Social Media mirrors Key Selling SkillsJuly 25, 2011 | Posted by Jeff Seeley in Communication Skills
A recent article in BtoB brought to mind some interesting similarities between the world of social media and Carew’s teaching principles on the ideal sales process. Our sales training programs have always emphasized the importance of dialogue – really listening to customers and identifying their specific gaps, so you can present them with valuable solutions from the start. This multi-directional communication is also at work in social media, through which complete strangers share insights and information to achieve some common goal.
On Facebook or Twitter, everything is interactive. People expect to be fully informed – not to have a decision forced upon them, but to be prepared so they can decide in their own time and in their own way. To improve sales, the key is to help customers get to that point.
In this article—“Social drives Visa’s new approach to marketing”—BtoB interviews Antonio Lucio, CMO of Visa, Inc. Visa recently increased its budget for social media advertising from 11% to 36+%, which led to a huge jump in sales performance. One comment that struck me in particular was Lucio’s response to a question about his new approach to marketing. He said,
“Also equally important was the realization that the purchase was no longer an action but rather a social experience that transcended the transaction itself.”
This notion of the purchase as a social experience (not simply an action) is crucial. Potential clients today are used to and enjoy a lot of interaction surrounding their decisions to buy. They want and expect a glut of information and a myriad of choices as they make their way along what Lucio refers to as the consumer decision journey.
Furthermore, within this glut of information, the voices of both fans and critics are unavoidable. Buyers listen to their friends, peruse reviews (either positive or negative) and search for recommendations. The importance of heeding your critics, painful as it may be, is another tenet of Carew sales training. Take the doubters’ concerns into consideration, for the betterment of your product and your own sales performance.
Think about how you can translate the principles of social media (sharing, participation, and recommendations) into useful sales skills. Understand that meeting your customers’ desire for information and counsel will be all the more powerful when you do so in person and as part of the strong and trusting relationship you have earned with each client.
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