Social Media is Not a Direct Sales Channel

sales ideaLet’s think for a moment about how great–really great–sales people deal with initiating a sale. Do they just walk up to someone at random on the street and say “Hi, my name is Jill and you’ve GOT to buy this product!” without ever knowing anything about the person, what they need, or warming up the prospect with some friendly remarks first?

No, they never do that.
Why not? Well, first because it’s just rude and second because it’s stupid. 

Any good sales person gets to know their market first and how their product solves their pain points. They spend hours working on the language they’ll use in different scenarios  and projecting  the questions that may come up and how they will answer them. They plan based on the needs of the buyers.

Then they drill down to specific individuals. In these days of social media they Google and search social networks to find out more about a prospect before they even call them. If they are smart social users they will follow the person or brand on Twitter, join a group they’re in on Linkedin, follow the company, and engage in tangental conversations to become part of the person’s social network before they connect. They’ll set up listening tools to hear what the crowd has to say and what their needs are too.

They use what they learn there to make an intelligent approach. They’ll nurture these relationships through the stages of awareness, recognition and friendship, creating an easy transition to talking about product, services and sales.

Even if they don’t use social media to connect with the person they will  call and make an appointment, have a short conversation about the prospects’ needs and maybe even buy lunch first before they start asking for the sale.

Good sales relationships are nurtured, and the beauty of social media is the ability to nurture many more leads in one day than you possibly could face to face.

So when I hear someone refer to social as a “sales channel” as though piping in a bunch of product mentions is going to instantly make you popular and better looking to a consumer I cringe.

Bottom line?
Social isn’t about direct sell, sell, sell. It’s a subtler approach. It’s about creating  and maintaining relationships that lead to sales with those people, friends of theirs and friends of their friends. It’s much easier to maintain a hundred relationships through social media than it is with a rolodex and a speaker phone.



  • fouts
  • February 12, 2014