Can social selling really affect your bottom line?
I believe that connectedness is a key driver of business growth. But, I know that it can be hard for sellers to see the direct effects of social networking on sales growth. Last week during my 2014 Sales Kick Off with Nth Generation and HP, I got the chance to share my early experience on Foursquare with a group of sellers.
As we were moving through my content on social selling, I asked how many people in the room were familiar with Foursquare. As expected, fewer than 50% raised their hands. I started to explain and the eyes started to roll. Also expected. Producers could care less about checking in – they want to close sales.
So I shared one of my social selling experiences that I thought would resonate.
In 2010, I was experimenting with the location-sharing service Foursquare. One day, I happened to check in at a Radisson Hotel in Milwaukee the evening before I was delivering a keynote at the Milwaukee Zoo.
Because I had connected my Foursquare account to Twitter, the following tweet went out:
This isn’t ground-breaking sales strategy, and I know that most people don’t really care that I happened to be in Milwaukee for an event. However, there was one important exception and moments after checking in, I got a response on Twitter:
Aaron and I are old college buddies and we hadn’t seen each other in years, so it was great to get his note. The exchange continued:
The conversation moved to Facebook, where we connected and made plans.
Fast forward to 2014, and to the room where I was telling this story. Aaron is the Vice President of Channel Sales for HP and half of the room works on his team. That online exchange in 2010 reconnected us and I quickly realized we would work together. The Sales Kick Off to start this year was the first event Aaron and I had the opportunity to partner on, but it won’t be the last. He has already provided introductions that are leading to new opportunities – including a return visit to our alma mater this spring to keynote the Ohio University Schey Sales Centre annual symposium. Go Bobcats!
Should you start checking in on Foursquare to drive sales? Not necessarily.
My point is that it pays to connect people to your thinking, your experiences and, potentially, even to your real-time whereabouts to create some ambient awareness of what you’re up to. Sharing online creates opportunity. The opportunities that come my way from staying connected aren’t isolated to these events with Aaron, either. In fact, my opportunities sourced through these new channels are growing exponentially and I can tell you from my own experience that social selling is certainly worth the time and effort. It levels the playing field for small and mid-sized organizations and affords opportunities to connect in the kind of authentic, real-time way that advances relationships.
Aaron is the fourth college friend to hire me in the last 24 months. I know he won’t be the last. For example, the friend Aaron references in his note on Facebook (Norris) just so happens to be the Vice President of Sales for a very large company in Chicago. Extend those connections to the networks of people they both know and the business development opportunities are limitless.
Connectedness and curiosity drive business growth.
As the sales landscape continues to evolve, producers need to identify new ways to connect with target organizations and earn the time and attention of decision makers. We also need to show up informed. The onus is on us to stay current and connected. Otherwise, we run the risk of finishing second to someone who simply embraced new opportunities and technology to move the market.
Ryan Estis & Associates is a training and development organization helping companies, leaders, sales people and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance in the new economy. We offer keynotes, live classroom training and online learning that blends interaction, energy and actionable content designed to elevate performance. Contact us for programming inquiries and assistance determining the curriculum that could best support your learning and development objectives.
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.