Using Social Media as part of the sales process can increase revenue. But many sales managers and GMs aren’t convinced yet. They’re curious but skeptical about how efforts placed on social networks can result in a return on investment and/or sales.
Many salespeople see Social Selling from the opposite camp. They know the value but feel like their hands are tied because they’re ostracized if found using Social Media in the workplace.
Some bosses want to implement Social Selling into their sales process but aren’t sure where to start or who to trust for training.
When 90% of phone calls and emails go unanswered, we must find common ground for all of these archetypes to flourish. Each one believes they’re right and each one wants the same thing: increased sales. It’s now a question of coming to a place where each can discover something they didn’t know and move forward together to get the results they really want.
I just had a conversation with a trainer for a large automotive group. He informed me that Social Selling wasn’t part of their curriculum. I’m perplexed by this because in nearly every industry, including automotive retail, sales typically start online. Whether it’s through an ad, a blog post, a group forum or an already established relationship, consumers are online seeking advice.
When I asked why Social Media and Social Selling wasn’t part of their program, he said, “Because the boss thinks Social Media is a fad.” This is not 2004. Showing disdain for Social Media is like bragging that you can’t read.
The consumer has moved forward. They want to buy their way and expect businesses to deliver it. Many salespeople have figured out that they can build a network themselves using Social Media. Not only do they not think it’s a fad, many see the evidence of Social Selling’s promise in this observation:
If your customer is online and your inventory is online, then why aren’t your salespeople online?
Whichever camp you’re in, know that there’s room to grow and recognizing this can lead to more sales. If you’re a boss, consider your team members’ enthusiasm for Social Selling and leverage it. Alleviate your fears by implementing a Social Media policy. You have a lot to gain by utilizing your salespeoples’ expertise online.
If you’re a salesperson that’s frustrated, please consider these tips on what to do if your boss thinks Social Selling is a fad.
1. Remain Calm.
It can be frustrating when management doesn’t see it “your way” but the only way to win is to keep yourself in check and practice patience.
2. Speak to Them in Their Language.
Most bosses are not big users of Social Media. When you’re not familiar with something, it’s very difficult to visualize success. If you’re presenting your case for Social Selling, use familiar idioms to convey your point. No one thought the Internet, cell phones or email were going to last, right?
Remember: their dialect is ROI. Think like the boss and find hard stats and statistics on the value of Social Selling. Present your position in writing. It’s hard to argue with a well-prepared report.
3. Show Results that Can’t be Argued With.
I spoke at an automotive dealer 20 Group meeting recently where a dealer mentioned that he’s embraced Social Media and Social Selling throughout his organization. How did he get there? Evidence. He has a salesperson who was selling 15 cars a month but when she started to implement Social Selling, her sales increased. She now sells 40 cars a month. The dealer made it mandatory that all salespeople leverage Social Selling strategies. It can be done…and this is proof!
4. If You Can’t Find Any Results, Achieve Some Yourself.
What platforms do you feel most comfortable on? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging are the places to start. Pick ONE to master then take what you’ve learned and apply it to the other places you want to connect with prospects, customers and referral partners.
If Facebook is your first choice, you’ll need to decide whether to use your Personal Profile page or create a Business Page. I’ve written about this decision here: Do I Need a Separate Facebook Account for Business?
Leverage Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and your blog by capitalizing on your name and your likeness – since those are the elements that make you unique.
Once you’ve got your profile completed, it’s time to start connecting, engaging, networking and generally being a resource for customers and prospects.
- Behave as though you’re a “business owner.” After all, you’re the CEO of YOU, right? Let everything you do represent the best possible version of you.
- Map out what you want to achieve. What are the results you’re looking to achieve that you’ll take back to the boss?
- Share content that you’ve created that shows your expertise. Let your content show why you’re the best at what you do. Create blog posts that answer your customers’ questions, needs and concerns.
- Seek out those you can help. Social Media affords you the ability to give evidence of your commitment to your customers. There are a lot of fakers out there spewing nonsense just for attention. Be real, be genuine, be useful. Show up to give.
- Seek out those that can help you. To succeed in sales, you’ve got to have a good network in real life and online. Make a list of 4-5 people that you want to be introduced to, who can help you achieve your desired results. Someone in your circle may be connected to them or know someone who is. This is what Social Media excels at: connecting people in ways that were not possible even 5 years ago.
- Learn to recognize a lead through Social Selling. Conversations can turn into sales and you need to be ready when they happen. Any question that comes from a prospect should be considered a lead. Answer their question and pose another question that helps them in some way. Continue the process until they’ve made their decision. Sometimes their decision is you and sometimes it’s not. Either way, you’ve left an impression on that lead as someone who’s truly helpful and kind.
Social Selling leads to established ROI and increased sales. Everyone can learn something new and become better because of it. Don’t let old beliefs keep you stuck. Determine where you want to go and create an action plan for how to get there.