Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Social Media: A Sales Perspective

I originally wrote this piece from Market Integration's website as:

Social Media - A Salesperson Perspective

posted Aug 23, 2011, 3:51 PM by Stirling Morris   [ updated Dec 12, 2011, 3:12 PM ]


We're all salespeople.  Whether you're a mom trying to explain to your child why practicing good hygiene is important or you're a CEO out to lunch with a new investor prospect, we all have something to sell.  Some of us are really good at it and some of us aren't.  But most of us don't even realize we're selling until our client (or child) agrees or disagrees with whatever we've pitched.

No matter who you are or what you do, social media is a not only a tool for networking but for selling.  Unfortunately, not every company has learned this lesson.  I actually had a General Manager of a sales company in the construction industry once tell me, “Networking must be limited to assure it does not take any time away from selling.”  I don't think he realized the power of social media in sales and networking.

I was asked by a Retail Sales Manager within the same company for advice regarding networking; particularly through social media.  After spending years as a sales / product representative in the construction industry, here are some of the finer points I offered:
  • In addition to joining professional organizations, social media is the key to business relationships for tomorrow to keep you informed when you can't be present or just to stay up-to-date with industry activities
  • Connecting and engaging with individuals and businesses on facebookLinkedin, Google+, and Twitter is vital to a successful, long-term relationship with tomorrow’s customers.
  • Most importantly, actively participating (e.g. joining groups, asking questions and giving answers) is the best way to make social media successful and you potentially seen as a Thought Leader. You can’t just create a social media profile / page and expect customers to come knocking. If people don’t see you engaged, they won’t follow back. And, if you only promote yourself, your business, or your services, you are committing sales suicide and will often be hidden or blocked by your customer's (or potential customer's) social media feeds.
Social Media helps us grow as people by creating interactive dialogue when a phone call or in-person visit or meeting isn't feasible.