You’re a sales professional, so you’re generally concerned about a couple of things when it comes to your professional life: maintaining great relationships with your current portfolio of customers and building that portfolio by reaching new customers through conversion.
Social media is the perfect tool to help build out your ability to perform both of those crucial activities, and you don’t even have to stretch yourself for social media to make a big impact in your sales life.
Social Media and Sales Strategy – Bringing Them Together
The Status Quo
Once a conversion is made, the person who was once a lead is now a customer. Sales professionals want customers to stay customers for as long as humanly possible, and the way you engage with your clients will really influence that factor.
Everyone is using social media in one form or another, and it runs the gamut from almost entirely social (Facebook) to business-focused (LinkedIn). You can utilize social media however fits your personality and availability best, but it’s important that you simply use it.
Why use social media as a sales professional? Because otherwise, you’ll be missed. By missed we mean that, when the time comes, your customers will have no one to contact (or if they do, it’ll be a lot harder than it needs to be). There’s also a chance that another competitor will have a significant enough presence that they’ll start to wonder if they should try someone else.
Social media is also an amazing way to reach out and be proactive with those customers who may respond better to a lively relationship. Engaging via the familiar medium of social media (tweeting, sending messages via Facebook, pinning on Pinterest, or simply actively commenting on blogs) puts your face and the relationship you’ve built with this person into the context of a medium they trust and use on a daily basis. And as a sales veteran, you also understand that it’s crucial to build trust in whatever ways possible.
Gaining ground is a primary activity of any sales pro, but one of the main ways in which a real seasoned veteran gains ground is by keeping his current client roster happy, engaged, and well cared-for. Having an accessible presence online and connecting with your client base via social media is one of the easiest ways to keep that roster happy.
The Sales Funnel
Your presence as a sales professional who is engaged with social media also serves as a sort of permanent calling card that you don’t need to hand out or reprint. It’s always there for anyone who needs it.
How does your social media presence help build your customer base? First, there’s something easy to share. The best marketing is free word of mouth. The best word of mouth isn’t just people talking; it’s people pointing to your presence online, where you control the messaging and can track what’s being seen and how (via retweets, reblogs, likes, shares). With a full social media presence, there’s no ambiguity about what people will see or how they’ll perceive your business.
Second, the same principle holds for new leads as it does for your existing customers. Social media is a great way to develop and build relationships in a medium that already includes a level of built-in trust (what other forum for connecting with customers also could include a recipe shared by your grandmother?). Granted, engaging with new leads at the top of the funnel will take a different form than staying connected with your current customer base but will stretch your presence in very positive ways.
This social media stretching will take the form of reaching further outside your comfort zone; where for your existing customers, you may have commented within your own profile, posts, or other creations, connecting with new customers may require establishing yourself as an expert or personality in other areas like the comment sections of industry blogs or forums frequented by the types of people you want to attract.
Again, the calling card analogy applies. Think of social media as a far more effective form of leaving your business card on the tables at coffee shops. With a social media sales strategy, you’re doing the same thing, but in a way that has a lot more context, meaning, and trust than simply using the medium for free advertising.
For sales professionals, social media serves the same purpose as other sales efforts. It’s about relationship-building and conversation, but in a different format. Make posts. Read and write great profiles. Ensure that you’re available. Leave comments everywhere (but make sure they’re good comments). It’s relatively little effort with a lot of potential impact on your overall sales.