Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Your Standard Sales Pitch Just Went Out The Window

October 19, 2012

Social media sites have created a new kind of customer. How does that change your role in the social selling process?

As a sales professional, you’re an expert in a variety of things. Your company’s products or services. Your market. Your competition. Your customers.

The new social selling model doesn’t change the need for that body of knowledge. But it does require a new kind of interaction with your customers. Social communication networks like Facebook and Twitter have given today’s buyers unprecedented access to everything they want to know about what you’re selling.

And “everything” doesn’t just mean product specifications and service descriptions. It means opinions. Social networks open the door to a barrage of feedback from other people who have used your company’s offerings, or who know someone who’s made positive or negative comments about what you’re selling.

 

A Shifting Sales Cycle

Used to be that you’d start interacting with prospects early in the sales cycle. Potential buyers would contact you after they’d seen a print ad or heard a commercial that sparked their interest. Having little information other than what they’d heard or seen, they came to you to fill in the blanks.

And you did that repeatedly for countless prospects, until you could do it without thinking. You rattled off features and benefits and prices until – eventually – you got to the real focus of your sales pitch: How does your product solve problems? How does it make buyers’ personal or professional lives better or easier or more productive or more enjoyable?

Today, you often come in at the tail end of that process. By the time customers approach you, they’ve consulted an average of 10 information sources. They’ve looked at your website and blog and Facebook page. They’ve read reviews and solicited opinions on their own social channels. They’re more informed and more serious than yesterday’s consumers.

Using old skills in a new way

What does this mean for you? It means new challenges. You’ll be asked more probing questions. There’ll be fewer  What? questions and more Why? queries.

But social selling also offers new opportunities Just as your prospects can learn a great deal about your products before they approach you, social media sites open a window into their lives, too.

I believe that it’s actually quite an exciting time for our profession. Our ability to connect with people has become more critical than ever, and we have tools to help make that happen.

Stock images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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