Social media is an essential tool in the consultative selling process. However, it is important to recognize that social media is not, by its nature, a business tool. The primary purpose of social media is to facilitate social interactions. The entire medium is designed around this premise.
At first glance, this may seem like a deterrent. If you look more closely, you’ll see that the nature of social media makes it a perfect complement to your consultative selling process. Your end goal is to find people who need your services. Providing those services requires interaction. Your start goal is to prove to people that your interactions-and therefore your services-are valuable. You do this by interacting with them and social media gives you the opportunity to do so.
How do you keep the premise of social media in mind while you actively prospect for new clients? You get back to the basics. Think about how you use social media in your personal life. You make friends and acquire followers. You comment, chat, and IM. Now, you’ve just got to apply what you know within the sphere of your business operations.
Put a professional spin on your personal social media activities:
First, set a goal to make X new contacts each day. Interact with them. Ask them questions. Listen to their answers. And, if the opportunity arises, feed them the link that will direct them to your sales process. (Note: If you don’t have a link to feed them, then you’re doing things out of order. You need a sales funnel to feed people into in order to use social media effectively.)
Second, interact with your current friends and followers. You have accumulated people and businesses (whose accounts are managed by people) who are interested in your business. Pick X of your friends and followers each day and interact with them one on one. Check out their feeds. Comment on their posts. Retweet the best of what they have to offer. And, if the opportunity arises, feed them your link.
You don’t create opportunities to feed prospects into your consultative selling process using social media. You find them. So, start looking and start listening. If you want to use social media as an organic part of your consultative selling process, then you need to listen to what people are saying and respond appropriately. To do the latter, you have to start with the former.
Few people are good at listening. It’s something most of us have to work on. We get caught up in our own heads, thinking about what we’ll say next, looking for that golden opportunity to hook our prospect, thinking about what’s for dinner, remembering what our boss said or our upcoming anniversary or our overflowing in-box, thinking until we’re so busy trying to remember what to say next that we couldn’t possibly
Wait, what were you saying?
So, yes, listening is hard, but it’s also effective. You see, most people who are on social media, including the people you’re trying to reach, are there for their own self-interested reasons. The fact is that you are, too. You’re not looking for products or services to buy. If you were, you’d go out and find what you wanted.
If you want to get others’ attention and if you want to learn what it will take to get them interested in your services, then you start by giving them your attention. They’re there because they want to be heard. So, listen! If you listen long enough, they’ll tell you what you need to know to reach them.
Marketing and selling, at its most ideal, is an act of pure service. You are serving your customers by providing them with the information they need to get what they want. In order to know what they want and why, specifically, they would want your services, you have to listen to them.
Listening is the key because, when that golden opportunity arises, you’ll hear it and you’ll be ready and able to respond: “I have a solution to that!” or “I know what you need!” or “Have you ever tried..?” But if you’re not listening, you’ll miss it. And the moment will pass.