From Cold Calls to InMails: Why Should You Become a Social Seller?
Knocking on doors and collecting business cards is a sales tactic of the past. Save time in the field, reaching decision makers more quickly, book more meetings and create lasting business relationships by shifting your traditional sales tactics to social platforms.
March 12, 2015
Every successful sales professional I have met has told me that their most difficult yet gratifying professional experience was during their first sales job, and the majority of that job was spent cold calling. When I say “cold call” I’m not talking phones; I mean knuckles against wood, fingers against doorbells, shoes pounding the pavement. I see how technology has rapidly transformed the way we communicate in business and I reflect on those traditional sales tactics and wonder, “What the heck was I doing wasting so much time?”
As sales professionals, we are taught the importance of a multi-touch approach. There are proven statistics that demonstrate 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact. In my first sales job I spent three out of the five business days knocking on doors, collecting cards, and using that information for later outreach. It was an exhausting and redundant process.
I’m not mocking the system, but I can’t help but cringe remembering the number of hours spent on the phone asking prospects questions that only led to more questions rather than providing necessary information. There were instances when the decision maker would answer the phone and I would deliver a 30-second elevator pitch and hold my breath, praying that my benefit statement left a lasting impression. But often, the conversation ended with them asking me to reach out again in a couple of weeks. I would then find myself exhausted with minimal results to show for my hard work.
Sure, sometimes this process would result in success, but ask yourself: What if you didn’t have to spend 60% of your week gathering contacts? Another 20% navigating internally? And 20% delivering catered messages that you hope resonate with who you think the decision maker is? This is where “Social Sales” fits in to the sales tool belt.
Social media has opened an entirely new way of communicating with colleagues, prospects, clients, strangers, etc. Social Selling occurs when salespeople use social media platforms to interact with prospects to facilitate a business relationship.
Reflecting on the traditional sales approach described above, it’s amazing how much time was wasted gathering information that is easily accessible in our current digital world. We are in a day and age where promotion of your personal brand is more common than ever. All you have to do is open a web browser to find the information one would traditionally gather in a “cold call.” It’s all about using that data to map social circles to determine the hierarchy of reporting and create tailored benefit statements providing an intriguing reason to meet.
LinkedIn has transformed the traditional business environment into a virtual community — one where you no longer need to go door to door. Instead, you log in and are able to reach all your prospects via multiple channels virtually, saving time, energy, and producing more qualified results. You can request to connect, send catered InMails, find mutual connections to request introductions; the list goes on and on. Social platforms provide multiple avenues of engagement, accelerating you along the 12 contact points in the sales journey.
In our digital world there are no virtual boundaries limiting you as a sales professional. You’re no longer prohibited from reaching out to a professional because it’s past 5 p.m. and their business door is locked. The digital world has enabled us to connect via social platforms to form as many professional relationships as we’d like — an exciting concept to any salesperson. So ask yourself: Why waste an entire week taking a traditional approach to sales when you can leverage social communities to maximize your time prospecting and positively impact your book of business, creating long-lasting business partnerships.