I recently read a newsletter from our friends at ZoomInfo and one of the articles was about using social media in the sales realm. We know experts advise us against pushing too hard for the sale, but by using social media, ZoomInfo contends, you can instantly warm cold calls and shorten sales cycles so you never have to be too pushy! Social media is a great way to find new prospects, if you use it right. I thought I would share with you some of ZoomInfo’s insights – They say its starts with your mindset.
“It all boils down to having a strong, passionate desire to help people solve their problems,” social media strategist Debra Bouchegnies told ZoomInsights. “If you feel like your reason for being a sales or marketing person is helping people find solutions to their problems, you will succeed.”
Keep in mind that selling via social media is not about closing a deal. Pushing too hard is a turn off. Instead, social media is about creating relationships and that doesn’t happen overnight. And if I can throw in a few bits about the learning management system (LMS) TOPYX and our eCommerce clients, they love the mix of social and educational; it allows them to truly connect with their customers and keep long term relationships.
Be a resource
An important step in forming social media relationships is to become a resource by participating in conversations.
“Being helpful, without having expectations in return (the “paying it forward” mentality), is one of the best ways to build lasting relationships in social media,” writes Steven MacDonald, founder of the Practical Social Media University.
Search for people talking about problems that you can help with. Participate with answers, suggestions, stimulating questions and (occasionally) a solution your company offers.
“Be a connector,” writes social media consultant Nate Riggs in his “Social Business Strategies” blog. “Listen to what people really need and try to connect them with someone who can deliver it to them, even if it’s not your product or service.”
Potential prospects will begin to think of you as a go-to person, which will pay off in the long run.
In addition to providing answers, Bouchegnies suggests asking thought-provoking questions. Not only will you get noticed by potential customers, the answers might provide you with some useful intelligence about your would-be clients. In TOPYX with our seven levels of collaboration staying in contact, hearing what customers want and need is a huge help for TOPYX eCommerce clients who are always looking for better ways to service their existing customers and find new ones.
From connection to customer
Moving the relationships to the next level requires finesse, patience and persistence.
Bouchegnies advocates the soft sell but said you don’t have to be shy. For example, if you’re engaging in a conversation on Twitter, it’s OK to tweet, “DM me your deets” (“Send me your contact details via Twitter direct message”) so you can follow up. She says also she uses ZoomInfo to research people she’s interacted with so she can follow up.
The most important thing to remember, according to Bouchegnies, is not to “leave things on the table.” She said sales professionals must “use those leads, follow up and keep up on the conversation, not just move on to the next thing.” As in any other context, you need to follow through to form a genuine relationship that will pay off for you both.
Vice President, Business Development