Monday, August 13, 2012

Utilizing Social Media In Sales - Part I

At the Aug. 8 Erie Sales Club workshop, the group discussed Social Media In Sales. This is the first article in a series highlighting that discussion. The first question asked to the panelists and attendees was: What outcomes are you shooting for when you, as a salesperson, use social media?

Here were some of the answers from the roundtable discussion:
1. Everyone knows people buy from people they know and like. Social media allows you to get to know people and get them to like you on a broad scale.

2. Social media -- namely Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter -- allow you to interact with customers and potential customers more frequently. Instead of only connecting with them during a sales call or by chance at an event, you can connect with them daily on social media. This familiarity makes it easier for you to reach out to each other.

3. You can learn what's important to them -- Facebook is especially good for this. You will have more to talk about during your face-to-face conversations. Social media will also make it more likely for you to get a face-to-face interaction because you know what's important to them.

4. Understand that social media is oftentimes "semi-social interaction," meaning it can lead to more engagement. Getting someone to buy your product or services through a 100% social media interaction is unlikely. Especially for complex sales, you still need to have a one-on-one conversation with the potential buyer.

5. Use social media to listen, learn, understand, and sometimes influence the prospect. Don't start with selling. Don't send a message every four hours saying, "Buy my product! Buy my product!" You wouldn't do that at a cocktail party, would you? Well, then don't do that on social media either.

Panelists for the workshop were Derek Van Slyke of Jameson Publishing, Jim Corley of State Farm Insurance, and Christie Mahany of Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of four leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, VertMarkets, and Howland Peterson Consulting.

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