In search of inspiration, I cracked open my copy of Re-imagine! I haven’t read it in some time, but I couldn’t help smiling as I turned the pages. Tom Peters is at his ranting best as he sounds the wake up alarm for businesses and individuals alike. Published in 2003, it is almost a little spooky to read Tom’s predictions about the future (many have come to pass already) about things like personal branding, HR, supply chain management, the web, talent attraction and development, or the value of running departments like accounting as internal professional service firms. In the wake of 9/11, Tom’s book challenges us to re-envision what is possible. The visual impact of the Re-Imagine! and Tom’s prophetic words make this book a must read for anyone looking to reinvent themselves or their businesses.
We are living in an age of what many innovation experts are calling “disruption”. What a perfect word to describe what’s happening at this very moment.
This much needed disruption is shaking us out of our comfort zones forcing us to fundamentally re-think what we know about business – or thought we did. Similar to when we moved from an agrarian society to an industrial one, we are faced with a transition unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, some people and businesses are going to struggle with this disruption more than others.
Business owners and sales people must consider how this disruption changes the way they approach the sales process and devise strategies for addressing it. How you get attention with your potential customers when they are so overwhelmed with choices will all start with creating “value” in a virtual world with people you may never actually meet. Creating online relationships that will lead to closing sales is going to require that 3 things happen:
- You have a plan and a purpose for what you are doing.
- You choose the right tool(s) to support your sales goals.
- You LEARN and USE the tools consistently day in and day out.
As you begin to join in on group and online community discussions like you’ll find on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you will have to understand that you don’t “sell” while joining in on the conversation. Instead of talking about what you or your product does; you will be demonstrating your expertise and industry knowledge as you share your tips, advice, information and helpful hints with others without expecting anything in return.
How sales people will uncover opportunities, research trends, keep on top of their competition and network completely changes the way the game is played. And they must also be realistic in their expectations, because social media is not a “quick fix” nor does it bring you sales overnight. Like great offline selling, it takes time to build the relationships that lead to closing business.
While you won’t get rich overnight as you embark down the social media path, you can’t afford not to get started right now. The train has already left the station, so you need to get moving to catch up!