|Social Networking For Salespeople – Pros and Cons
We have all seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of salespeople in real life, but what about on social networking sites? Do you and your salespeople look more like the top picture or the bottom one?
Take a minute and consider the pros and cons of social networking for salespeople and see if it is worth investing your precious time, money and resources into before you jump in head first.
- You can interact with your target audience.
- It is easier to give and get referrals and reccomendations.
- You can generate leads for yourself.
- You can use it as a CRM to keep track of contacts.
- You can improve your credibility and reputation.
- You can improve your search engine rankings and brand recognition.
- You can monitor what people are saying about you.
- You can keep up with industry trends, experts and vendors, and the competition.
- There is a low hard cost of using social media.
- Most people do it wrong.
- It is hard to keep up with all the changes in social media.
- You might get negative feedback.
- You might look unprofessional.
- You might waste too much time.
- You will need computer skills.
- People will try to sell you.
- It has a lot of soft costs like time, energy and resources.
- Everything is public and lasts forever on the Internet.
- Requires some new thinking and strategies.
- Most people do it wrong.
The deciding factor is “Most salespeople are using social networking completely or at best mostly wrong.”
If you are considering getting more involved or investing more energy and resources into social networking as a business or salesperson, please consider this factor heavily and commit yourself to either be a professional or generally stay out social networking and cut your losses.
The fact that most salespeople are doing it wrong can be a pro or a con. If you can take the time and energy to learn how to do it right, then you can easily crush your competition on social networks, because they are doing it wrong. If you can’t or don’t want to do it right, then you are probably wasting your time. This single factor will negate most of the cons and maximize most of the pros for social networking.
|Social Media For Salespeople
Social networking for salespeople, when done right, can be a powerful new tool to connect you with qualified leads and referrals that you would have otherwise missed.
Look at the cons list again for a second. If you really decided to dive in head first and get good at social networking, how many of those would still bother you?
You could… keep up with changes, handle negative feedback and win over a customers, look more professional than your competitors, deal with the spam and other bad salespeople, learn the computer skills necessary, handle the soft costs because they are resulting in revenue, learn the privacy policies and how to post professionally thing to want to last forever, gain the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate your sales message over social networking sites, and finally, you could dominate anyone who was not willing to invest the same energy to do all that.
One more thing… There is no magic bullet in sales or social networking!
If you haven’t noticed by now, social networking will never be a magic bullet that gives you all the leads and sales you can handle with little or no effort on your part. Building a book of business through social networking is no different than doing so in the real world. It takes longer than you want, it requires commitment and a strong desire to succeed eventually, and finding qualified buyers is still like herding cats.
However, for salespeople social networking does have it’s advantages compared to the real world. It is more easily monitored and tracked. Most salespeople are not that organized to begin with and these tools help. You can reach a lot more people in a shorter amount of time. You can send the same message to multiple people or groups. You can prospect around the world instead of just your town or hopping on a plane.
Finally, once you do the hard work of building your social network, it is harder for it to come crashing down. In general, even if a competitor decides to get serious about social networking, they are going to be way behind you and you can use your established network to continue your momentum. If you change jobs, you can bring your social networking with you much easier than real life.
Overall, social networking for salespeople is a very powerful tool, but it is not a magic bullet. Understand that, and you can make the right call.
|How to set goals for your social networking behavior, results and target markets.
Getting Started With Goal Setting
Before you start setting goals for your social networking activity and results. There are a few things you need to know about goal setting in general.
- Just the act of setting SMART goals increases your chance of success by 10 times.
- Written goals increase that likelihood even more.
- Sharing your goals with your team, family or accountability partner again increases your chance of success!
- You can only manage what you can control. Setting goals for other people’s behavior is futile.
Studies show that only about 50% of people have goals in general, only 10% have written goals, and only about 1% have a plan to achieve them and share them with an accountability partner. Those people who do all three are exponentially more likely to achieve their goals than those winging it.
I hope that doesn’t come as a shock to you. If you wanted to take a road trip, you might want to decide where you are going, get directions, and tell someone else where you are going. Chances are you would get there safely. If you just took off one morning with no goal or plan and didn’t tell anyone, you might end up lost forever.
Most importantly, you can only manage what you can control. You have probably heard about SMART goals before, but you may not have considered this. Setting goals for result, especially those that depend on the action of others is generally not helpful. They are nice to have in mind, and important for determining your behavior, but they alone will not lead you to success.
Let’s use an example. If you set a goal to get 100 likes on your Facebook business page, it sounds like a good goal. However, it tells you nothing about how to actually achieve it and what actions to take. Even worse, it depends on other people to take the action by clicking “like.” You can’t force anyone to do that, so your goal is out of your control.
If that is the result we want, there are still goals we can set. The just need to be SMART goals which we can manage and control.
Smart Goals are:
- Attainable / Achievable
- Relevant / Realistic
Specific leads us to the exact location we want to be on our road trip. Measurable and attainable tell us that we need to be able to track our progress, and it needs to be a behavior we can control. It is hard to measure unspecific feelings, or generalities like “be more successful,” “be well-liked in the community.” or even “get more leads.” How can you tell if you are making progress or even achieved “being successful”?
Relevant or Realistic is also very important. If you goal seams impossible, it is unlikely that anyone will go after it. Great goals inspire action. It needs to be relevant to the outcome you want and realistic so you believe you can achieve it with the right actions.
Finally, goals need to be time-bound to drive you to action and inspire you to achieve them. This can be done in to way. By simply adding a date that it is to be completed, or by adding how often you need to take the action. Let’s try some examples for social media.
Setting SMART Goals for your Social Networking activity
There are three categories that you will need goals for in your social networking activity. You will probably want to plan and track your progress toward what you need to be doing, who you want to reach, and the end results for your business. In other words your behavior, targets and results.
- Post status updates on Facebook three times per day, morning, noon and night.
- Write one call-to-action message, one original thought or blog, and re-share some interesting post about my industry on Facebook to fulfill my 3 post per day on Facebook.
- Send 5 Tweets per day, 3 Re-tweets of interesting posts, 1 original thought, and 1 call-to-action.
- Post one interesting article, either mine or someone else’s on Linked In.
- Share a link to an interesting article or +1 a website on Google+ once a day.
- Write one original blog about an industry hot topic per week.
- Send and informative email blast to my clients and prospects once per week that contains my new blog post, a call-to-action, and links to my social networking accounts.
- Respond to every email, direct message, or comment received within 24 hours.
- Add any new connections or business contacts I have made to my email lists each week.
- Find 1 new interesting industry expert to follow on Twitter every week.
- Add any new requests or suggested family, friends and personal connections on Facebook who I would like to talk to in the real world, each week.
- Add any suggested connections on LinkedIn who I have met in person or done business with in the last year, or I know well enough that they would take my call.
- Add suggested connections to appropriate Circles on Google+ each week, if they are someone I would like to keep in touch with.
- Update my list of the top 10 potential clients I am targeting weekly, and make at least one attempt to contact them or share an interesting article with them.
- Make contact by phone or email with at least 5 of my top 20 referral partners or strategic alliances.
- Clean out my contact lists every quarter, and remove anyone I no longer want to be associated with or have not interacted with in over a year.
- Schedule 1 meeting per work day with a referral partner.
- Schedule 1 meeting per work day with a potential client.
- Follow up on all leads generated through my calls-to-action on the social networks and email blast.
- Ask for referrals, reviews or recommendations from every new client.
- Thank referral partner with an appropriate reward for each referral that becomes a client, and explain why if the referral did work out.
- Review my Google Analytics, Facebook page dashboard, and any other reports monthly, and make notes on what generated the best response and track my progress.
There are many other goals you could set, but these are some of my favorites, because they are all things that you can control and do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It is very hard and frustrating to only monitor results because they can fluctuate on thing outside your control. Plus, if you try to manage results, you are managing in the past. Typically, the results you are getting now are based on your activity from one to 3 months ago. In longer selling cycles, it could even be that the sales you get this month are a result of networking or referrals from over a year ago.
Feel free to use any of my goals above, or discuss some more appropriate goals for your organization. The ones listed above could actually be mores specific, but I wanted them to apply to more people. For example, “follow an interesting industry expert” would actually be better as, “follow an internet marketing expert.”
Goal setting will set you apart from the majority of humans and businesses, so take an hour to write them down this week. Then just follow the plan and adjust as necessary. Keep them SMART, and keep them positive. If you need any help, just email me.
|Having A Sales Mindset on Social Media Isn’t A Bad Thing!
You might want to change your mindset about “sales” to be successful in your social networking online…
Chances are you have the wrong idea about “sales” as it relates to your behavior.
Most people are either deathly afraid of being considered a salespeople or too pushy, or they have no idea about what sales actually is and they are the one’s being to pushy.
So that’s the problem, about half of the people are too weak and the other half are too strong. It has always been a funny fact of life to me that about half of the population is afraid to do what they dislike in others, and the other half has no fear, but no filter either. This is especially true when it comes to the sales profession and what an actual professional salesperson looks like, sounds like, and behaves like.
Did you know that “sales” has been one of the most hated professions since is was officially created in the 1920’s? It is right up there with lawyers, politicians, and dentists every time they do the surveys. The most loved professions are things like teachers, clergy, and firefighters. These should come as no surprise to most people I would guess.
How many third graders do you think you would have to ask to get just one that said they wanted to grow up to be a “salesperson”? About a 1,000 is what we have come up with, you will find an occasional kid with the gift of gab and professional salesperson as a mother or father who is a strong role model for the child. The rest of us would rather be astronauts, doctors, and teachers.
However, do you happen to know what the most popular profession is in the United States? Surprise, it is “sales” with over 4.2 Million people performing the role, not including inside sales, waiters, or cashiers who all also happen to sell for their profession!
Last one, do you know what professional is a perennial contender for the highest paid profession? If you didn’t guess it, you need to pay better attention. Salesperson has almost always been in the top 5 highest paid professions since its inception. Now there are a lot of people making low wages as salespeople, so the average doesn’t come out in the top 10, but as far as top earners are concerned, salespeople come in right with CEOs, doctors, engineers and lawyers.
Why you might have the wrong idea about what professional salespeople do:
- Salespeople have a bad PR department. We take a bad rap in commercials, movies, and TV shows. We are associated with used-cars, polyester suits, and either the most pushy or most slick of our kind. Eventually, we need to get together and sell some marketing people to take on the task of changing our public image…
- Good salespeople make a lot of money. Did you notice the correlation above between the income of the most hated and most loved professions? The most hated generally rake in the dough, while the most loved are notoriously underpaid for what they do.
- There are a ton of bad salespeople out there. This one I will grant you. There are a ton of people doing it wrong. Hey, we have 4.2 Million salespeople out there; they can’t all be winners. People rarely talk about the good ones though. They silently propel companies and communities forward without being noticed.
It seems like our perception as a people of “sales” is bipolar. We love that people are willing to do it, we just don’t want to be one, and we don’t want them calling on us. We will gladly pay salespeople large sums of money for what they do, but then run and hide with our phones turned off if they are being paid by someone else.
People hate to be sold, but they love to buy!
In order to have the best of both worlds, to make sales and make friends, it takes a special mindset and a balance of the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of sales.
What can you do to make sure you have the right sales mindset when you are on social media sites?
To me, great salespeople are like great waiters and your favorite restaurant. This is the sales mindset you should have on social media.
- You want to compliment the experience not force or artificially create it.
- You want to make suggestions about ideas that will enhance the experience.
- You want to be likable as a person and a company, and create an atmosphere that compliments your brand.
- You want to listen and anticipate the needs of your audience.
- You want to solve problems and make sure the customer is happy.
- You want to encourage your customers to try new offerings.
- You want to use your expertise to point the customers to the right solution for them.
- You want to welcome new guests and explain why people love you and why they made a good choice to check you out.
- You want to have fun and promote an environment that matches the customers expectations.
- You want to let them know when things have an up charge or will take longer to receive.
- You want to make sure they understand their purchase if people make common mistakes.
- You want to make sure they are 100% satisfied with the experience before you deliver the bill.
- You want to clean up after there messes if they make a mistake with your product or service.
- Finally, you encourage them to spread the word if they liked the experience, or ask for feedback if they did not.
All of those things a waiter does well, are the exact same things that will help you grow your business on social media sites, and create a raving fan base of loyal customers, who refer you often. Some people call it customer service, some people call it marketing, some people proudly call it sales. It really doesn’t matter, but those things that make a waiter great, are the same things that make salespeople great.
They create an atmosphere and environment which allows the customer to buy, while the salesperson stays out of the way.
Some, so called sales and marketing gurus, will tell you that this means the salesperson is unnecessary. That could not be further from the truth. Please don’t think that you can use marketing automation, can the salespeople, and still create that kind of environment.
There is a reason that a drive-through, fast food experience is different than being served by a great waiter who helps create a memorable experience. It is called “salesmanship” and it results from interpersonal communication and treating each person like the individual that they are.
You cannot substitute information and automation for interpersonal communication and expect the same results!
Don’t be afraid of being a salesperson, be afraid of not selling anything or not serving your customers the way you want and they deserve. Learn how to develop a sales mindset appropriate for social media and create the experience you would want when dealing with your company.