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the social media SALES revolution
The New Rules for Finding Customers, Building Relationships, and Closing More Sales Through Online Networking
By LANDY CHASE, KEVIN KNEBL
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2011Landy Chase and Kevin Knebl
All rights reserved.
The Six Rules of the Social Media Sales Revolution
Before we get into the details of the Social Media Sales Revolution, let's turn the clock back a little and take a look at how we got here.
In 1985, Landy started his first job as a business-to-business (B2B) salesperson. The company that hired him was a bootstrap startup with a small amount of capital. However, it was an opportunity in outside sales, which was beneficial for a young person with no sales experience. Landy was a good fit for the company, and vice versa. He jumped at the opportunity, partly because the company was willing to give him a chance, even without a proven track record, and partly because it was introducing a new idea that it seemed to him would change the business world forever.
Believe it or not, back in those days people at work actually received incoming messages from outside callers on slips of paper! It worked like this: the office secretary would take the call (that's right—this was before the term executive assistant came into favor), write down the caller's information on a small preprinted slip, and place the message from the caller in the recipient's inbox slot on the secretary's desk. There was an individual slot for each employee for this purpose. The recipient would then come to the secretary's desk, check his or her slot, retrieve any messages taken by the secretary, read them, and return phone calls. It was just like going out to your mailbox at home and checking for mail, only it happened at the office.
This company's new service was called recorded message retrieval, and it eliminated the need for written messages. When a client signed up for this service, he would forward her phone number to the company. A bank of telephone operators at computer terminals took the clients' incoming calls. While the operator was handling the call, the conversation between the operator and the caller was recorded! When the client wanted to check her messages, she would call into her mailbox and listen, as a third party, to the recorded conversations that had taken place between the operator and the callers. This was 1985, though, so it seemed like amazing technology.
Landy hit the streets hard, presenting this exciting new service to business owners around Dallas, Texas. Nobody had ever seen anything like it—and Landy's enthusiasm for the service was contagious. Within six months, he was, at the ripe old age of 23, the company's number two salesperson in the United States. Then, one Friday afternoon, the company announced that it had run out of funding, and Landy, having been previously tipped off about the firm's dire financial straits, accepted a better job with a publicly held company in the office-products business the following Monday morning.
You know the technology, of course; you use it every day. It is called voice mail.
There have been many other changes in business communication over the past 25 years, and these, in turn, have been driven mostly by new technology. For example, when Landy was selling "recorded message retrieval" in 1985, salespeople did not use personal computers. (He bought his first PC, a desktop IBM XT, in 1987. It came with a dot-matrix printer.) We did not have laser printers. We did not have cell phones or PDAs. We usually did not have fax machines. Over the years, as each of these products arrived, the technology came in the form of easily manageable gadgets that one could learn to use without difficulty. Then came the Internet.
The Ultimate Game Changer
The Internet is the greatest communication tool of all time. For B2B sales people, it is also the ultimate game changer. Past technological changes have all been improvements like voice mail, which were easily adaptable to the existing landscape, whereas the Internet is not. Over the past 15 years, it has completely taken over the way in which people get and exchange information. Over the past five, it has completely taken over the way in which people socialize with one another.
And now—right now, as this book is being written—social networking is taking over B2B communication. Like it or not, social networking sites are completely, and permanently, redefining the way salespeople find new customers.
The good news is that if you learn to harness the power of this new technology, it can grow your sales like nothing that has come before. The bad news? If you don't adapt quickly to this fundamentally new way of building relationships, you will, in all likelihood, find yourself locked out of the selling profession. The moment has come to learn and adapt. Selling is undergoing a revolution, and the times they are a-changin'.
The Six Rules
The Internet has created six fundamental shifts in the B2B marketplace that are driving the future of the selling profession. They require all of us who wish to sell successfully in the new marketplace to accept these changes, recognize the inherent opportunities that they offer, and become educated in the new skills needed to acquire new customers.
In this chapter, our aim is to convince you to embrace the new fundamental rules for salespeople that together make up the Social Media Sales Revolution. You will find some of your most fundamental beliefs regarding how you should be doing your job challenged. You may even find yourself questioning what you should be doing for a living. If, at the end of this chapter, you are in agreement with these six points, then you will find the rest of the book to be a career-changing educational experience. And you will be ready to get on board and join the revolution.
Rule 1: Abandon Traditional Prospecting
As career sales trainers and speakers who have specialized in teaching traditional prospecting skills to salespeople for more than 20 years, we obviously wish that those skills would remain relevant forever. Unfortunately, they are rapidly on their way to becoming irrelevant. Traditional prospecting is fast becoming obsolete as a selling skill. This is happening because the telephone is increasingly becoming obsolete as a business communication tool. The vast majority of B2B correspondence now occurs through e-mail, simply because online communication is vastly superior to the telephone as a means of sharing information. Here are just a few examples of the advantages that e-mail offers:
The ability to communicate with as many people, simultaneously, as one wishes
The ability to communicate 24/7
The ability to talk to another person without actually talking to him
The ability to think through a conversation with a seller without the rapid- fire back-and-forth of a live conversation
The ability to respond at one's leisure during the course of an ongoing conversation
The ability to communicate without interruption
The ability to communicate in total privacy
The ability to send documents within a conversation
The ability to ignore communication without hanging up on the other party
The ability to delete unimportant or unwanted communications immediately
The ability to review a complete, written record of past conversations, which eliminates the need for taking notes or trying to remember details
The ability to say no without the stress of having to explain one's reasons to a live person
This shift away from traditional prospecting is both bad and good news for the sales profession. The bad news, as we outlined earlier, is tha
Excerpted from the social media SALES revolution by LANDY CHASE. Copyright © 2011 by Landy Chase and Kevin Knebl. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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