Cold calling is dead. Email is useful as a marketing tool for generating interest, but isn’t specific enough to help clients through a purchasing decision. Showing up at someone’s doorstep is actually a little weird. So, then, what’s left?
When it was first created, LinkedIn was little more than a resume repository. You logged on when you were looking for a job and logged off when you were done. In the intervening years, LinkedIn has become a great way for people to make professional connections.
Nobody likes being sold on something. Everyone likes finding a way to solve a problem. By making the human connection, you’re not selling but helping people find a solution for an existing problem.
How do you make the connection in the first place? It’s all about sharing meaningful information. As Paul Gustafson, President of content marketing agency TDA Group puts it, during a recent Telstra Virtual Event, that there are people at the top of the mountain—subject matter experts—that are creating interesting pieces of content that is relevant to your existing customers as well as any prospects.
There are two factors in something going viral in the business space. It has to be good and it must be relevant. Sharing content is about more than putting out noise, but about engaging in a beneficial exchange of information. It’s ultimately going to reflect back well on the people sharing that info.
For existing contacts, sharing meaningful content will help you stay top-of-mind. Says social selling evangelist Jill Rowley, it’s something you can do passively. Prospecting and maintaining relationships can be extremely difficult, and this is a way to (somewhat) automate that process.
The most important aspect of modern, social selling is the education component. Whereas in the past you needed to have a polished pitch to teach people the value of your product or service, and were limited to speaking to a single group at the time, you’re now able to reach a wide audience with material that you can shape in a variety of formats.
Modern buyers, says Rowley, are sales-averse. They avoid, at all costs, salespeople. “They’re ignoring calls and deleting unsolicited, generic emails. Nobody wants to be sold to, but we all want to be helped.” It’s about reach and teach, educate and engage, more than ever in the past.
You don’t control your customers and, in an era when they can Google you before you even know they exist, you never will.
Content, ultimately, is the currency of modern sales professionals.
In the New Year, you need to be creating and sharing content. Your marketing department needs to be feeding you meaningful material that boosts the profile of the business but also provides value to the reader, listener, and viewer. (If you’re reading between the lines, you know that material needs to be presented through a variety of media).
What results have you seen from engaging on social media, good or bad? Sound off in the comments below.