Social Media For Sales: Prospecting can be one of the less glamorous aspects of any sales position but it is also the most important. If you don’t have leads, you don’t have sales and, in turn, no money. #fail
Using social media for sales has been on the radar for many companies but few achieve any success with it for a number of reasons. To name a few:
- Their content is focused on sales, not the customer
- Using “old school” sales mentality with new tools (doesn’t work)
- They provide no value
Despite this, the question needs to be asked: can social media for sales replace cold calling?
WHY: Warming Up Leads Online
I believe that the answer is YES – social media for sales can replace cold calling but only in the sense that it can warm up leads prior to taking the conversation offline. This is really key because when you cold call normally, there is no prior relationship established and the potential client has no sense of obligation or interest to give you the time of day because they have no idea who you are.
Related: 7 Reasons Why Sales Pros Should Use LinkedIn For Lead Generation
HOW: Use LinkedIn To Connect Before Calling
LinkedIn is the perfect tool for successful social media for sales by finding and connecting with new prospects online since you are able to qualify them before even talking to them by checking out their profile. Always reach out with a personalized message when connecting with someone new and aim to leave a positive impression. Take the opportunity to congratulate them if they have a new position or released a new product recently – you can’t make your first (or second) communication all about you.
TIP: If you come across a great article that would help one of your connections in their specific industry, use that as a reason to reach out and connect. Simply send the link along and mention how you know that they are involved with X and that you thought they might benefit or enjoy the article.
WHO: Finding Prospects With LinkedIn Advanced Search & Groups
Rather than picking up the phonebook (if you still have one), head over to LinkedIn and use the advanced search tool to find prospects in specific niches and industries in minutes. Make sure to specifically list only 2nd level connections so you don’t have any issue sending a connection request.
LinkedIn groups is the another excellent way to find targeted prospects in specific niches by searching for groups that would be relevant to their interests. Even though you are using social media for sales, it’s important to remember pitching your services won’t fly in groups either – not matter how on topic it might be.
Related: 19 Steps To The Perfect LinkedIn Profile [INFOGRAPHIC]
WHEN: How To Move A Prospect Offline
When you feel it’s the right time to move a prospect to the offline world, it must be done with purpose. You should avoid calling up potential clients just to outright pitch them. Everything you do should be aimed at providing real value for them to establish yourself as a credible expert.
This is an incredible video by Gary Vanyerchuk that comes to mind when I think about cold calling and getting over the fear. Even though he is talking about getting advertisers on blogs, the information is completely transferable to any cold calling situation, if tweaked accordingly. Gary is doing a true cold call in this video…imagine how much easier it will be once you’ve warmed those leads up using LinkedIn and social media.
It’s a big bad scary world out there and if you really want to rock social media for sales, you’ve got to be fearless and build your relationships. Success in sales hasn’t changed from 100 years ago to today – it’s still all about relationships so build value and be genuine.