Dec 20, 2009

Introducing: A New Way to Use Social Media For Selling

Today I will tell you a joke. But first, here is how to use social media for selling...

1. Start from your goals

My first thing to do is to start from your goals. What are you exactly trying to accomplish? To sell 500 cars per month, get 10.000 new members or find 20 hot leads for your business?

Let's say that you are convinced that social media is the right way to accomplish your goals. The next step is simple.

2. Listen

Just like a real salesman, you should start by listening your customers. We are all selling something whether we like it or not. Here is an easy to get over it.

Maybe you are trying to sell your ideas to your co-workers, or trying to gain recognition from friends through social media, or you are simply trying to find new customers. What ever it is, you are a salesman. And the best sales people always start from listening their prospects.

Listening is the easy part. You just observe what is happening around you before you dip in.

3. Ask good questions to control the conversation

After you have listened the field for a while, start asking questions. Try to get people respond to you. Ask questions which are focused to your topic or product.

Many people say you can't control social media, as if it's some bizarre living thing which randomly decides who succeeds and who will perish. I think there is a way you can control social media.

Modern day James Bond

Social media is just people interacting with each other using tools that are hundred times cooler than James Bond's gadgets. My point is that social media consists of people like you and me. It follows the same laws of human behavior as any other group of people.

You control the conversation with your prospect by asking specific questions to carry him, her or them to the direction you want. That's a basic principle of selling.

The best question you can ask from your customer

The best question you can ask is Why? "Why do you hate Microsoft so much? Why do you think that Google is any better?" You are a smart camper, so you figure out better sentences to fit your purpose.

Remember that people are hungry for a little recognition and attention. A good listener is always in demand.

After you have listened, asked questions and listened the answers, then people are happy to give you a moment of their time too. This leads to my third point.

3. Sales pitch

Now you are ready to shoot. And yes, you can use social media for selling. It's not just for listening and having conversations.

For example, take a look what Dell is doing to sell more computers via Twitter. They have sold stuff for over six million dollars using Twitter. Pretty good for a service which bugs down several times a day.

A new way to sell

What I have described to you is a relationship model of selling. You spend most of your timing building trust with your customers. Just like in real life. You don't ask a girl to sleep with you when you shake her hand at the very first time (At least I hope you don't).

In sales, you start from listening, then you ask questions which qualify the prospect as a buyer. For example, you can invite people from discussion forums to browse around your store or blog to give you feedback.

However, if you haven't taken the time to build trust with the community, you will be considered as a spammer, not as a member worth noticing.

Advice from a sales superstar

Brian Tracy, a highly successful sales trainer, said that the paradigm of selling has shifted to the relationship model from the old "shoot as much as you can" model.

According to Brian Tracy you need to spend as much as 70 percent of your time building trust and rapport with your customers before you are ready to present your sales pitch. I think the number of the time to establish trust is even higher.

In the future, I will go deeper on how the relationship model of selling does really work. But that's another story.

Now what about that joke you promised, Timo?

In closing, social media is just bunch of people who are connected to each other closer than ever before has been possible. At the end of the day we are all just human beings with similar needs and wants. It's like my father once said: "Even David Beckham has to take a crap, like the rest of us."

Next time I will only stick with facts. That's a promise.

PS Are you using Twitter? I would like to connect with you. Please, click here to follow me

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