Sales Prospecting Using Social Media

by Lori Richardson, Score More Sales

Lori Richardson, Sales Prospecting

Social selling is definitely the best development in finding buyers and sharing insights they care about before they are ready to buy. But that is just one component of a multi-touch way to find buyers where they are and nurture those relationships over time. Using real scenarios we will talk about the seven ways to reach out and develop meaningful connections with buyers.

Webinar Transcript

Hi, everyone. This session is about using a multi-faceted sales strategy for more success in your prospecting. And I'm Lori Richardson, happy to be here. Let's get started.

I know that some of you participating in this social selling event are sales leaders and many of you are individual contributors. I've held both positions and during those times I was the head of a household raising a family so I don't offer my tips and suggestions lightly. We work really hard here to give actionable ideas that grow revenues. So whichever you are, a leader or an individual contributor, we'll try to address your situation.

First of all, I want you to think of a gemstone and all the facets to it. That's what makes a gem so beautiful, what makes it shine, and I believe that that's the secret to success in prospecting and in reaching out to buyers. I've created this overview, and we'll cover as much of it as we can in the time that we have today. Just know that there's a longer version that goes into detail and stories about each type of facet, if you will, for the strategies for success in sales prospecting. And I have to give you this caveat: there's no magic formula. If there was just one thing that worked, that's all we'd all be talking about. Instead, you see many different strategies and lots of different ways, different wording, different ideas and lets start with some key fundamentals here.

The first one is that I really want to share that by mixing it up when you work with building your pipeline, it gives you a couple of things, and I want you to think about maybe what that might do for you. First of all, you don't want to burn out. If you're the individual contributor or if you're a sales leader, you just do one thing and that includes social selling. If you just do that all day long it becomes, well, it's boring. It is not as interesting as if you're able to mix things up and change things up and try different things. 

I'm a big fan of AB testing so that you try one way one week or one day and then you change it and alter it and see what works best. So you want to avoid burnout. It's a real key, I know, for me I had a hard time sitting still, even though that was my job, and I had to change things up. So maybe that's you as well. But the other thing is that you need to go where your buyers are and not all of your buyers are social, a lot of them are but not all of them. Not all your buyers are on the phones. For those of you who are more phone-based and are looking to this summit for ideas about being more social, they're all over the place and you need to find out where that is and then find them and the people around them.

So I'm going to start off with social. This is a social event. I don't believe that I need to say a whole lot about it. It's a huge component of a prospecting strategy, and the thing that I wanted to talk about when it comes to social selling is that you need to find ways to measure it. You need to find out how much time you and your reps are spending. What are they doing? How are they investing themselves? I've seen people just surf around on LinkedIn and not have a lot of direction, and I've seen other reps very focused, very targeted with specific goals to gain certain insight in the morning before they make some calls or before they send emails or they connect socially. And you need to think about which way you lean. Are you less organized or are you more organized? This is a huge area for success and improvement if you're not as tight as you need to be in that area.

Now referral selling. It's by far, whether you do it through social or you do it in other ways, it is the best way to get business. And I think that most people know that but in case you don't, it's huge. And, for example, the Horton School of Business found that the lifetime value of a referred customer is 16% greater than one that is not referred. And there was a study that came out that said customers acquired through word of mouth add two times the lifetime value of customers acquired through traditional marketing. 

We know that a typical referred lead has a much higher chance of closure compared to a cold connection. It's very dramatic so this is something that, no matter how you prospect, you want to incorporate in your strategy. And, again, it needs to be in a system. It needs to be in a planned manner, and I like to think of a third list. So you have a list of your prospects, your future buyers. You have a list of existing customers and then you have a third list and this third list is where you track those people who can refer you ongoing business. They are people that don't do what you do, but they are around what you do and they run into your buyers all the time, and they can give you a steady stream of referrals just like you could do the same for them. That's a very valuable list to be involved with. We wrote a book called Winning Teammates, an eBook, and it talks about those relationships.

All right, email. We are all using email to a great extent. If the phone is a diamond, which I believe it is because it's the best way to reach someone quickly and what I mean by it, I don't mean tracking someone down but if I have something to tell someone, if I have a relationship, I can reach them so much quicker by using the phone. And so email would be the emerald to the phone's diamond. I believe that, and studies have shown, that most sales people are not utilizing email as well as they could. They don't use templates, and there's so many new services that offer a templated way to create email. 

Have you seen a sales rep, perhaps you or perhaps someone near you, struggle to craft an email? And it might take up to 30 minutes, which you don't have. You don't have 30 minutes. Your sales team members don't have 30 minutes to write emails. You need to fire off crisp, sharp, insight-based, buyer-focused messages and so it takes some work and planning to do that. Are you efficient? Are you focusing on your buyer? And do you hide behind your email? I know I was accused of this once and it was true. I never got on the phones. I always just fired off email because it was faster for me. It was more efficient for me, and this is all about your buyer. When you're working to identify buyers that would be good customers and work with you, you need to understand that this is about them and it's not about what's most convenient for you. So are you maximizing that area? Is that something that you can improve on?

Now, using the phone and voicemail is a key component to any, to many, not any, but many prospecting systems and I know that there are people that are nearly all on social, involved in social selling. At some point, you need to get off of social and you need to pick up the phone and talk to people and talk to people around them. So, for me, it's the foundation of the program. People do not do this well and the big issue with the telephone is the same with messaging on email. When you leave a voicemail message, it's not to get a call back necessarily. You may get no calls back. You may get up to 10% of your calls returned, of your voicemail messages returned. That's what we experience because if you craft really good messages, you're going to get a higher response, but the goal is to pique interest and to build your brand. 

So, for example, if I leave you a message, let's say we connected on LinkedIn. I picked up the phone, called you. I didn't reach you. I got your voicemail. So I leave you a message that's very clear, very short and it's targeted. It adds insight about what you're doing and it demonstrates that I have some ideas that might help you with your job or your team or your company. And I don't need you to call me back. The idea is that I'm building my brand and I'm becoming a trusted advisor. I will tell you that I'll call you back next week and then I'll do it, which will demonstrate trust or I will tell you that I'll send you an email as a follow-up to make it easier for you to reply, which often happens. So get the conversation off social, note the common theme now, and get onto a phone or do a video chat because that can be really effective as well.

All right, mobile. Love to see video conversations, and we're seeing more with companies that are finding people where they are. Mobile is the way most of us are communicating. It's where emails die because a lot of us, if you have a smartphone, in the morning, you just flip through and delete, delete, delete, delete, delete those emails that don't have a catchy subject line. That's another conversation that we can drill down on at some point. But you need to pique people's interest and know that they're looking on a mobile device because that's where most people are. So are you tailoring your messages to work well with mobile?

Postal mail. I know it's old-school, but I got to tell you, here is a fact that I would like you to think about. Sending 1st class mail is down 20% according to the U.S. Postal Service. Now, what does that mean to you? It means that if you send a two-sentence note, let's say you had a great conversation with the C-level executive. You finally caught them through, maybe it was through, I don't know, could be through LinkedIn, perhaps it was in an email, and you were able to talk with them by phone and you had a five minute conversation. They're not looking actively for your services yet, but they're open to talking in the future and the C-level executive tells you, "Call me in six months." 

Okay, that's a long time so what I'm going to do is grab a note card, maybe it has my company logo on it, that would be great. If not, just go in and buy some nice note cards. You can get them anywhere, and two sentences. It says, "John, I really enjoyed our conversation and I'm looking forward to talking with you after the holidays or at the beginning of next year," and include your business card and sign your name. It's so simple. It costs you one stamp and the price of the card. And here's the cool thing, it gets your business card on their desk and there's nothing in social that's going to do that for you. 

So, as old-school as it may be, I'm telling you it really works and if you sent out three cards a week, I like to do five cards a week, if you do 3 cards a week, you're going to be more memorable. And when people are ready to buy, they're either going to look you up in something maybe like a LinkedIn, because there are maybe less conversations that they've had on LinkedIn than email or they're going to see that business card that's sitting on their desk that they never threw away and they may keep it on their desk. So don't underestimate the power of a note card. Just think yourself how many have you received in the last month or two and how many emails have you received? And that's the answer to that. Enough said.

Group updates. We have a lot of success still in doing things like an email campaign, particularly if you can target it and personalize it in some way, specifically by industry. Newsletters that are interesting and pertinent and blog updates that help your buyers do their jobs better, that aren't just about you and what you do, are a really integral part of a multi-faceted approach.

Now, the last part is in the how, the how piece. This is what is considered intangibles. So I can use all these different methods for reaching you. I can use, let's say I predominantly use a social selling strategy. If I don't have my intangibles right, I'm not going to be successful at all. And when I talk about being successful, I'm talking about the messaging that you create, and who you're talking to, when you're reaching out to them, what the actual message is that you're crafting, how often you do it, and listening to your gut. Your gut knows. 

People talk about whether the timing is right for something. You know when you reach someone in how they respond that it could be a really bad time. And if that's the case, you want to attempt to talk with them at a later time. So you need to know those things, subtleties. The comments that people give you and from that you can build a much more robust pipeline. You can have many more opportunities to work with the buyers of your choice. Any buyers that you care to work with, depending on how you craft this part, the messaging and the intangibles, and I would encourage you to work really hard on your messaging to get input from people outside of your industry, to get input from others around you. Listen to what those who are most successful in your business, if you work with other successful reps, listen to the successful ones, particularly the newer ones, and see what they're saying. What are they writing and how are they reaching out to people? That can be the answer. If you are doing a lot of these things, but you're not having success, it all will boil down to these issues: what you're saying, when you're saying it, who you're saying it to, how you're saying it and how often. And that's all fixable.

So the good news is that you can improve these areas. There are many people, many posts and blogs and different ideas that can help you with that alone, and I would encourage you to work on that every day so that your message gets better and better and better. And every rep should be able to, on a moment's notice, concisely say what it is that they do. So if you're a rep, you should be able to do that. You can leave yourself a message. Record your voice saying what it is that you do, saying what you would normally say to someone on the phone if you talked with them. And see what the email is. Send an email and look and see how long it is on your mobile device. Those kinds of things you can get better and better and better. And if you need help, look at organizations like Toastmasters where it's all about giving compelling talks and leadership in a very inexpensive manner, and they're all over the world. One tip that can be extremely effective for you. That's something I did when I was in my early 20s starting out.

All right, your cadence is the rhythm and the sequence of reaching buyers. There's no one specific answer to this, but you should know that you can come up with something that makes sense in terms of how you reach your buyers and it should be in a methodical manner so that when you come in today or you come in tomorrow, you do similar things in terms of every time I give a first call, I don't leave a message, but I do on my second call. Whatever works for you in your industry, we talk to different people all the time and there's no one answer and it depends on a number of factors, but happy to talk to you further about that if you have specific questions. Just know that this is another way that you can help have a more planned approach to being successful with your calls.

And then another thing that I want to suggest is that you send a series of messages. Whether this is by email, you do it with voicemail, have a different message each time and not just the same thing over and over and please be buyer-focused. Everyone I know is receiving horrible voicemail messages, and it's something that can be totally fixed. So think about your first message is're calling people with similar titles or you're working with a similar industry or some kind of a trigger and let people know why they're a more probable buyer to work with you. The next one, have some kind of connection that maybe you found through a social platform, maybe on Twitter, maybe another way. And the third one, offer some insight specific to their industry or do it in a different combination but have a series that you go through because if you do that, you're going to build up credibility and you're going to sound much more of a professional calling another professional or a professional emailing another professional.

And, finally, I just want to suggest this is a big topic. If you have specific issues and you have a sales team, we're happy to talk with you one-on-one. So, please, consider booking a call. I'm Lori Richardson. I want to thank you so much for your time and good luck in creating a multi-faceted strategy for success in selling.