3 Ways Copier Reps Can Use Social Media to Grow Sales4 May, 2014 By: Darrell Amy, Dealer Marketing Systems
“I believe that the biggest untapped resource in a dealership is the social networks of the employees.” This quote is on the first slide of my training on “How Copier Reps Can Use Social Media to Grow Sales.”
Over the past few years I’ve introduced hundreds of sales reps to new possibilities in using social in the sales process. The more experience I have training reps how to use social media and the more success stories I hear back from reps, the more I see the power of social networking to grow sales.
What are the growth goals for sales? Are you trying to grow 20% this year? How are you going to accomplish this? I believe that social networking could provide the boost you need to hit your goal.
If you think about it successful sales rep possesses two key attributes: connections and credibility. A great rep needs to know a lot of people. They also need to be regarded as a trustworthy source of ideas that could be helpful to a prospect. Business social networking has the power to enhance a sales rep’s connections and credibility.
There are many aspects to social networking. However, when it comes to sales there are 3 key ways social media can be used to grow sales. They are:
1. Make New Connections
We’ve all been to networking events. The local chamber of commerce in my sales territory hosts a “Business After Hours” event. Everyone stands around eating cold hors d’oeuvres and drinking warm beer while getting to know each other. Imagine if when you went to this event everyone had a printout pinned to their lapel that listed out every other business person they knew. You’d be able to scan down the list and recognize people to whom you’d like to get introduced.
That’s exactly what LinkedIn can do for you. Many of your connections let you look at their list of connections. You can find people to whom you’d like to get introduced. To make it easy, LinkedIn even has a hidden menu item called “Get Introduced.” Once you click this button a window pops up where you can ask your contact to introduce you.
Every day sales reps should connect with people they’ve met with. After the meeting search for the prospect on LinkedIn. Send them a note that thanks them for the meeting. Ask to connect. When you do, let them know that as you are working with businesses across the city sometimes you discover ideas that could be helpful to their business. That’s what you share on LinkedIn. Assure them you won’t send them promotions, annoying updates or SPAM. If you connect with three new people every day by the end of the year you’ll have 750 new contacts in your network.
2. Position As An Expert
Decision makers are busy. They don’t have time to meet with sales reps that are not going to be helpful. That’s why more and more decision makers are screening sales reps based on their LinkedIn profiles. If you look like just another shark in a suit, they probably aren’t going to give you a meeting.
A sales rep’s linked in profile is their website. It’s how prospects form an impression of them online.
When someone looks at your LinkedIn profile, what do they see? They should see someone that is passionate about what they do, full of good ideas, endorsed by other business leaders and connected to hundreds of people.
Every sales rep’s LinkedIn profile should include:
- A summary of how they can help clients
- Daily updates that show how the rep is helping other local businesses
- Links to helpful articles and white papers
- Lots of references
- Hundreds of connections
Once a week every sales rep should take time to update their LinkedIn profile. Look for helpful information to share. Give out 2 or 3 references to other people. (When you give a reference you’re likely to get some back.) Grow your connections.
3. Get Intel on Target Accounts
The most-overlooked way to grow your business with social media involves getting intelligence on target accounts. Virtually every business of any size actively manages company pages on LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Facebook. The updates they put on these pages are a great way to get to know the news, strategy and personality of these companies.
You will be surprised what you can learn. A company may announce the opening of a new location on LinkedIn. Public companies paste links to their quarterly financial reports in Twitter. These documents describe their business goals and challenges providing a foundation for an intelligent sales call. Facebook updates might include an upcoming charity event or a picture of someone inside the company you know.
Follow every target account on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Once a day, scroll through your news feeds and look for updates that can help you develop a strategy to get into a new account or expand your presence in an existing client.
How much time should you invest? 20 minutes a day should be enough to connect with clients you met, read your news feeds, update your status and follow local companies. 20 minutes a week should be invested in improving your LinkedIn profile by sharing useful information and giving a few referrals.
Dealerships can help their sales teams use social media by:
- Leading the way be being active in social media as a company
- Providing their reps useful content to share from the company blog
- Training their reps on how to use social media effectively
- Coaching sales reps on how to improve their LinkedIn profiles
- Guiding their sales teams with a social media policy document.
Every sales rep wants to grow their sales. Business social networking could be a great strategy to hit your number this year. Why not take one of the best practice items in this article and give it a try?
Darrell Amy is the Chief Innovation Officer of Dealer Marketing (www.dealermarketing.net), a Managed Marketing Services firm providing website design, blogging, social media management, search engine optimization and lead generation services to office equipment dealers across North America and Australia.