Sales people are some of the brightest, most adaptive, and persistent personalities on the planet. They thrive on ego and strive to be recognized from the highest levels of their organizations. The best sales people focus on establishing strong relationships and broad networks of contacts. But what most sales people dislike more than anything else is change, and social media represents one of the most sweeping changes to sales people since the invention of the fax machine.
To get your sales team on board and using social media to improve their results requires you to have a thorough understanding of what’s preventing them from getting involved to begin with. Here are 3 things your sales team believes about social media but isn’t telling you.
- Social media isn’t up to me, it’s the company’s responsibility. Reps believe that social media is an extension of advertising and thus is the sole responsibility of the company. Communication, narratives, or messaging whether via social or traditional media outlets are the responsibility of the corporate marketing team.
- I don’t have time. Reps see things as either-ors. If I must do Thing A, than Thing B must be sidelined. Something must come off the plate before something new is added. Given most sales people feel they already work to their fullest capability and capacity, few see a way to add more to their daily routine.
- I’m afraid. Ever hear the story of the sales rep over-promising what their product or service can do? What about the rep who exaggerates, manipulates or misleads a prospect? Reps fear putting things in writing which provides them little to no wiggle room if they need to dial-back a previously issued statement or comment. Putting something on LinkedIn or Twitter creates a feeling of unease and discomfort for a sales rep.
How to overcome these 3 false-beliefs?
- Here’s just one reason social media is a joint endeavor between a company and its sales people: branding. There are 2 parts to every sale – the company’s brand reputation and the sales person’s brand reputation. A buyer will not buy if they don’t believe in the company’s brand. If its product is perceived to be irrelevant, or low quality the buyer will know and look for an alternative. Likewise if the sales person’s reputation is in question no matter how good the company’s product is the sale will not be made…at least by that sales person. Social media is a great way for sales people to build and expand their personal brand reputation and thought leadership.
- Social media can help a sales person become more productive by improving their efficiency. Utilizing free apps like Zite, Hootsuite, USAToday, and Google Alerts can help keep a sales pro up-to-date and add value to their sales conversations with prospects and current customers.
- Show them. As their leader you must be able and willing to demonstrate your involvement with social media. How do you embrace social media? How does it play into your day? Is it a passing thing, or do you participate daily with social media? How do you use it? Can you provide examples? Being able to walk the talk is critical to implementing any new initiative or change. The sales team must see you doing it before they even consider it for themselves.
Try these approaches and let me know how it works.