At a recent conference, we found one of our clients skillfully networking and working the room. They were doing a fantastic job and garnering some good leads despite a luke warm attendee list at the conference. When Marty spoke with them, he noticed that they didn’t have any social information for him to connect with the sales people online. After returning, he wrote the business to let them know and they were honest and said their sales team wasn’t really that social.
You have to be kidding me.
While LinkedIn may seem like a chore, Facebook may seem like it’s for college kids and even the word tweeting may sound ridiculous, these are the biggest online conferences that you can find. There are billions of people online with hundreds looking for your products and services on any given day, asking about your company, and willing to engage online more than they would offline.
Industry groups on LinkedIn, Industry pages on Facebook, Tweetups, live Twitter sessions and hashtags on Twitter offer an incredible opportunity for your sales team to network, build credibility, and find prospects online. Why in the world you would spend thousands of dollars to build a booth and send your sales team to a conference… but ignore social media? That’s just plain nuts nowadays. Nuts.
Here’s some tips to get your sales teams on Twitter:
- Have a social media policy in place and ensure your sales representatives know what and who they are allowed and not allowed to speak about online.
- Fully fill out your profile and add a real photo. You may even ask your company to have a custom landing page just for your sales representative!
- Search industry groups on LinkedIn. Join the groups with many members that have lots of activity. Add value to the conversation.
- Do not sell! You wouldn’t walk up to someone at a conference and offer them a 14 day trial… don’t do it on social media. You have to supply value and build a relationship with your network offline to close business and it’s no different online.
- Avoid controversy. Religion, politics, questionable humor – all of it can get you in trouble in the office and it can absolutely get you in trouble online. And online is permanent!
- Don’t badmouth the competition. It’s tasteless and will cost you business. It may even embarrass you as their happy clients and customers come to their rescue and begin taking swings at you.
- Provide support. It’s not enough to forward people to your customer service page. Taking personal responsibility to ensure a problem is handled properly and keeping a client happy will give the network a great impression of you and how much you care about your clients.
- Don’t just connect with prospects. Follow your competition so you can learn more about them, their strategies and their community. Follow industry thought leaders who may help introduce you to your network. Follow your clients and promote their work. Then follow prospects to get to know them.
If your sales strategy is to wait for inbound leads, dial through lead lists, and wait for the next conference to collect business cards, you’re severely limiting your opportunities to sell where the demand is. The demand for your products and services are online right now. The conversations are happening with or without you… or worse – with your competitors. You should be in those conversations. You should be getting those sales.