Too many times the word “selling” implies talking or presenting ideas and products to a prospect/customer. It follows then that the perception of those new to the social selling concept would think that this is just tweeting and posting all about their product or service until someone responds. It that is your perception, then you will miss one of the biggest advantages of becoming a social selling practitioner.
Using social selling tools to listen for opportunities has the potential to yield fast results.
Not posting, not tweeting, not making videos or slide shows, but listening. Listening for signals of opportunity, for a door being opened that wasn’t open yesterday.
I have observed that one of the ways that all of us are using social media is as a complaint platform. If we are disappointed in the quality of service we receive, the fastest way to express our disappointment is to take to Twitter or Facebook. If a product we purchase does not meet our expectation, we write a review. For most of us it is the best way to let everyone we are connected with know that they should be aware or even stay away. Is this your experience as well?
How does this help in my social selling endeavors? Each of us in sales has prospects that we have tried to engage with that simply are not interested in hearing what we have to say. They say they already have a vendor, or they are happy with their current supplier. They are not interested in changing at this time, and don’t have the time to even meet for lunch. I’ve heard them all during my sales career. These might be one of the more challenging objections to handle in sales.
Social media can open that door that has remained closed. An experienced social seller understands the power of listening for indications that a proverbial door might be cracking open just a bit.
A fictitious example we can probably all relate to might be helpful.
I am a customer of an Internet Provider and have been for several years. When a sales person contacts me about their internet offers, I tell them “not interested” and that I am very happy with the service I have. Lower price – not interested. Too much effort and risk to change. Good-bye.
One morning, my internet is not working. Ok, so I go to me smartphone and check the status online, or call customer service. I am told that they are aware of the problem and working on it. Disappointing, but these things happen. A few hours later and no change. I call again, and after a much longer hold time, learn that they are not yet sure what the problem is, but it will be resolved by noon.
At 2:30 that afternoon, my productivity is down to zero, I am frustrated and still no update. When I call to customer service now, I get a recording or no answer because of “unusual call volume”. Now I am a bit agitated. I grab my smartphone and check on twitter to ask my connections if they are having the same problem. I then tweet that the service I am receiving is very poor, especially after being a customer for so long.
That evening I am posting my Facebook friends about the miserable service from my internet provider and that I really need to look around.
You get the idea. Twitter, Facebook, they all have these types of posts each day, every day. Before social media, there is no way that a competitor would have found out about the frustration, or been able to act upon this opportunity quickly.
By “listening” for these openings due to disappointment, lack of service or unfulfilled expectations within social media. you can learn of the opportunities and offer your help in an appropriate way based on this information.
IMPORTANT: I don’t suggest that you go in pushing your wares at this point. I do find that the opportunity to begin a conversation, to get an appointment and to gain an open ear where there was not one in the past is very real though and is worth acting on.
Sometimes the greatest opportunities can come from using our listening skills and tools, rather than talking our way through our sales day.
Do you have an example of using your social selling skills to listen for new opportunities? Share them as comments below.