The quickest way to make more sales is to work out what your customers want and give it to them. It’s like the scenario of how to sell the most hamburgers. What one thing do you need? 100% pure ground beef? Sesame seed buns? Free fries with every order? No. You need a starving crowd.
So how do you find out what your customers want? You ask and listen - and this is where social media is great as it enables you to ‘listen’ to many and find out their authentic needs. From using Twitter to find opportunities and LinkedIn to find the names of the decision makers inside organisations, to listening to what your prospects are saying about your competitors on social media - it can all amount to a great picture of your ideal customer, what frustrates them and how you can possibly solve their problems.
An integral part of the sales process is getting to know your prospects and establishing relationships and social media can help you accomplish this quickly and easily.
Get to know your prospects and target customers
There’s no point being on Facebook if your target customer is more likely to be found on LinkedIn. Do some homework before you choose a social media platform. Facebook is great for business to consumer sales, while LinkedIn is more business to business. Don’t discount commenting on websites and blogs either. You can really find prospects any place online where a relevant conversation is happening - it’s a case of spending the time researching where your target customer is going online to seek information and having conversations.
Demonstrate trustworthiness and credibility in relation to sales
As you engage with prospects via social media platforms, remember this. It’s about them not you. For people to like, know and trust your online persona, you need to write and comment in such a way that supports that. If you see someone online with a problem, posting a link to your online workshop for $449 that would solve their problem isn’t the best opener. Instead offer advice. Prove yourself worthy of conversation. Link to useful blog article you have written that helps solve their problem. Some of the best word of mouth consumer to business successes I have seen on social media start by someone asking for advice and other people commenting and/or tagging contacts who can help. Don’t do the hard sell when word of mouth will build your trustworthiness more effectively.
Remember, we all have a large digital footprint. People will google, stalk your social media profiles, check out what you have written, posted or commented. Be honest and authentic in it all.
Connect with and get to know people
Conduct a search on each social networking website or use a resource like socialmention.com to find people who are talking about your industry or using related keywords. Then comment on their posts, retweet them, answer a question or share something they say. By contributing to their conversation you add value to their network. It becomes natural for you to follow them and for them to follow you back.
Have a conversation
If you really listen to what your prospects are saying on social media, it shows you are willing to have a conversation rather than cold sell. Many closed doors have been opened by this simple approach. It may take longer - but it results in easier sales and longer-term loyalty. One colleague - a content writer - gains leads via her personal Facebook simply by people enjoying her posts and recognising she has a great writing style. Another shares education and advice, while another - a great networker - introduces other people into the conversations who may be able to solve problems. It may sound old-fashioned, but it’s simply showing how you can be of service and other-focused - just through a new-fashioned medium.