Selling was so much easier when I first hit the streets nearly forty-five years ago. At my first sales job, I didn’t even need to do any prospecting. Telemarketers unearthed all of the leads. In most cases, they even made the appointment for me. My task was to make the presentation and close the sale.
At later sales jobs, I did my own phone prospecting. Direct mail also helped me developed leads. I even learned a few surefire tricks for talking my way past a receptionist. I got pretty good at using these different sales tools and techniques.
Since then, times have changed. I blame it on technology. With voicemail, few people answer calls anymore – me included. Most direct mail goes in the garbage. I can’t even charm the receptionist to find out who to talk to because many businesses don’t have receptionists or secretaries. And at some companies, the doors are locked.
A shoe shine and a smile doesn’t cut it anymore in B2B selling anymore. The internet changed the way prospects buy. In most cases, buyers research products online and have made their buying decision long before speaking to a sales person. That means that if you want to succeed at selling in the 21st century, you need to include social media as part of your marketing strategy. While social media may not be most important part of your marketing strategy, it can play a significant role in complementing your other efforts and delivering your message.
So what should that message be? The challenge for most companies is that their products and services are viewed as commodities. Buyers believe that what one sign company can provide is not that much different from what another can provide. Your challenge is to change that prejudice. The only way that you can alter that mindset and differentiate your products and services is to provide added value in the way of useful information. I would contrast this with old school, chest-pounding marketing extolling the features, benefits and advantages of products.
Your goal is to establish yourself as the authority or expert in your field by providing this valuable information online. Building an online presence is akin to building your personal brand. It not only sets you apart from other sales people, but it increases your value to your employer. The goal of this story is to provide you with a social media blueprint to build your company’s brand, get more followers and engagement and ultimately grow your sales. Read more »