Despite changes to our selling marketplace, too many sales professionals are rooted in beliefs about customer engagement that simply aren’t true.
That’s why today, I’m going to dispel the three big sales engagement myths.
Myth #1: Being on social media isn’t selling
It is. As I have explained previously, we still sell to people and people still buy from people. What’s changed is the People Vector: the direction and magnitude of how we do business with each other.
Don’t let anyone tell you social media in sales is a time waster. In an economy that’s connection-based, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube (among others) are the tools you use now to reach more people in less time. And more often than not, these tools are what you’re using today to reach many of your customers for the first time. In that sense, social media engagement is what’s replaced cold calling.
You don’t have to like social media. But you can’t ignore it. A recent study by the Miller Heiman Group confirms what many of us have noticed for years: selling without social gets you sunk. It found that organizations today who have low social-selling adoption rates aren’t just missing their sales quotas: they’re not even achieving average performance rates!
The results don’t lie: social sells. And often its applications are in ways that might surprise you.
Case in point: I have a client that sells services to financial institutions. They’ve used LinkedIn to create a private group for all customers, so they could share information and connections all in one forum. The customers love it because it’s convenient and it put them in direct contact with people who can answer their questions thoroughly without delay.
Myth #2: Sellers can avoid the telephone
Telephones are still important, but how they’re used has changed.
This is a point of contention for two groups of people: 1. younger sellers tend to view the phone almost as though it were an obsolete technology, and 2. seasoned sellers who are convinced that cold calling still works the way it always has (and boy did I hear from them on LinkedIn).
Both of these groups miss the point. The telephone isn’t going away anytime soon. Its role in sales remains vital. But, we don’t use to the phone to cold call anymore. We use it to reach out to those who have become warm leads, thanks to a first point of contact, on social media.
Case in point: an international trade-based client of mine was struggling with steadily dropping success rates on their cold calls. We implemented a new system: in cases where there’s no response after two attempts to call a prospect, send a LinkedIn connection request. As a result, their conversion ratio of conversations to opportunities improved by 40%.
Myth #3: Reaching out to prospects on social media is creepy
People wouldn’t be on social media if they wanted to remain anonymous.
While no one wants to be sold to, everyone wants to be noticed and seen. That’s why they’re on social media in the first place! This applies just as much to sellers as it does to customers.
Case in point: a consulting firm broadcasts weekly to thousands of followers via Facebook Live. An executive from a global shipping firm noticed one of the broadcasts and enjoyed the material that was covered so much that they called the firm directly to engage them directly. That consulting firm earned a new client.
What I’ve illustrated in these three myth busting examples is how engagement in sales is changing with the times. We use some tools differently than before. And newer tools are ones that we are still finding creative applications for in the selling process. In the next part of this series, we will look at specific actions you can take to engage your customer and sell like never before.