The Key to Closing the Social Media Sale

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Recently caught a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Steven Hodson over on Winextra Shooting Bubbles (gratz on the rebrand!). He was talking about The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of SEO and Marketers. The post basically covers how marketers jump into the social media space and flail around with no clue what they’re doing, all the while claiming to be “ninjas” and “experts.”

One particular section stood out to me because it’s the same exact line of thinking I’ve formed about marketing as it relates to social media:

You know who a successful marketer is?

It’s the person who you can talk with on Twitter or Friendfeed or by email and feel like you are having an actual conversation – not the target of a sales pitch or that you are riding trapped with them on an elevator. Sure you could be talking about product or service but the moment you throw out a buzzword or two you have crossed the line from being an interesting person to talk with to being just another marketing dreck.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Steven just gave you the key to the city if you’re trying to make money using social media. As a matter of fact, this same mentality works everywhere else.

I believe that every conversation ends in a sale. Problem is, nobody likes being sold or pressured. They would rather evaluate the situation and make a decision on their own.

How do you get someone to make the decision you need them to make?

This is such basic stuff that I’m surprised so few actually get it. You have to convince a potential client or customer that your product or service will benefit them or otherwise provide value. With standard sales, you’d go through a process like:

  • Engage – make an initial pleasant connection
  • Build Rapport – small-talk to make your target feel comfortable
  • Discovery – at this point, you are trying to find out how your product will benefit this specific person
  • Close – by the time you get here, you and your target are buddies. You know exactly how your product or service fits into their life and they feel like you are doing them a huge favor.

For some reason, marketers in social media just keep trying to close the sale, skipping all the important steps necessary before that. This may still work with email marketing (maybe), but it does not work in social media. These are real people you’re talking to and if you don’t treat them as such, you will never succeed.

You have to put the work in if you want this to work for you. This means being real and genuine. Trying to be a part of the community for the purpose of making money won’t work. You have to just be a part of the community. With the web heading towards real-time, it’s all too easy to spot a fake and I or someone else will point you out. If you’re not here to provide value to the community, you may as well pack your things and move along.

Oh, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out…

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  • LOL, couldn’t you just have said ‘don’t let the door hit u where the good lord split u?’

  • excellent post Rahsheen.
    the only other compliment I can give you is that it has sparked a thought of my own which I'll be writing up shortly.

  • Pingback: Why should I buy your company? β€” Shooting at Bubbles()

  • Awesome. Always happy to cause a spark πŸ™‚

  • I almost did, but it just doesn't have the impact I was looking for. Sorry
    mom πŸ™‚

  • asktonyc

    So many marketers concentrate on making a profit rather than focusing on adding value to our lives. Create concrete value and profits will follow. Excellent post Rahsheen!

  • Excellent point, there. I have seen people change their mindset from just
    trying to get paid to trying to actually help people and they were much more
    successful. Thanks for coming through πŸ™‚

  • Laurent_Rozenfeld

    Hi Rasheen,

    It reminds me of one of Chris Brogan's recent posts. He also said that companies should learn to give more.
    I've been thinking a lot about it recently (having launched my own startup) and I don't think that it's the marketer's fault but rather an issue with his job's description. Marketing is supposed to backing sales by creating brand awareness and bringing new leads. Of course, there are differences depending on the type of product/service sold. Based on the assumption that marketers are mainly having desk jobs and work with statistics, the people recruited are creative but not necessarily “talkative”. To use social media means to redefine the job of a marketer, or at least come with a new function such as community manager. Such a person needs to understand traditional marketing and needs to be an excellent salesman!!!
    Isn't it ironic?! In order to be a good salesperson, you're supposed to listen and intrigue your prospect rather than make a salespitch. To use social media well, you need to be a crossbreed.
    I think I'll write a post about it πŸ™‚

  • Hrm, that's true. The way I see it, the marketer gets the people in the
    door, the sales person closes them. In social media, you kinda need to play
    both sides.

  • Rahsheen, I enjoyed the post because tons of people are attempting to overstep the rapport building. What's amazing is the number of “Social Media Marketing Experts” that are making leaping over the same step and immediately marketing and attempting to sell! Anyway, the deeper our relationship with people, the more likely they will want to know about our products and services. One more thing. In social media, it's not enough to deliver good content, it's also necessary to interact with your readers, subscribers, and customers, and you do a good job of that Rahsheen. Have a great weekend!

    Peace,
    Ron

  • Excellent insight. I see a lot of people dropping quotes and links all day
    long. They think that is how you provide value. They are sadly mistaken. The
    value must come primarily from within. It must be something new and
    different from what I already have access to. A bunch of links and quotes
    just doesn't accomplish that.

    Definitely glad you think I do a good job in keeping it interactive πŸ™‚

  • Great post Rahsheen. Just got started with social media (and the web in general) I dig your common sense approach. In the real world I think people get discouraged if they're not selling using the same old tactics, and might be encouraged to switch things up. On the web, salesy types don't see the offended looks and seem to think they just haven't gotten their numbers up enough. Quality over quantity is definitely the way to go.

  • Thanks, Scott. I like the point you just made. “On the web, salesy types
    don't see the offended looks and seem to think they just haven't gotten
    their numbers up enough.” If that doesn't exactly explain the problem, I
    don't know what does πŸ™‚

  • Great post Rahsheen. Just got started with social media (and the web in general) I dig your common sense approach. In the real world I think people get discouraged if they're not selling using the same old tactics, and might be encouraged to switch things up. On the web, salesy types don't see the offended looks and seem to think they just haven't gotten their numbers up enough. Quality over quantity is definitely the way to go.

  • Thanks, Scott. I like the point you just made. “On the web, salesy types
    don't see the offended looks and seem to think they just haven't gotten
    their numbers up enough.” If that doesn't exactly explain the problem, I
    don't know what does πŸ™‚