How has social media changed consultative selling?

“Business is social.  So my number one tip for impressing our recruiters is connect and interact with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter” says Monika Fahlbusch, SVP of Global Employee Success at Salesforce.com.

We have far more advanced tools than ever to find information about anyone.  For the right price you can buy software to provide detailed information about anyone you want to meet, including their friends and spouses.  I was recently on a phone call with a colleague of mine discussing a potential job candidate. He paused and said, “Let me check their LinkedIn page before calling them.”

There’s no where to hide anymore. You really can’t afford to. Social connectivity can make or break your personal brand, help you get to know your clients or prospects better, and can even get you that dream job. If you’re in sales and service, social media is critical to your success:

“Social media allows for a 360 degree view of the customer with so many more touch points to the customer and interaction it is easier to get a full view of what the customer needs and wants.” ~ Bryan Apgar, Associate Vice President of Sales and Business Development, www.websitealive.com.

People expect you to know more about them than in previous years.  With LinkedIn and company websites, one should never ask a prospect, “What do you do? How did you get to this position?” or “Please tell me about your company.”

Let’s get personal

I retrieved this email from my deleted folder. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Hello Ben,

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to follow up on an email that was sent to you earlier regarding Clueless.

Clueless is a global leader in support software. Our tool, Clue-On enables you to create, manage and deliver content in multiple formats with one click. I have attached some general information for your review.

I would like to schedule a quick call to chat with you about our product and see if it might benefit you and your organization. Would you be open to discussing this?

Thank you,

Bill Smith
Account Executive
Clueless, www.cluelesssoftware.com
254.710.5555
bsmith@cluelesssoftware.com

Bill is sending hundreds of these emails a day hoping five people will respond.  He only personalized by changing my first name. Bill even asked the dreaded open-ended question.  If Bill mentioned what I do, some potential challenges I may face, or even searched LinkedIn to find a mutual connection, I would have responded.

With so much information available it only tells me Bill and his company are too clueless or lazy to use it.  I doubt I’d ever respond to this company in the future.

” Teams need to do everything within their power to provide outstanding customer service because one bad experience can be exacerbated when released in the digital and social media world.” ~ Jeff Eldersveld, Director of CRM and Analytics, Columbus Blue Jackets

What to do?

In this environment of social connectivity and transparency I recommend:

  • Be different.  Emails and texts are common, personal touches make a big impact.
  • Dig deeper.  Know your client or prospect and ask them questions you can’t read in their LinkedIn profile.
  • Care about your personal brand.  Be sure you are up to date on how you want your brand to be perceived.
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