In the traditional sales model, we identify our prospects and then use several tactics to get in front of them, qualify them and ultimately sell them. But what about all the other potential users of your product or service that you don’t know about? Yes, some of them may find you through a referral or get on your website, but there are many more that may not ever know that you exist.
In most cases, especially for manufacturers who are selling more complicated products, there is a sales funnel you need to take folks through before they are ready to buy. That’s great, but that only works if you’ve identified the potential sale.
Think of social media as your silent salesman. It’s out there bird dogging for you and taking a potential through some of the initial stages of the selling cycle.
Social media is a great way to connect with prospective buyers because they will find you based on what they are searching for (what kind of problem they are looking for a solution for) on the web. It allows you, not only to connect, but to start a conversation. It allows them to get a better feeling for the company and how you go about helping people. In other words, you start building the know, like and trust model that comes with any sale, especially to new potentials.
Social media is a great way to educate prospective buyers because of all the tools you have available: YouTube, SlideShare, Blogs, Forums. All are platforms for you to add value to the conversations by giving them great content, and it starts establishing you as an expert they can count on.
Social media is a great way to collaborate with potential buyers because of the tools like GoToMeeting, Google Hangout or other technologies that allow you to connect almost immediately to help answer a question or show them how to fix a problem. There are even listening platforms, like HooteSuite, radian6 and others that will help you monitor conversations around the areas you want to be in, and you can contribute at the appropriate time.
So don’t just do business as usual. Think outside the box and give social a try. You might be surprised as you might eventually identify themselves as a potential new customer that was never on your radar screen.
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