this method to reach more people. If you are not reaching out to people on social media and finding out if your product is a good fit for their needs, you are missing key opportunities. While you may want to adjust your pitch to become more of a conversation on social media, you should be using it for the same purpose as cold calling: See if their problems match your solutions. This is the most basic first step in the sales process. If they are not in need of your services, they aren’t going to want to hear a ten-minute pitch on why your product is great. Simply reaching out to potential leads on social media and starting a conversation will give you a better idea of if your product will fit their business needs.
Rule #2: Let The Data Work For You. Use social media for data mining. By using your pages for sales prospecting, you gain valuable insights into customer demographics. Social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, are great tools for lead generation. This is the over-sharing era, and sales professionals can use this to their advantage. There are filters available for social media sites that will narrow your audience according to age, gender, and many other categories. This gives you the ability to focus more closely on your clients and target customers more specifically.
Rule #3: Research Competitors to Learn Weaknesses and Gain Insights on How You Can Improve Customer Experiences. Many customers take to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to provide feedback on their user experience. If you are not looking at your competitor’s social media pages on a regular basis, you are missing out on learning their business weaknesses. And by having an understanding of those weaknesses, you are able to highlight your strengths and meet needs that the competitors can’t. This also gives you another way of sales prospecting to an already targeted customer. If they are not happy because of their experience with your competitor, tell them how you can do it better!
Rule #4: Get Involved In The Process! Social media gives your business the ability to have open conversations with customers and address any potential issues. These sites are a two-way informational street, and while many businesses may focus on churning out more and more content, you need to be ready to talk openly with your clients. You need to listen to what your customers have to say about you. Having an open conversation with customers through social media is a great way to humanize your business. Answer their questions and concerns, thank them for their feedback, and let your sites be an active place for informative discussions. By talking to the customers directly, you can learn what sales strategies are working best, and which you should leave behind.
Rule #5: Don’t Leave Out The Call To Action! Prospects need to learn the next steps in the purchase process. Without giving them a call to action, they won’t know what to do with the information you have provided. Make sure you have step-by-step information available that is easy to identify. If potential clients are in any way confused by your social media sites, it will most likely mean they will look in other places for answers. And that could be leading them directly to your competitors.
Social media is a great device for sales professionals to utilize, but doing it improperly can be a waste of valuable selling time. It should not be the only platform you use for reaching out to sales leads. Cold calling is still an important and useful tool in the sales industry, and should be used in conjunction with social media, instead of replacing it completely. If you follow these tips to improve your lead generation process, you will discover that social media marketing is an invaluable tool to sales professionals in all fields.
If you’re tired of trying to learn new sales strategies and techniques but don't seem to improve your bottom line, read our sales guide "Why Salespeople Fail".
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