“Facebook is the best arena for business to consumer sales,” Francis says. “LinkedIn is the appropriate platform for sales of business-to-business products or services, and Twitter can be employed for all kinds of sales.”Francis says you needn’t limit yourself to the three big social networking sites. Blogs, live chats and comment sections on websites are also great places to generate leads. “You can really find prospects any place online where a relevant conversation is happening.”Find out where your market is having conversations first, and then go there, Fouts says.
Step No. 3: Connect
Friend, follow or connect with individuals with profiles that match your clients’. How? Conduct a search on each social networking website or use a resource like socialmention.com to find people who are talking about your industry or using related keywords, Fouts says. Then comment on their posts, “retweet” them, answer a question or share something they say. By contributing to their conversation you add value to their network, she says. “Then it becomes natural for you to follow them and for them to follow you back.”
Step No. 4: Build a relationship
“The most important thing salespeople need to know is that they need to develop relationships more than they need to develop leads, because good relationships will turn into leads,” Fouts says. “People share a lot of information, and if you monitor and listen to what they are saying, you will eventually be able to engage in a meaningful conversation with them.”Once you develop a relationship, you can tell the prospect how your product or service might be something they want or need.
Step No. 5: Engage in a conversation
“If you just write them a message with a pitch and a link to your website, they will be uninterested,” Fouts says. “If you say, ‘Here are some solutions to your problem, maybe my product or service can help,’ they will know you care about them. If you really listen to what they are saying on social media, you can open doors and start a conversation without having to make a cold call.”Contribute to a conversation they are already having with their social network and share content that they will find useful.
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