Why Social Media Selling is not about Finding Prospects to Cold Call

By Nigel Cliffe

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If you throw enough mud, some of it will stick

There are quite a few sales people that I have met who believe that there is only one way to meet their targets. That way is to phone as many people as possible.

Most of these salespeople have no time for social media. However, some have embraced it as an excellent way to build contact lists. They spend time researching as many names and numbers as possible from social media platforms. Social media has become their new telephone directory.

It is certainly true that you can use social media in this way. However, I believe there is a far more powerful way for salespeople to use social media.

Social media is a great way to create warm prospects

Sales people that use social media to create warm prospects are more likely to create great relationships with them. That means they are more likely to control a powerful sales pipeline. So they have a better chance of achieving both their company and personal goals.

Sales people that use social media simply to get names to call will have to put in a lot more work to achieve their goals. Search and call all comes down to a game of numbers.

So how do you create warm prospects from social media?

Make sure people have a reason to connect with you

I am always surprised at the number of dull job titles I see on social media. If you say that you are the Sales Manager for XYZ Company, it doesn’t really tell me anything.

It’s much better to say that you help someone like me with my business challenges. Then I am much more likely to want to engage with you. So consider a better description of you on social media. For instance, “I help people in the event industry increase attendance at their shows”.

However, once you have connected with people you still need to keep their interest. Here’s a strategy to do that.

Post interesting content

Give people a reason to stay engaged with you. The best way to do this is to post information that will be interesting to them.

There is an important thing to remember about this strategy. If you want to be interesting to people, post information about them, not you. That means less articles about your company.

The best way to make sure you are posting the right information for people is to ask them what they would like. You may be surprised at the results.

Remember, posting information on its own is not enough.

Engage with people

Make sure you actually have conversations with people. Ask them questions on Twitter. Post comments on their profiles. And be sure to reply to any comments they make to you.

I have many “virtual” conversations like this. Often the prospect actually makes the first move and contacts me to take things further.

Even if you are making the first move, you’re now contacting a warm prospect. It’s a very different scenario from making a cold call.

These three strategies can lead to powerful sales results

One print company I know contacted 30 people that they had engaged with. This has already resulted in five new clients. They expect to gain quite a few more as well.

Naturally, you won’t get instant results like this. It takes time to get the point when you have these conversations. You need to start putting these strategies into action.

Here are three action points you can get going with straightaway

  • Review your profiles on social media – will they make prospects want to connect with you?
  • Research interesting articles. Ask your best customers the sort of information they would like to read about.
  • Start a conversation with three connections this week.

Start connecting on social media. Remember, it is so much more than a way to create a list of people to cold call.

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