Social selling exposes your business to a world of opportunity.
A Brit writes to me on social media and wants to discuss referral selling. An Aussie reaches out to confirm his understanding of American prospecting practices. (There really isn’t such a thing, but we try.) A Chinese woman connects with me on LinkedIn and then visits the States to begin a business conversation. Another Brit sees a post on Twitter and writes to ask if he can use my article for his presentation. We talk on Skype the next morning, and he introduces me to an entrepreneur who wants to learn about referrals. The entrepreneur is Croatian, and he helps me select places to visit on an upcoming trip.
These are all true stories of social media connections that turned into international business conversations—no passport required.
The Joy of Social Media
While social media is not the end-all, be-all for sales—and it absolutely will not do our jobs for us—it does offer endless possibilities to expand our networks, and connect with people around the world or right in our own backyards.
Not only does social media enable us to meet new people; it also offers opportunities to get back in touch with former colleagues, clients, and friends who could be potential customers or Referral Sources.
We don’t have excuses anymore for not staying connected. My client calls this “the joy of social media.” Reconnecting is powerful, because we have strong ties to the past. We’re interested in each other. We want to learn what’s happened in the intervening years—both personally and professionally.
Not a Stand-Alone Networking Strategy
Social media reminds us to catch up, learn what’s happening in people’s lives, find opportunities to start new conversations, and strengthen our relationships offline.
Relationships drive business and drive our economy. Unless you’re selling a commodity, people buy because of a relationship they have with you. Not with your company—with you. Ever have a Win/Loss debrief to ascertain why you won or lost business? I bet you won because the clients felt they could trust you and your team. You were “on the same side of the table.” And you wouldn’t have been at the table in the first place unless you had a solution.
Referral-based selling requires strong relationships. After all, you’ll only refer people who’ve paid you attention, who’ve nurtured and built relationships with you, and who’ve earned your trust. Why would your Referral Sources be any different?
As my colleague, Ernie Almonte, says: “All things being equal, we work with friends. All things not being equal, we work with friends. And when we need a specialist, we ask a friend.”
Social media is the place to begin a conversation, to begin a relationship. Then take your conversation offline and strengthen your ties.