This is the second part of a three part series about the right sales mind set for social media success. In the last blog post, part one of this series, I wrote about the importance of being a subject matter expert. This week, I will cover how to position that expertise to help a prospective customer decide to allow you to influence their buying decision.

Imagine this: some salespeople actually think that it is their job to sell something to somebody. Now I won’t say that this is entirely wrong, but it is the same as saying that a hockey players job is to score goals. Let me explain what I mean here:

It is true that salespeople (and those who have a vested interest in them) like it when sales are made, just like hockey players and fans like it when (their team) scores a goal – but focusing on the goal alone is not how you get there – in sales or hockey. Lets start with hockey.

On average, generally speaking, there are about 6 goals per game scored in an NHL hockey game. These goals age generated by 12 players (6 per side including goalie) during 60 minutes of play. Without getting into a lot of sports statistics, it is pretty clear that a lot is going on during those 60 minutes that is not goal scoring. So if the job of the hockey player is to score goals, most of them are not doing their job – hence the problem with defining the goal as the job – true for salespeople as well.

A more useful way for salespeople to think about their job is reflected in the second part of the definition offered in part one of this blog, originally from my book Mastering Your Sales Process:

“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.”

This second sentence in the definition goes a very long way in filling in the gaps between goals, as it were. It is what the salesperson should be doing to get to the goal. It encompasses all of the steps in the sales process in between prospecting and closing. It covers qualification, needs analysis, proposal and objections – the meaty part of the sales process!

This perspective – that the salespersons job is to help the customer make a good decision is not only very validating for the salesperson, but in fact it is what the customer really wants from us. Because we spend more time with our product or service than the client does, we should know more about it than they do. If we are doing our job well, we are helping the prospect to flesh out problems they need to solve and to come up with the right solutions.

If we do this with the expertise we defined in the first post on this topic, then the client feels really good about buying from us, and we reach our goal.

So what does all of this have to do with social media? Pretty much everything!

Social media experts and users go on at great length about the “fact” that in social media, hard sales tactics are not welcome. OK, maybe that’s true, but it is also clear that people use information that they find on the web and on social media sites to help them make decisions about lots of things, including what to buy and who to buy it from.

The sales definition of “an expert here to help” bridges the gap between what users want and expect from social media and what salespeople hope to get done there: starting the process of making a sale that is closable. The way to do that is by living both parts of the sales mindset we have discussed, and learning to embody that in your social media endeavors.

If you are trying to sell using social media, then the thing you are trying to earn as a result of your efforts as the “expert here to help” is trust. Trust is arguably the currency of commerce in social media marketing. We’ll talk more about that in the final post in this series next week.

****************************************************

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!

-David