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Sales Tips: Social Media as the New Cold Call by Mike Krause

One of the hottest sales trends these days is to use some form of social media as the cold call generator. The reasoning is why spend time and money making cold calls when the plethora of social media outlets – upwards of 100 just in North America these days – can attract customers for you for free?

While it’s true that social media, such as a company’s Facebook page, Twitter links or LinkedIn page, can help strongly motivated prospects find you more easily, it isn’t a cold calling solution – it’s an inbound pull technique, nothing more.

Cold calling, lead generation, prospecting – however you want to refer to it – is a classic outbound sales process that cannot be replaced by social media. Cutting this corner is a big mistake.

Why not rely on social media to bring fresh, anxious customers to you? Because social media depends entirely on you broadcasting a general message that compels an individual customer to overcome their own inertia, ignore the clamor of competitors and sell themselves sufficiently on your service or product to make the first move. It further depends on your sales staff to jump on the prospect’s inquiry immediately and get them sold before the prospect’s mood (motivation) wears off.

If your company is really, really lucky, perhaps as high as one percent of your customers will expend the effort to find you and contact you. That leaves the other 99 percent of qualified prospects for the sales team to identify and bring into the fold. (Of course this only addresses new customers, not repeat business, which shouldn’t be out on social media looking for you or your competitors anyway!)

A true sales professional’s traditional job description is to find qualified prospects and nurture them up the motivational mountain to the point of sale. Not just once but again and again as they need more of what you manufacture or provide. You’ll never get that type of perseverance from programming something into social media – it is an exclusively human endeavor.

Social media is just part of the puzzle…

A sales person or company will never succeed if they rely on social media as their sole cold calling process. Use the advantages of the most targeted social media options to help generate a positive perception about your company, products and services. Keep your name out there to build awareness and recognition.

Publicize your community activism and praise your employees widely. Make sure you have a reasonable social media strategy and someone who is monitoring your social media presence frequently. Just don’t expect social media to replace the value of finding and contacting prospects to develop qualified sales leads and close sales.
Mike Krause is the Chief Sales Architect and owner of Sales Sense Solutions where he helps business owners stay four steps ahead of the competition with stellar sales and high performance sales assessments, strategies and practical advice.

-what was your biggest takeaway from the ideas above? Share your feedback in the comments below.