Great products, competitive prices and excellent customer service are all key factors to success in sales but none of these matter if your clients don’t know you exist.
You need to be out there, in the limelight, garnering the attention of every possible customer you can.
And social media allows you to do just that. And, better yet, it doesn’t have to cost you a single penny. Here are a few tips that can help you create a spotless online reputation and boost your sales dramatically.
Encourage clients to share their story. Let’s face it. Everyone’s favourite part of a conversation is the part where they get to talk about themselves. That’s why it’s so important that you provide your customers with an opportunity to share their stories. And it doesn’t matter what you are selling. Any product can become engaging if you use social media to present it in a clever way. If skincare products are your game, ask your Facebook or blog followers to submit pictures of the world’s biggest acne spots! Invite hearing aid clients to share their most embarrassing miscommunication moments and ask automotive clients to Tweet the pet names they have for their cars. Make it fun.
Teach, don’t preach. Social media can prove hugely effective for informing your clients about new products, special promotions, and more. But make sure you talk with your audience not at them. Invite them to ask questions and share concerns. Your customers need to feel that you value them—and this means valuing their input. Humans naturally have a short attention span, some more so than others, and, as salespeople, it is imperative that you captivate them. Nothing is less appealing than a lecture. A monologue equates to naptime. To keep your prospective clientele awake and engaged, you must interact with them in a productive, but entertaining, manner. Let them know that both they and their needs matter to you. We all have a favourite television “expert” – a trusted handyperson, an animal whisperer, or a cutting edge cake decorator – that we have admired for years. But we do not have a relationship with them. They talk at us. When Fido refuses to play well with others, we can’t actually seek out this animal whisperer for help. Instead, we turn to an expert who is willing to talk with us – a person who will listen to our unique situation and address our specific needs. That would be you. And your blog or Facebook page is the perfect way for your clients to get in touch.
Become a social media butterfly. A person can never have too many connections and that is especially true in sales. LinkedIn is the perfect tool to engage with others in your industry and to meet people who can send referrals your way. If “old school” is how you roll, think of it as an unlimited cyberspace Rolodex and not nearly as ugly. LinkedIn is like joining a networking organization, but without the fees or early morning meetings. And you are in complete control of whom you choose to let in to your circle. Yes, you can weed out that guy with the funny smell and nose whistle.
Check your prognosis. Use social media to evaluate your own performance by actively seeking client feedback. If you don’t know something is broken, you can’t fix it and in the world of sales, this means lost revenue. Client feedback can serve as a report card for you, your service and the products that you sell and provide you with the opportunity to instil change. Most importantly, feedback will provide you with countless opportunities to keep your clientele happy, bolstering your online reputation and future sales. Feedback can include everything from asking clients to rate or “like” specific products on Facebook, engaging in polls through WordPress’s Poll Daddy, composing contest-driven surveys and creating interactive discussions on a blog, just to name a few examples. The bottom line is that social media can provide a huge boost to your bottom line. Not only is it cost-effective, but it also allows you to cast your net for new clients, foster positive relationships with existing customers, and receive important feedback. And, best of all, it enables you to nurture a glowing online reputation – a key element in sales success.
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, novelist and illustrator