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On Value, Selling, and the Social Media Sales Revolution By Landy Chase

Landy Chase - sales trainer & author Although your business card may identify you as a sales person, in the Selling Revolution your job is not so much to “sell” as it is to provide consistent, ongoing value to your customers. You already know that the reason any business exists is to fill needs and solve the problems of its market.

In your traditional role as a sales person, you have accomplished this goal by providing goods and services to your customer based on their needs for what you sell. This is also how customers have traditionally defined the value proposition of a sales person.

The problem inherent with the traditional selling model is that the benefit to the customer from working with you is largely limited to what occurs during the transaction process. In other words, your value to the marketplace in the past has been largely limited to those times in which a buyer, or prospective buyer, has an immediate need for what you sell. (Yes, ‘farming’, or client relationship management, may be considered a part of your adding value, but let’s face it – a lot of that post-transaction face-time is of little real value to most customers, right?) Your opportunity to provide value has historically revolved around these purchasing episodes, and in each case, when each transaction is completed, your ability to provide personal value largely evaporates once the purchase order is signed or the contract is finalized.

In the social media selling revolution, that restriction on sales people no longer applies. The technological phenomenon of social media as it pertains to adding value is this: it allows you to expand the fundamental purpose of a sales person – to solve the needs and problems of his or her customers – far beyond the traditional, transactional model.

It allows you to deliver personal value outside the bounds of simple business transactions. It gives you the means to efficiently provide value to potential customers when they are not in the market for what you sell. Also, it affords you the opportunity to brand yourself as a Value Generator within the business circles that you serve.

Why? Because, while your prospects and customers do not always have a need for the products or services that you offer, they do have a continuous, never-ending need for useful information. In today’s world, of course, the vast majority of these people get that information via the Internet.

That information is procured in one of two fundamental ways: either they search for it themselves, or the information comes to them through resources that they follow with social media. If you can position yourself as one of those resources that they follow – specifically, an individual within your industry who provides useful information that solves their needs and problems – your market will follow you online, and you will accomplish three fundamentally important objectives as a Value Generator:

1)      You will establish high-value relationships with both prospects and existing customers within the market(s) that you sell to;

2)      You will eliminate transactional events as a prerequisite for delivering value to those whom you wish to do business with, and instead, will do so consistently;

3)      You will reverse the relationship between seller and buyer. No longer will you be preoccupied with ‘pursuing’ prospective customers. Instead, they will follow you.

Social media marketing is the vehicle that allows you to provide value to your market on a continual basis, even when you aren’t involved in a transaction. This value is delivered in the form of content. Your role in this new selling environment is therefore to provide ongoing value to your prospects and customers by providing information (content) that solves their problems and addresses their needs.

By making sure that you communicate and add value online as much as possible, you build influence. Everything you write essentially lives online somewhere forever.  Even if only a small number of people find your information somehow, every little bit adds up.  Once you get the hang of this, creating offline content in some ways almost seems obsolete.
Landy Chase, author of Competitive Selling: Out-Plan, Out-Think, and Out-Sell to Win Every Time, founded his own sales training and consulting firm in 1993 and has clients in more than sixty industries on five different continents. Visit him at www.LandyChase.com

-What was the key lesson you learned? How can you implement it into your daily work routine?