It seems pretty clear, social media is becoming less of a trend, and more of a permanent way of life. Some still have not embraced this realization. Maybe they are in denial or maybe they just haven’t had enough exposure, but the truth is, those who aren’t on social media sites, particularly those who have a sales role, are missing out on pertinent conversation and content that could be costing their business revenue. As the saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
For a salesperson, the proper utilization of social media is the new golden ticket to success.
According to an article featured on Forbes, author Mark Fidelman writes that “…In 2012, 78.6% of sales people using social media to sell out performed those who weren’t using social media.” Also, Non-social media users missed quotas 15% more often than their sales peers using social sites.
Causation or Correlation? I was wondering the same thing – but according to the study by Jim Keenan, of the respondents who were surveyed “54% who used social media tracked their social media usage back to at least one closed deal. Over 40% said they’ve closed between two and five deals as a result of social media and more than 10% of the respondents said; ‘Yes, It directly contributes to my closes.’ Respondents were very clear. Social media was a leading factor in their closed deals” says Fidelman.
Having a social media presence is important, generating content is important, but what is even more important is how you interact with those who are directly and indirectly interacting with you and your brand. This is where having high behavioral and emotional intelligence is important.
Utilizing behavioral intelligence by monitoring and listening to what your customers are saying can impact your business immensely “A lead today can be someone complaining on Twitter that their current vendor is driving them crazy. It can be a question in a LinkedIn group. It can be an unassuming comment on a Facebook page. Today, leads are far more than a call from a friend, a business card from an event or a chance encounter on a flight,” says Mark Fidelman in the Forbes article “The Rise of Social Salespeople”.
Many studies have shown that customers are now contacting a sales associate much later in the sales process. People spend much more time researching than ever before. This makes life harder on those in sales, but what makes this situation actually quite tremendous is that many people document their research processes via social media. Fidelman says “Their conversations, thoughts, frustrations and concerns are becoming increasingly more public and visible. Their customers are expressing their thoughts, frustrations, and concerns publicly. All of this is changing how sales is performed and how quota is met. To play in this environment and to access this information means sales people need to embrace social selling. It means they need to have a Twitter account. It means they need to participate in LinkedIn groups. It means they need to comment on blogs.”
Another critical thing to remember when utilizing social media to gain sales is to utilize emotional intelligence when posting. Although there is a delete button, there is also a screenshot button. Even when your content has been deleted, it can still be traced back to you. Take a moment and think about what you are using to generate content. (This goes for sales professionals and marketers alike.) Featured on Buzzfeed, Arielle Calderon documents “19 Companies That Made Huge Social Media Fails”. Take for example Kmart who sent a tweet to pay their respects shortly after the Newtown shootings occurred, but added a promotional hashtag (#Fab15Toys) in the tweet. A few hours after the Aurora shootings occurred a (likely pre-scheduled) tweet by National Rifleman Association was sent that read “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?”
It is important to utilize emotional intelligence and think about if the person or people involved in the situation you are posting about would approve of your status, comment, or blog.