Frank Belzer is the Sales Archaeologist and Author of Sales Shift.
The following is a guest post by Carole Mahoney one of the best in the business at helping companies utilize social media. Recently at the Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston I asked Carole if she would write a post that would help sales people utilize twitter. Thanks to Carole for this first of two articles. Enjoy:
Sales and Social Media: How to Get Started on Twitter (or any other social network)
If there’s one question I hear the most from sales people, it's "How can I use social media to make a sale?" Usually I respond to that question with another question (typical, right?!), asking, "Well, what are you doing now?" Most will answer, "I have an account, but I don't know what to do with it. It seems like a waste of time. I don't think the people I want to talk to are using social media, or if they are, it’s for personal, not business."
My favorite comment is, "No, no, my audience is soooo unique! It's too hard to pinpoint them and even if I did, they are too smart to fall for some silly social media post."
I have yet to meet a sales person who doesn't network. Not saying they all do it well, or know how, but they know what it is and means. So, let's use a networking event, say a Chamber of Commerce BAH (business-after-hours) and compare it to how to use Twitter.
Get on deck
Before you can get to a BAH, you have to find them. And before you decide which one to go to, you are probably going to look to see if you can find out who is going, how many, etc. You don't want to waste your time right?
On Twitter, you can do a simple search by using http://search.twitter.com. Type in some keywords, companies, or people you want to be in proximity to. How much time you spend on Twitter will be a direct correlation to what, and how much, you find on your searches.
Before you go to your BAH, common sense says take a shower, dress well, and bring lots of business cards and mints. (Never forget the mints!)
Before you get ready to tweet, same rules apply. Design your twitter page, enter your bio description, add a recent picture, include links to your website or LinkedIn profile. (Links are the mints – never forget the links!)
Now you are almost ready to talk with, or tweet with, those people you have identified in your searches.
Listen first, ask questions second, talk last.
Good salespeople know to use their mouth in proportion to their ears. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you are doing all the talking, you are likely talking to yourself.
So as you would at the BAH, you walk around a bit, listening and reading name tags. When you hear those phrases that pique your interest, you stop and listen more, perhaps ask a question, maybe even exchange business cards with the intent of talking more later.
Same with Twitter. Follow the people who are talking about what you do. Not just your industry colleagues, but your prospects too. Fish in the right pond, listen to what they are saying – their frustrations, confusions, pleas for help. If they follow you back, then ask them questions through a direct message. Once you have made contact, and gotten through, set up an IRL (in-real-life) conversation.
Voila – first base.
You can contact Carole and her team here.