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Social Media, Sales and a Contact Sport


A good friend of mine, Aaron Howard, asked me to write some thoughts down on Sales and Sale Management.  I have known Aaron for some 20 years and have to say it’s never boring around him. I owe him a lot.

For the past 25 years I have been in sales.  Mostly helping small businesses (companies with annual revenue under $25 million) with financing their operations. As a sales person, on the line, and later as a sale manager, the goal has always been to contact more prospects and close more deals!  As some like to say, “Sales is a contact sport!” and they would be correct. Years of observations have taught me that the weakest link in completing a successful “new” client acquisition all comes down to identifying the next “qualified” prospect.  “Qualified” because prospects that are not qualified to do business with you are simply “Suspects”.  They may look good but do I really want to spend time with them if they are not able, and willing, to enter into a working relationship.  This is business, not personal, and we are paid to get the job done.

Enter Social Media.  Can a sales organization use Social Media to help strengthen their weakest link, of identifying real Prospects?  My answers:  YES!

Large bureaucracies, for the most part, are not built to react to communication system upgrades and implement strategic changes on a time line that reflects today’s Social Media paradigm…   “It’s not their fault, its their breed”… just as you would not expect a Pomeranian to be your hunting partner on your next duck hunt, you would not expect a bureaucracy to embrace the world of Social Media and change their sales and production process. But that’s exactly what needs to be done if companies want to retain their current customers and attack new untapped prospect spaces.

We sit on a precipice of a raw new era where many of your potential new customers will come through this new media.  That is, of course, if you are reaching out and communicating with them in a language, and in a space, that they understand.

So “What’s Next?”

As a Sales Manager my team members used to roll their eyes every time I asked, “what’s next”… This usually occurred after I had patiently listened to their elaborate story about a deal gone bad or their challenges with an interdepartmental product partner.  “What’s Next” was my way of keeping the team or individual focused & moving forward so they would solve their own problem.

So “What’s Next” for Social Media and your Sales Goals?

  1. Embrace and master Social Media’s new communication protocols
  2. Reach out to this new unexplored realm of Social Media
  3. Capture Customer & Prospects via Social Media
  4. Engage your internal product partners to develop customer Value Propositions & Solutions to be compatible with Social Media
  5. Deliver on customer’s requests using Social Media
  6. Exceed the customer’s communication and service expectations through Social Media

All of this is just the beginning for Social Media in Sales. Over the next few months I’ll post updates to these and other ideas on how to connect, engage & transact though Social Media in the pursuit of the Perfect Deal.

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  • About The Author

    Kirk Bottles

    Kirk lives in the Pacific Northwest. He grew up working in a small family business where he experienced the impact of relationship Sales & Service. Mentored by his father, Kirk laid the foundation for his success in sales and sales management. While attending California State University at Los Angeles he earned degrees in English and Business. During this time Kirk also earned his Pianoforte certificate from Trinity Collage of Music – London, England. For the past 25 years Kirk has held senior management positions with both National and Community banks focusing on sales, sales management, SBA product delivery / management & installed customer bases strategies with emphasis on portfolio growth, risk management and profitability enhancements. Kirk also enjoys sailing, music, photography, education & vintage automobiles.Read Full
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