Social Media is forcing the traditional sales model to evolve

The traditional sales model becomes one large flow chart of canned responses.

When I began to spread my wings as an entrepreneur in the late nineties it was nearly a form of heresy to change the process of a traditional sales model. It became one large flow chart of canned responses. Master your elevator pitch and be ready to deliver and convert sales at any moment. Build relationships over time to gain trust. Listen. Understand the customer’s needs. Don’t know what the customer needs? Ask more questions and listen longer. Find the person in a position to make decisions. If Customer A gives answer b then respond accordingly with statement c. Sell sell sell.

Just reading that brings to mind the old wooden rotary phones that hung on farm house walls. The ones where you had to tap the cradle and speak to an operator to connect your call.

When you sign up for social networks please be prepared to be social.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is projected that 26.9% of all 65 to 74 year olds will participate in the labor force by 2014. That equates to over a quarter of all business interactions within 4 years may be delivered by professionals trained in a sales model that no longer works.

Working traditional sales into a social media network

The problem is that social media is a buzz word. Every business is jumping on the bandwagon to sign up for Facebook and Twitter because they don’t want to be left behind. They don’t utilize it properly by cultivating relationships with their customer base. Social media is about relationships.

When you sign up for social networks please be prepared to be social. Your customers will be excited to interact with you. Interaction, even on a small scale, builds relationships over time to gain trust. Social media is much more than an abbreviated email or comment and response system. It provides direct access into the specific needs of your customers. An in-depth outline of what to supply for their demand. You can listen to them without ever having to pitch a single service or product. The key is to listen.

Like the traditional sales model, once you know what the customer needs you can respond accordingly.

6 Comments

  1. Jim RaffelReplyApril 15, 2010 at 2:55 pm 

    Very well thought out! – My elevator speech has been replaced by an elevator story. I just start talking about a recent success story with a client that I think will speak to the person I am interacting with. Canned sounds canned so I avoid it when I can.

  2. Joshua GarityReplyApril 15, 2010 at 9:20 pm 

    Thanks Jim! Sharing a story or experience is one of the best ways to build a relationship with people. Besides, who wants to hear a pitch these days? Tell me a quick story and there is a good chance I will remember it.

  3. Wendy SoucieReplyApril 20, 2010 at 5:48 am 

    Joshua,

    I am putting my money where my mouth is on social media. I have finally gotten fed up with my CRM systems. I have used so many. And I was good at entering the data and tracking my sales process. But I am a 30 + believer in sales and business development based on relationships. The reality is what you so nicely visualized in your post – the process has changed. I am changing my process and the tools I use.

    Gone are the days when I could make a cold call and get the appointment. I need to share and validate my value long before I call and even better if they find and call me first.

    I have been one of the early beta testers of a new Social CRM that will revolutionize my process – at least in my own head. I am using Xeesm.com to manage my social relationships, business opportunities, partner relationships and audience touch points and connections. I plan to share my experiences on my blog starting next week, http://www.wendysoucie.com. I am convinced that this is where we need to go to be social businesses in the future.

    If anyone else is interested in hearing about the tool, there is a free webinar on Friday April 23 presenting the latest product and roadmap for future app (SaaS model) http://xeesm.com/_/site/index.php/events/social

    Wendy Soucie, President – Wendy Soucie Consulting
    xeesm.com/wendysoucie

  4. Wendy SoucieReplyApril 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm 

    Joshua,nnI am putting my money where my mouth is on social media. I have finally gotten fed up with my CRM systems. I have used so many. And I was good at entering the data and tracking my sales process. But I am a 30 + believer in sales and business development based on relationships. The reality is what you so nicely visualized in your post – the process has changed. I am changing my process and the tools I use. nnGone are the days when I could make a cold call and get the appointment. I need to share and validate my value long before I call and even better if they find and call me first.nnI have been one of the early beta testers of a new Social CRM that will revolutionize my process – at least in my own head. I am using Xeesm.com to manage my social relationships, business opportunities, partner relationships and audience touch points and connections. I plan to share my experiences on my blog starting next week, http://www.wendysoucie.com. I am convinced that this is where we need to go to be social businesses in the future.nnIf anyone else is interested in hearing about the tool, there is a free webinar on Friday April 23 presenting the latest product and roadmap for future app (SaaS model) http://xeesm.com/_/site/index.php/events/social-crm-event/nnWendy Soucie, President – Wendy Soucie Consultingnxeesm.com/wendysoucie

  5. Joshua GarityReplyApril 20, 2010 at 8:33 am 

    Thank you for such a well thought out response to the article Wendy. Very much appreciated.

    I do think cold calls work but the reliability of your paycheck falls completely on chance then. How is the prospect feeling today, are they having a good day, do they have a few minutes to talk, etc? One slight no to any of those and the door is closed. Sure, many of us will follow up with that prospect down the road but it's a huge drawn out process just to BEGIN the relationship. Where does the time and risk involved become too much for something that is not certain?

    I'm not familiar with Xeesm but, from a very brief visit to the site, I feel they should read my “Why Front-End Design is Crucial for the Success of Your Business” series. The product may be amazing and resourceful but the website will turn many people off. I don't know what I'm looking at in the first few moments of visiting the site. Which gives the impression of complication. Not something XeeSM probably wants associated with their Social CRM.

    I like your website though! I will take a closer look at it in the future. It looks like you use the WordPress Thesis theme. Jim Raffel (http://www.jimraffel.com), another commenter on this article, is an advocate of that theme too.

  6. Joshua GarityReplyApril 20, 2010 at 3:33 pm 

    Thank you for such a well thought out response to the article Wendy. Very much appreciated.nnI do think cold calls work but the reliability of your paycheck falls completely on chance then. How is the prospect feeling today, are they having a good day, do they have a few minutes to talk, etc? One slight no to any of those and the door is closed. Sure, many of us will follow up with that prospect down the road but it’s a huge drawn out process just to BEGIN the relationship. Where does the time and risk involved become too much for something that is not certain?nnI’m not familiar with Xeesm but, from a very brief visit to the site, I feel they should read my “Why Front-End Design is Crucial for the Success of Your Business” series. The product may be amazing and resourceful but the website will turn many people off. I don’t know what I’m looking at in the first few moments of visiting the site. Which gives the impression of complication. Not something XeeSM probably wants associated with their Social CRM.nnI like your website though! I will take a closer look at it in the future. It looks like you use the WordPress Thesis theme. Jim Raffel, another commenter on this article, is an advocate of that theme too.

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