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Social media can help you generate more sales, especially if you integrate it into your sales process. In this episode of the Better Business Podcast, Randy Tucker shares specific ways you can get information about your prospects via social media and how you can use that information to make your sales process more effective.
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Interviewer: We’ve talked in other episodes about sales and also about social media. What we’re going to talk about today is how to integrate the two of those in your business to have a more effective sales process. Specifically, we’re going to talk about what the benefits are of integrating social media strategies and tactics into your sales process. Then Randy’s going to share with us some specific things that you can do out of today’s episode to actually use this information in your business.
The Benefit of Integrating Social Media with Sales
Interviewer: Before we get into the specific how-to information, Randy, can you share what benefits a listener is going to receive if they actually integrate social media into their sales process?
Randy: Sure. The main benefit they’re going to receive is more prospects, more customers, more relationships. You have the ability, when you get yourself involved in social channels;
- To develop relationships very quickly and
- Be there at the time when your prospective client or customer may need a product or service you provide.
It won’t be you out there farming, doing the ridiculous phone calls every day but you’ll be right there in the conversation when they complain about a pain within their business environment. You’ll be there, you can answer, you can develop those relationships, and proceed to service them.
How to Monitor Prospects’ Interest
Interviewer: You mentioned that one of the main benefits is being there at the perfect time for them. How does that work? How can you actually monitor what your prospects are thinking and make sure that you’re there once your services are on their mind? How do you monitor that?
Randy: A number of ways. One of the things is just start a personal habit.
- Monitor social media channels – Go in and spend 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon monitoring the channels and accounts that you deal with. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook; those are the 3 that we traditionally see most popular in business.
- Setup alert systems – Another mechanism if you want to get more into automation is using the tools and products available where you can set what’s called signals or alerts. You can say, ‘These are the characteristics, the buying signals, or the communication signals of the types of customers I deal with. Tell me when those happen.’ That can be automated, and you can be notified when to react and when to jump rather than staring at the screen, hoping something will come up. There are alert systems available.
How to Find New Prospects Using Social Media Searches
Interviewer: That sounds really powerful for a listener to be able to use with their existing group of prospects. Let’s take it to the flip side of that; how can a listener actually use some of these searches and some of the data that’s out there on social media to actually find new prospects? Is there a way to do essentially a Google search of all the social media information that’s out there to find somebody that would likely be interested in your products and services?
Randy: There are. There are many tools available that you can use to go out and search the data channels, the Twitters, LinkedIns, Facebooks. I’ll tell you one of the quickest ways to get started is;
- Go into; especially if you’re a business-to-business company, go into LinkedIn and search for the types of groups or the types of customers that you have.
Let’s say you’ve got some. You’ve got a race car product that deal with or that you manufacture.
- Go into LinkedIn and search for racing as groups; there are many, many groups.
- Put yourself into those groups, join the groups.
- There are no fees and charges for getting into those groups.
- Get in there and join the conversations.
- When you get in there and join the conversation, you’re going to develop relationships.
- People buy from who they know and they trust.
If they get to know you in that communication channel in those groups, and you provide trustworthy information and you’re not always in a sales mode that you’ve provided information, they’re going to know you and trust when they’re ready to buy something, they’re going to give you that signal.
How to Talk About Products Without “Selling”
Interviewer: What would you say is helpful information that’s not too sales-driven? For example if somebody’s asking a question within LinkedIn group, how do you go about answering that question in a way so it doesn’t come across to sales-y while still making clear that you offer these products and services? Is there any best practice to make sure that you’re on the right line there?
Randy: Sure. One of the best practices I would say is never mention the dollars of what something like that costs.
- Give them information about the products they’re considering, even if you don’t provide them.
- Give information, give your opinion. Your knowledge, your authority, your opinion counts when you’re developing these relationships.
- Certainly if you have a product that you think they ought to take a look at, give them a link. Suggest that they go look at it, but don’t get too wordy.
- Don’t do some sales proposal. Twitter will stop you because you can’t do a sales proposal in 140 characters, but you want to be careful that you provide valuable information.
I’ll give you an example: In our industry, we work with a lot of clients who request contact management systems. One of the things I’ve done many time in the past is;
- When somebody’s asking a question about how to look at contact management, which one should I be looking at, I have a matrix.
- I send them a matrix of all the product we have and other products, so it’s a comparative, so they now have a document that they can compare.
- Again, by showing your product and the competition, they know that you’re not just trying to do a sale. On the flip side of that, they know you are as well.
You develop that expertise. You need to know your products and product lines, and that helps show those prospects that you have information that they can use.
Interviewer: Great. It sounds like mainly what we’re looking at is to be helpful, provide helpful information that they’re going to appreciate, and if they’re interested in purchasing some product, they’re going to know that you provide that, but you don’t want to push it too much.
Simple Ways to Use Social Media Today
Interviewer: I want to transition away from best practices like we’ve talked about, into some specific tactical things that a business owner who’s listening can actually do in their business to integrate social media into the sales process. Why don’t we start with something on the simple end; specifically, if somebody’s about to do a sales call to a prospect that’s in their system, what is something that they could do to get access to social media information and somehow integrate that into the call that they’re doing? Walk me through what the sales rep should potentially do before that call.
Randy: One of the main things they’d want to do is use a product. One of the products we deal with is a product called Nimble. By going to that prospect’s record, the system has already gone out and acquired information about all of their communications on any channels it knows about for them. For instance if you had posted something about this interview, if I went to your record in Nimble, I would see if you had put anything in Twitter about it, where you told someone that, ‘I’ve got an appointment a little later. I’m going to do an interview.’ Maybe you said something to someone on LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest.
- Nimble is an engine that actually goes out and farms and cultivates all of that information, and puts it together in one place. That’s what this tool does.
If you don’t have those tools;
- Go spend a few moments searching Twitter for your client’s name or their company name;
- Go spend a few moments looking at their LinkedIn profile or their Facebook company page.
- Understand where they are at the moment you’re trying to make the call, because if you get a call and I talk to you about something you did today, that relationship’s going to get stronger.
Remember, you want to know them, they want to know you, they want to trust you, you want to trust them. By having that information, they assume you know them.
Tools to Integrate Social Media and Sales
Interviewer: It sounds like there’s a broad range of ways to actually find information out about a prospect you’re calling. You mentioned simply going out and doing a search for their LinkedIn profile, searching on their Twitter activity, or using a tool such as Nimble that will pull all of that information together in one spot for you.
Can you share with us some more in-depth tools, maybe a new CRM system or something along those lines, that if a company that’s listening starts to see good results of using social media as part of their sales process; if they’re interested in really upgrading and modernizing their systems to take full advantage of social media information as part of the sales process, what direction should they look in, in terms of what systems to use for this?
Randy: There are many, many systems, as you can imagine, that can help them improve their social media presence.
One of the tools that we’ve worked with in the past is a product called Next Principles. A lot of times when you start to get very involved in social media, you’re going to generate your own output, as well.
- You’re not just going to be out there searching and waiting for alerts, you’re going to generate your own output.
- You’re going to say something about attending a trade show.
- You have the ability with some of these tools, a tool like Next Principles, where you can look and see how many people saw that message and what their influence is within that social sphere.
- You can tell if they’re an influential person replicating your message.
- There’s one of those opportunities for you to connect with you and develop a deeper relationship. That’s one way.
Another way is there are a number of CRM tools now that have the social threads tied into them. The one I spoke about earlier;
- Nimble, is a very powerful tool, has a plugin for your Google account.
- If I’m looking at something I get all of your information right there without having to go do some external search.
There are other tools such as our RedHorse CRM system that has your information channels, your accounts.
- If I know your ID on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, I can literally, when I go to your record, click and see your recent activity. There are ways to make that system do alerts for you, as well.
There’s another idea to deal with a lot of customers and some of the more established companies. We provide a social media training series where we work with the senior managers, the owners, and help them get comfortable with using that social channel.
- A lot of times what we find is some of the more established companies, they’re a little hesitant.
- They say they do social media, but you go to that senior-level, CEO, COO, the C-team members and you find they don’t because they’re afraid of it. They’re afraid of it because they don’t know it.
- We work with them on a 6-week series of training sessions where we get them comfortable; we get them to know it.
- We’ve had clients who have just totally turned their entire social media universe around by going through that. It was simply they didn’t understand all the pieces.
There is a fairly quick way to go through and understand those pieces, and we provide that.
Interviewer: This is all been really helpful. Thank you so much, Randy.
Quick Summary And Next Actions
Interviewer: Specifically what you can get as a listener out of this episode is 3 things:
- The first thing is next time you do a sales call, take a moment to lookup the LindedIn profile of your prospect or do a quick Twitter search to see what that prospect has put out on social media channels recently, and see if there’s any way that you can integrate that into the actual sales call that you’re about to do.
- The second thing that you can look at is see if there’s some different tools that can pull some of this information together to make it easier to access before those sales calls. One of those tools that Randy mentioned is Nimble, that’s something that can pull together all of the social media information of your actual prospect before you do the call.
We Are Happy To Help
Interviewer: Contact us if you’re interested in really figuring out how to leverage this within your business at the full-scale opportunity of what it is, or consider Randy’s social media training series; there’s more information about this on the website. That’s really going to help you understand all the different pieces of the puzzle and get up and running with social media in your business very quickly.
Thank you so much for your time today, Randy.
Randy: You are welcome.[Image: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1170365]