Don’t get me wrong…achieving monthly sales objectives are important. If there are no sales then ultimately there is no business to run. I’ve been a sales professional for close to 30-years and a business owner for almost 10, so I get it. Consistent revenue flowing in the door month after month is a must. Here’s what worries me though. This short-term focus leads many sales reps to ignore some of the basic fundamentals of selling in a social sales world. I know this because of the steady stream of unsolicited sales pitches I receive on a daily basis.
Don’t Abuse the Medium
A phrase that I’m fond of using is “Just because you can, that doesn’t mean that you should.” As the world of sales continues to evolve and transform as a result of the widespread use of social media, many sales professionals need to take a crash course in online etiquette. Sending potential buyers a spam sales pitch is akin to a cold call only worse. With voice mail, your message leaving time is typically pretty short, but when you send email you can go on forever about how grand your product is service is and believe me…many do.
Relationship First, Selling Second
If sales teams aren’t producing consistently, perhaps the answer isn’t in pushing them to “work harder”. Let’s face it folks… activity should never be confused with sales effectiveness. Insisting that your sales reps make 100 cold calls per day is activity, but is it truly effective? Though many old school sales folks will respond with a resounding – yes, cold calling works – the reality is that cold calling doesn’t work and adds expense to the sales cycle to boot. To me, it seems a bit delusional to think that calling 100 strangers whose business you know nothing about will lead to anything meaningful from a sales perspective. The same goes for sending your peeps out into the world telling them to “go bang on doors”. Seriously?
Social media provides a unique opportunity for today’s social sales professional. Instead of banging on doors, sending spam email or calling 100 strangers, why not put that time to better use? To improve your sales close ratio, what if..
- You created a target list of the top 50 companies that you want to do business with and you used tools like LinkedIn or InsideView to learn more about their people and their business BEFORE making that first connection.
- You looked for ways to do something of benefit for the prospects that you are targeting without asking for anything in return? Use LinkedIn to share industry presentations, articles, white papers or perhaps send a sales lead their way.
- You understood that you get ONE chance to make a solid connection and a great impression. Don’t blow it by sending people the same old boring sales spam email that you just sent to everyone else.
Fix the Right Thing
When sales are off, please avoid the temptation to insist that your sales people just “do more”. Doing more of what already isn’t working will not lead to different results. Einstein defined that as insanity.
If you want different results – do something differently!