Is social media killing our sales skills?

Recently, I spoke to an organization that spent an ungodly amount of time, energy and money on social media to create lead generation. I asked, “Now what? How’s your closing ratio?” They looked at me like I had three heads.

Just because we believe that we’ve found a new way to generate business, it doesn’t bring in business … alone. Does using Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and blogging really bring in leads? Ideally, such a campaign should bring us opt-in emails, contact information and phone calls. If that’s happening, great—you have reached a very important step, but it is only a first step.

It’s important to make sure that, once prospects contact us, we use the right process to follow up with them. As salespeople, we often make assumptions that they are interested because they contacted us. That is certainly not true. We need to treat this lead like any other and follow the right process to handle it.

Understand that when someone contacts you, they are often contacting several people within your industry. You don’t have a relationship built. Is it better than cold-calling? When we get them on the phone, they will typically ask a simple question, such as this: “Hey, I see you guys sell widgets. Can you tell me if I were to buy a hundred widgets, what would that cost?” You negotiate a price, and they say, “OK, sounds good … ah, we’ll call you back,” or “Sounds good. Can you send me a proposal/price sheet/some more information?”

We send that information in writing, and we never hear from them again.

We try to contact them again, they don’t contact us. We try to call, they don’t take our call, and we leave messages.

Sound familiar? Of course, it does. The same situation has happened before. Prospecting hasn’t changed. Sales and the sales process haven’t changed just because they’re contacting you. In fact, I would say it is more difficult now, because we’re not as on top of our game because they contacted us and made us think we have a “hot” lead.

Want to learn the right process? Email me at [email protected], and I’ll send it to you. ♦

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business, a sales consulting and training firm. She is the best-selling author of “To Sell is NOT to Sell” and works with Fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips, go to schulzbusiness.com and sign up for “GretaNomics,” a weekly video tip series, or email sales questions to [email protected].

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