Thursday, March 26, 2009

Social Networking for Salespeople

Finally, there has been a complete paradigm shift in the way salespeople need to interact with BUYERS, and each other! This shift has been created due to Social Networking.

Do you ever wonder why the old “Sales 1.0” strategy is not working, and?
- You are always getting their voicemail when you call.
- Nobody is responding to your unsolicited emails.
- Cold calling for appointments keeps getting harder for you to do.
- Nobody is responding to your direct mail.
- Qualified Decision-makers are not visiting your trade show booth, in person.
- Your in-person visits keep getting rescheduled.

The reason is because buyers don’t like INTERUPT based interactions from salespeople.
Technology put an end to this strategy, by developing Anti-Spam filters, phantom voicemail boxes, follow me tagging, ring tones, pop-up blockers and other techniques. Consumer legislation put an end to it, with “DNC” lists, and “opt out” email requests.

Today, in this “Sales 2.0” world, the buyers want PERMISSION based interactions with salespeople, driven by their buyer-centric desires. The buyer dictates:

- When they want to be communicated with
- Where they like to communicate.
- What are they interested in communicating about , and
- How do your communications provide REAL VALUE to them.

Todays buyers don’t want face to face, sit down meetings. They prefer online meetings and webinars in order to SAVE TIME. They want to be an educated and fully informed buyer, and this they perceive as “REAL VALUE”. Finally they want their communications to be “respectful” in nature, and “genuine” in intent. Transparency and Truthfulness is everything. Taken together, this builds a trusted relationship.

A successful salesperson in this Social Networking environment needs to design their own PERMISSION based attraction strategy, to interact with their potential client base.
Their strategy should leverage multiple touch points; such as Social Networking sites, Sales Blogs, VideoBlogs, Audio Podcasts, Microblogs, Social CRM tools, Media sharing, SEO/SEM on your personal websites, “Web 2.0” exchange apps, RSS feeds, and tagging of relevant information, and relevant search methods (like Google alerts), to interact with their client base.

I believe that there is a 4 step process that you need to develop in order to optimize your PERMISSION based sales attraction strategy. The 4 steps that you need to develop are to:1)Develop your own on-line network presence; 2)Develop your personal on-line “Brand” or reputation in your industry; 3) Use Sales Social Networking sites to connect and expand your business reach; and 4)Continually leverage effective multiple touch point Social Media tools, to interact with your end user community .

It is also important along the way to develop a direct accountability relationship with your company’s marketing team. Hopefully their inbound and outbound marketing strategy is in congruence with your personal PERMISSION based sales attraction strategy. Ideally they will be optimized to leverage each other.


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