I’m blessed to speak to and train sales forces all over the USA and internationally on a weekly basis on how best to leverage Social Media for lead generation, client acquisition, top of mind awareness and a number of other sales-related functions.
Even after doing this for many years, I am reminded on a daily basis that regardless of an individual’s or an organization’s understanding of Social Media, they better have some very good sales skills. I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs and small business owners (and large organizations, too) have an incredible product or service but they aren’t getting the traction they should in the marketplace.
Without blaming the economy or any other number of things, which are all really excuses, the bottom line is that they and/or their people better be sharpening their sales skills just as much as they’re sharpening their Social Media skills.
Here’s a few reasons why:
1) People’s buying habits aren’t the same as they were ten or twenty years ago. They’re doing almost all their research online before the salesperson even knows they’re interested in their product or service. By the time you enter the conversation, they’re just a few steps away from the purchase in many situations. You have a very limited window of opportunity and you better be good at opening the relationship (not “closing the sale”).
2) There are so many options for the buyer. There’s this new thing called the internet. I hear it’s gonna be big. Your subject matter expertise an/or cool widget isn’t a differentiator anymore. Now it’s about adding massive value and leaving digital footprints of happy clients and customers behind you for prospective clients and customers to see. The Social Media Guru’s (and be aware that anyone who calls themselves a “guru” usually does so because they can’t spell “charlatan”) call this Social Proof. I call it reputation. It’s been around since the earth was cooling, only now everyone can see if you’re all hat and no cattle or the real deal.
3) Relationships are everything. Yeah, yeah, I know….everyone’s talking about the value of relationships. But talk is cheap. Show me how you’re building, enhancing and maintaining your relationships with your clients and prospective clients. As we become even more interconnected, relationship selling will become the norm because people don’t want to feel like a number or a prospect. We want to feel special and we’re far more likely to make a purchase because someone we know, like or trust has either bought from us in the past or has had some kind of a favorable experience with us.
I truly believe that there’s never been a better time to be a professional salesperson. But it’s gonna get harder and harder to be an amateur salesperson. The wheat and the chaff are being separated. Think of the 80/20 rule and then realize that it’s really more of a 95/5 rule. It’s high cotton in every direction when you marry great sales skills with great Social Media skills. Now go add massive value. There’s people out there who need your help.