In my blog post on January 13, I asked the questions “Does Social Media Marketing Work”. My answer was that it works best when it is driven by great content.
But what is “great content” in the context of sales? In other words, if your goal is to use social media to sell more of your product or service, what kind of content qualifies as “great”, especially towards reaching that goal?
I’ll attempt to answer that questions over the next three blog posts – why three? Well, the answer breaks up neatly into three pieces, and the answer is too long for a single blog post – even by my “anything under 1000 character is OK” standards! So here is part one: Why demonstrating that you are an expert matters.
In my book, Mastering Your Sales Process, I spent a few pages talking about the “right sales mindset” and why it is important. That right mindset is as follows:
“I am an expert in my field. My job is to help qualified prospects make good decisions about solving problems using my product or service.”
Before we start to take this apart, let’s get back to the question at hand – why is this the right mindset for sales success in social media?
Anyone who is using social media that might wind up buying from you as a result of doing so, is probably collaborating with others and evaluating multiple sources of information before making a decision. As such, you COULD position yourself in a corporate communications style of one-way, marketing speak (look at our great products, they do these cool things, etc.). This is the mode of communications that you see in commercials, corporate web sites, etc. However, it is not the right approach for social media.
In social media, it is best to not sell, but rather to help customers buy (arguably true outside of social media as well!). Consumers have become accustomed to hearing companies talk about how great their products are, and in the right context, that is accepted (although it may or may not be believed at face value). Social media is a different kind of communications venue in that allows two-way communication, and fosters more of a “discussion” format as opposed to a “presentation”. In a presentation, saying that you are great is usually not contested, if it is even possible (yelling at a TV commercial doesn’t count). In the midst of a conversation, it is not considered polite (or effective) to talk about how terrific you and your stuff might be.
So what does happen in a conversation that helps engender trust? In a conversation, a person who is an expert on the topic at hand will demonstrate their expertise by the content of their part of the conversation. If the topic is cardiovascular surgery, and you are talking with a cardiovascular surgeon, it will become clear during the course of the conversation that the surgeon has some idea what they are talking about, even if (especially if?) they don’t tell you how great they are at it. Rather, they demonstrate their expertise by addressing the subject knowledgeably. They demonstrate this to you by the way they engage in the two-way dialogue you are having.
If you want to have credibility about a subject in a dialogue, you must demonstrate, not announce your expertise in a subject matter. Once you have done so, you have made an important step towards having the ability to influence your dialogue partner. If they believe that you know what you are talking about regarding a subject that matters to them, and they are inclined to take action, they just might listen to an expert like you.
Step one in generating great content in the context of sales via social media is to embody the first part of our sales mind set: to demonstrate that you are indeed a subject matter expert regarding the subject at hand.
Step two – the subject of next weeks blog – will focus on how to position your expertise to help the prospective customer decide to allow you to influence their buying decision.
Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)
So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.
If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:
The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.
Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.
The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.
If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.
Here’s to your success!