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5 Reasons to Use Social Media for Selling

Surprisingly I see much written about social media marketing: spreading brand awareness, reaching target groups, pushing out promotions, even efficient customer service. But one thing that is seldom discussed is the use of social media by sales professionals.

And why not? After all, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ are just communications channels. They serve the same purpose as the telephone, networking conferences or even the front door of a prospective customer. Despite all the high-tech hype, social media is just another way for a sales person to contact and then interact with potential buyers. Here are five reasons why you should consider incorporating social media into your sales process:

  1. It beats cold calling. Cold calling is the traditional technique for hungry, driven sales people. But the effectiveness of this brute force technique is drastically declining. A recent study by Baylor University’s Center for Research found that for every for every 330 cold calls, only one appointment resulted. Social media allows for a gradual, more comfortable warming than a jarring cold call. Rather than knocking on a prospect’s door as a stranger, you can pass in the street, say hello, engage in conversation and gradually win the comfort and trust of the prospect.
  2. You will have an edge over your competitors. According to a recent Harvard Business School survey, only 12% of companies are including the sales team in social media planning. That means that you can have a distinct edge over competing company sales reps as you listen and respond to questions and requests over social media channels.
  3. You get to be a fly on the wall. Everyone is using social media: your customers, your prospects, even your competitors. And they are constantly talking, about what they like, and what is a huge hassle. All that chatter is real information… and much more efficient than eavesdropping on a few conversations at a networking event.
  4. You have a better chance of being at the right place at the right time. With social media you get to be right where your prospects are, listening to what matters most to them. When a prospect complains via social media, they are far more likely to engage with a salesperson who responds to that frustration rather than a cold call product pitch.
  5. You can influence early (rather than defend later) in the buying process. Today, buyers spend far more time researching and moving through the buying process before they engage vendors. Much of the buyer’s journey leverages social media. Social selling allows sales people to engage buyers much earlier in their journey. You get to help shape the solution to the problem rather than being forced to respond as just another “vendor” later in the sales process – where you are evaluated largely on price.

Do you use social media in your selling process? What have been your successes and frustrations? Share in the Comments section below.

Jeanne RossommePresident, RoadMap Marketing
Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish. | @roadmapmarketin | More from Jeanne

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Discussion (6) Comment

  1. Joe WoznyVisitor

    I’m already getting solicited on my social media feeds. Right now most of the selling is not really that professional and mostly for items that I’d never purchase. Few people really engage with a meaningful conversation that could lead to a sales opportunity. Id’ be interested to hear your perspective on when & how actual selling is done vs listening and eves dropping.
    Joe Wozny
    Author of The Digital Dollar

    • Jeanne RossommeAuthor

      I agree completely Joe! The real success stories I hear are after several interactions where trust and rapport are established. Then the recipient feels you are solving their problem rather than cold calling.

  2. Bill LombardiVisitor

    Jeanne, I like the integration suggestion. Can you point me to vendors that you may have used that aid in the social media mining space. I have seen demo’s from Attensity around text mining, wondering if thee are low cost solutions for new or budding businesses you may have come across.

    • Jeanne RossommeAuthor

      I have not heard yet Bill of any tools but the key is on knowing what prospects are saying to trigger they are looking for help. If you have any tips, I would love to hear them!

  3. Great tips Jeanne, I certainly agree with them all, and there are so many more to add. I have been practicing and teaching the art of Social Selling for many years. I value the fact you can gain credibility faster from personal branding, listening and as you say influencing the conversation with relevant, helpful information. Not just from the start but any stage of the buying process. A question for you – Do you think the 9-5 sales role will change to a more 24-7 state?

    • Jeanne RossommeAuthor

      Yes Ben I think you will agree that the lines are definitely blurring between work vs non-work hours and personal vs professional personas. It is both an opportunity and a pressure to stay engaged.


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