I think social media is great — but, if you are relying upon it for 100% of your sales, you’re crazy.
I’m sorry but I think a person would starve if they relied solely on social media.
My approach is to use the phone and email in conjunction with social media.
When you’ve connected with someone on social media, such as Linkedin for instance, use the social media connection to gain knowledge about each other and to have some initial contact. Once you’ve established this, you can then move the person to the prospect level.
I suggest at this point that you either email them or call them. I would begin by asking for their input or perspective on an issue with which you know they are familiar, such as something in their industry or something relevant in news, etc.
Another way to get a conversation going is to send them a link from an industry specific site that has information they may find useful.
You’re goal is simply to get conversation going and take the level of engagement to the next level. This demonstrates your interest and allows them to become more confident in you.
Don’t try to “sell” anything at this point. You simply want to build a foundation that will increase the likelihood of them being receptive when you do show them how what you have to offer can benefit their particular situation.
This strategy works because it is all about figuring out the needs of the person and being committed to matching your benefits with those needs. Will it work with every person you connect with on social media? No, but if you do it often enough, you will begin to see the power of it.
The last point I would make is that you have to have a long-term perspective. Developing leads like this takes a willingness to stay the course and to be genuine in your dialogue.
Don’t give up too easily and you’ll find it’s worth it to develop prospects you initially meet through social media.
Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.