There is no business without sales.
Think about it: if you have the production, the employees, and the inventory, but the latter is not going anywhere; you do not have a business.
So, how do you generate sales?
The old school book on generating sales is filled with images of door-to-door vendors and cold callers. That foot in the door approach has lost some steam but has never come to a full stop. In the B2B world, the instructions are fairly simple: pick up the phone and call an executive, earn their trust, build a relationship, establish yourself and your company as an industry expert, and pitch an idea. All of this needs to be done in the minutes before they hang up.
But what if there was another way? Do not get me wrong, cold calling is a practice with a long history of success that is unlikely to disappear. I was just wondering if there is another way to do it. It turns out social selling can provide an alternative.
No matter where you stand on social media, it is undeniable that it has dramatically expanded our capacity to connect and reconnect with a large portion of the global population. In simple terms, social selling refers to the practice of using social media (in the B2B space, that pretty much reads, “LinkedIn”) to reach, listen, connect, and manage relationships with prospects. In even simpler terms, it refers to the use of social media to warm up those cold relationships.
In the list above of things to accomplish in the two-minute cold call, social selling could take care of establishing yourself and your company as an industry expert, thereby increasing trust. Using social selling allows you to be more focused on the right prospect by listening to their interests, aspirations, challenges, and goals. It also allows you to build a personal brand by writing original content and interjecting in existing conversation with value-add insights. Finally, it provides a chance to stay in touch with your “Not now, but maybe later” prospects.
Does that mean that you won’t need need to talk to prospects anymore? Or that the process will get faster (akin to picking up a pack of mints at the cashier desk)? Probably not. B2B decisions are getting more complex and informed. You will need to show what the relationship with you would make possible, how you will develop that into an actionable opportunity, what actions are needed on both sides and how you will solve interruptions in your commitments. But none of that is possible without a strong foundation of relationship. And social selling is a strong weapon in your sale arsenal to build those important relationships that will help you achieve what you’re up to in the world. In other words, what we’re all up to.