Chuck Terry
Chuck Terry
I recently came across a study by a group called Sales Commando. The study, conducted in the United States, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates, stated that 54 percent of businesses indicated they were focusing on attracting clients through social media channels such as LinkedIn. It seemed that interpersonal selling skills were not as much of an area of emphasis as in the past.

Wow, is that scary! Are we really moving to a world where thumb dexterity could be viewed as a sales competency that is more important than the ability to ask good questions? I certainly don’t believe that. The ability to leverage social media is becoming more of a factor in selling for one simple reason; people prefer to make buying decisions that are guided by other people they trust. Trust is only built through human connection and interaction. Don’t just take my word for that; check out this video by bestselling author Simon Sinek.

There will always be a huge need for improving interpersonal skills in selling, yet every day social media admittedly impacts our lives a bit more. Mobile web browsing has risen from 1.9 percent of our time two years ago to 4.9 percent and is projected to increase 50 percent over the next four years. A large percentage of that time is spent on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to name a few.

How can sales professionals make the most of social media in their selling efforts? Here are three tips:

Develop a Plan — Setting up an account on Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social site is not a plan; it is a first step. The first choice you need to make is which mediums you want to concentrate on. The easy way to decide is to answer the question: Where do your target customers spend their time? Pick two mediums where your potential customers are found and allocate adequate time each week to really work your plan. My suggestion would be no less than two hours per week.

Get Involved — An element of your social selling plan should be to decide upon what you will actually do to maximize your time each week. At a minimum, you should join appropriate groups and get involved in discussions. If all you do is join a group and post your own personal commercial each week, don’t expect to see results. It takes a time to build credibility by contributing insightful comments and adding value through what you contribute to the group. This also applies to anything business related you post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other site. Before you post anything always ask yourself, “Why would anyone care?”

Include a Blog Strategy — Blogging is one of the most effective means of expanding your influence and reach through social media. Writing a blog that has interest to your targeted prospects and customers can build credibility and generate interest in your products and services. Sites such as Wordpress make this process so simple anyone can easily be up and running in about 15 minutes.

Publication date: 9/9/2013

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