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Sales and Social Networking: thinking it through

Submitted by on Monday, 29 November 2010

Here are some questions: How are you using social networking to help you sell? What are the goods, bads, and uglies.

Do you use it as a vehicle to be introduced to prospects you wish to pursue, via LinkedIn or Facebook? If so, what are you doing and how? What is working and what isn’t? What would you need to have at your fingertips to have more success that isn’t currently available?

Is it a vehicle to get information? To help you close a deal? To develop a relationship? How are you accomplishing this? What sort of success/failure are you experiencing?

What sort of information do you get through social networking/media that is different from just using the web to gather data? How does this information help you sell in a way that directly leads to a closed sale? and is this giving you a much higher close ratio (i.e. not just a one-off big deal, or a few great relationships)? Are you able to help the person develop their buy-in team this way?

If you are using social media to develop relationships, how is this working for you? Is there an appreciable difference in how long it takes you to close with/without a social networking component? How does the ‘trust’ factor bias the new relationship (for good or bad) or is there no/little discernible difference in trust?

Is there an obvious increase in your closed sales, or just an easier way to find those prospects ready to buy, or just a lot more activity? Or is there a diminished number of closed sales as you spend time chasing leads that aren’t buying?

Is there something you could be doing in a new way? Do there need to be different/new technology that would offer more success – i.e. what seems to be missing around capability that would help you have more success?

I believe we’re at the beginning of this field, and we don’t have all of the capability we will eventually have. Do we need templates that will tell us who to speak with, the sorts of conversations we should be having, steps to take? That’s one of my thoughts. Please share yours.

Let’s chat and get a handle on what’s happening, possible, and still needed. And then we can all figure out next steps.

sd

To find out how to best help others decide to connect with you, take a look at my Learning Accelerators to see if any of them can offer you an additional tool kit.

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  • Devorah Winegarten

    I’m loving this discussion already! I use social media in a variety of ways, and I only use Facebook. I don’t twitter or tweet, and I’m always astonished at people who think my life is interesting enough to want to follow it, moment-by-moment.

    I use Facebook a couple of different ways, both personally and professionally. I use the Events page for inviting folks to book signing events I’ve set up for clients. I also set up several “Fans of…” pages for the women whose biographies I’m writing, and encouraged my friends to become fans. Then, when the books come out, I’ll have a page already in place from which to launch book signings, invite guests who are already interested in that particular person.

    I also “run” a do-gooders page on Facebook called “Mitzvah Minyanairres,” where each day I post a different good deed, tie it into a Torah or Talmudic text, and encourage the participants to both do the deed and then report back on what happened (or didn’t happen). What started out as a good idea at Torah study one Friday morning has blossomed into a diligent group of 257 participants, some more vocal than others.

    I also took out an ad on Facebook to promote the MM site, so that I could learn at what price points I need to advertise to reach people and have them sign up. So far, I’ve invested $19.12 in ads over a one month period. It looks like I picked up 3 additional participants, so that’s a little over $6 a person. By far the best advertisement for the site has been the participants themselves. Several invited all their friends to join and the personal invitations have brought in the most participants.

    Some folks joined the site because they saw the posts on their friends’ walls, and were curious, checked it out, and were called to join. For this type of initiative, it makes sense to me that like-minded people have friends with similar values, and the participants themselves would be the best “spokespeople” to invite others.

    I have done an analysis of the members of the group, and interestingly enough, I know only about 30% of the people. Which means there are 160 people who are reading my posts daily whom I have never met and don’t know me. I think this is a terrific way to build and gain credibility with a group of people who represent people from coast-to-coast. I’ve even got folks in Greece, Russia and Nigeria on the list, and the ages range from 13 to 85.

    I can hardly wait to hear the rest of this discussion, that’s my two cents.

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  • sharonthoms

    Hi Sharon, I’ve just started using the list I’ve been collecting across the 3 main social networks, to put into place networking events, that I’ve designed, for helping people network with their piers in their niche. Without the networks, I wouldn’t have been able to develop this.
    I agree with you that we are only at the beginning in this field. Templates for choosing who to speak with, I don’t really feel are necessary, as you can already quite easily find who the influencers are. Eg using # with twitter searches, and FB will tell you who the others are that are similar, to a person, once you have found the first person.
    The sorts of conversations we should be having, and steps to take, to develop the relationship, is a great idea. I am currently trying your methods for selling, and my main problem is knowing when it’s time to try and sell them something. Eg: established there is a problem that requires a solution, I have the solution. I know they have this problem, but they haven’t expressed it to me.
    A conversation has begun, after corresponding a couple of times, is it then ok, to ask them to watch a video, because, you know of a product that would be awesome for them, just out of the blue, or is it best to try and direct the conversation, so that the problem comes up in the conversation first and then tell them about your solution?
    Would love any ideas you have.

    • http://sharondrewmorgen.com sharondrew

      unfortunately, you are still attempting to sell and do all you can to place solutions.
      it’s necessary to use a decision facilitation capability to help the buyers make the internal decisions they need to make that are not solution-related (politics, tech issues, etc) and the sales model doesn’t do that. if you want to speak, contact me. details to contact me are on all my sites. and my first name is ‘sharon drew’ :)

      Sharon Drew Morgen | 512 457 0246
      http://www.newsalesparadigm.com http://www.sharondrewmorgen.com http://www.buyingfacilitation.com New Book
      http://www.newsalesparadigm.com/sig.jpg

      _____

      • sharonthoms

        Hi Sharondrew, thanks for your reply. I read a few more articles on your site, and I think I understand the paradigm.
        Before a prospect buys, they normally have someone, that they will want to discuss, justify, get feedback from to confirm to them self, that they are making the right decision.
        By discussing the process that your prospect goes through in order to make a decision to buy, you can work through the conversation, which will take place.
        When different arguments arise, you can help them with the positive answers, which will help bring all parties onto the same page.
        Alternatively, inviting those people to be apart of the product demonstration, to begin with, will have all decision making parties available at the same time,

        This is a great idea. You are absolutely right that even if someone makes a decision to buy without having to reason to another person, they still have internal questions that they ask themselves, that need to be answered and justified. Eg: I had to buy it, they were having a sale 50% off. That is the justification, the story that they have attached to the purchase of that particular product. Even if it was an item like a school uniform. “I had to buy it because, …….. needs to wear a school uniform. Or has grown out of the old one, or what ever it is. There is some kind of internal dialogue that needs to be silenced with an answer to the question of why?
        By knowing the internal dialogue and helping your prospect with their answers, will in effect end up being the answer to your question, of will they buy or not buy your product?
        This is the part of the sales process that slows down the decision to buy.
        If you need to make a sale, you need to include this line of thinking into the process, or it will never happen quickly.
        I’m pretty sure I have it right?
        So what kind of questions are facilitative questions? and
        Can this process work, using sales letters, videos, slideshows?