Don Fornes, Founder and CEO at Software Advice wrote a post back in October, 2010 on the B2Bsaleslounge blog that asked that question. After asking as many business people as I have could since that time, I have my answer to Don’s question.
Your prospects and clients have been using the social web for quite some time. They have been taking classes, either provided by the company or on their own. They have an active Twitter presence. They belong to Groups on LinkedIn focused on their industry, field and even trade associations amongst others. They know what they are looking for and they haven’t heard of you.
A previous post about sales reps being invisible made the point that as a sales rep, you are at a severe disadvantage, and I say, career-ending disadvantage if you are not in the social media game. You don’t need to be the world-record Tweeter, or have 30,000 LinkedIn connections (the limit allowed) to have success.
Your prospects already have one or more vendors in play, and probably have a favorite. They most likely already have a working relationship with them. You are hoping they will call you back or reply to your email because…?
If there is even the slightest interest in adding another sales person to their mix, I assure you they will do their homework. Before they pick up the phone to return your call. Before they ever hit reply to your email. Where are they searching? Just ask them.
I have been doing just that over the last few months and they most frequently respond with:
- Twitter (just a few mentions to date, but it is on their radar)
They are searching for both you and your company. If you work for Dell or HP, they know your company. The question is, do they know you, the person with whom they will be dealing.
From what I have observed, and from those that have been leaving comments on the blog, you, the sales person, are behind the 8-ball.
Do you think that all of these exciting “sales 2.0” web tools are being used just by sales people? Think again. If I was a buyer, IT Director or executive evaluating vendors, I would be using tools like PeopleMaps to discover if you and I share any mutual connections. Do I know your boss? Where did you go to school? How long have you been in your position. Has anyone recommended you? Do I know them? Do we have ANY connections in common that might be able to give me an inside view of you and your capabilities? What do they find when they enter your name into Google? Your LinkedIn profile or your long forgotten MySpace photos?
What will it take for you to get engaged?