Much of the discussion revolving around social sales talks about how you can leverage social media to increase your selling effectiveness. This is predicated on the formula … I’m on LinkedIn + he’s on LinkedIn = sale (b.t.w., it’s not that simple). What if he is not on LinkedIn, or Twitter, or Facebook, or … nothin’?
The good news is that, even in this worst-case scenario, you can still use your social media skills and tools to reach out to these people! But first …
While your prospect may appear to not be using social media, this can be a dangerous assumption. You will want, and need, to verify this first.
- Email addresses remain one of the important glues that hold the social networks together and many people will use one email address for work but a different personal address for social networking. Therefore, be sure to perform a good solid search on each of the main social networks.
- A simple Google search using that person’s name and city will often turn up most, if not all, of their social profiles.
- Tools like Rapportive (Gmail), Xobni (Outlook), and Nimble Social CRM are quite adept at discovering social network profiles based on that person’s name and email address.
- Their personal or company website, assuming that they have one, may also reveal social profiles.
- Just because they are not on your social network of choice, this does not mean that they are not on their social network of choice. You need to be Gumby-flexible and fish where the fish are.
- Ask them. The quickest way to an accurate answer can most often be obtained by going directly to the source.
They will, and you can …
- Use the internet for research – While you might not be able to find them, they can still see you. Do you blog? Even if your prospect is not using social media this does not mean that they are not using the internet and they are not talking to their friends as a part of their buying process (they are and their friends could well be using social networking). Statistics ranging from 70% to 90% point to the fact that business people are using the internet to research products and services, and may have even made a buying decision, prior to ever even contacting a supplier, and you need to be able to leverage this fact!
- Reach them via email – Do you send them helpful information? It’s easy to do. Get yourself a good reader like Feedly. Subscribe to articles from relevant websites that would feature the kinds of topics that would be important to them, and then create a folder(s) on your reader for “Clients”. You can then easily email them links to great articles. Personally, I take my Feedly and sync it with Mr. Reader on my iPad which allows me to email complete articles (dependent on the source) vs. links alone.
- Use Clearly or printfriendly to create full article PDFs – Both are available as Chrome extensions and each can create a nicely formatted PDF article from any webpage that you can then email to your client. I personally think that complete articles are more effective. They demonstrate thoughtfulness.
Regardless of whether you are emailing an article or a link, be sure to include a subject line along with a brief message … “Jim, I found this article on widget building that I thought might be of interest to you. Have a great day!”
Why not …
- Invite them to your preferred social network and share with them why they might want to join – Don’t just send them a template invitation. Why not send them a short personalized email that points out reasons why they might wish to join and offer to help them to get started. Include a link to the sign-up page.
- Offer to help them to navigate the social rivers – Can you say … value-add? One of the most difficult challenges for salespeople is figuring out ways that we can become more indispensable to our important clients. We want, and need, to provide as much separation as possible between us and those competitors that may be nipping at our heels. This is a great way to move up from vendor to trusted advisor!
- Find and send them opportunities and potential connections – Regardless of whether or not they choose to participate in any social network, this does not mean that you cannot use your social ninja skills to find and share new opportunities and connections with them that will have a positive effect on their bottom-lines.
This does not mean that …
- They won’t come around – If you have uploaded your contact lists to the social networks, most will alert you if and when a new contact joins that service.
- Your prospects are not on social media – It only mean that this prospect, or your traditional contacts, are not on social media.
To the second point … this was my first big mistake. While it may seem obvious to most, I failed to realize that social media had the power to take me outside of, and beyond, my traditional centers of influence and to introduce me to a much larger pool of potential customers. This was in addition to my non-social contacts who I could continue to service traditionally albeit with a more advanced set of tools.
This rule holds true regardless of any geographic limitation. I live in a fairly small town and I have worked this town for over 30 years. I liked to think that I was pretty well-connected. The simple fact is that I was only well-connected to those in my circles and, as it turned out, there were plenty of other circles in this city (still are) that did not include me. Go figure. LinkedIn’s new “How you are connected” tool (still being rolled out to users) can greatly assist you in expanding those circles.
How about you? How have you dealt with the issue of your prospects having not yet embraced social networking?