article | January 7, 2013
Social Selling – The New Door Opener
Many reps will look at the chart below and think, “That’s not happening to me. I’m dialed into my customers. I know their trends and tendencies.” And you could be right. Or you could be losing opportunities you didn’t know existed. Competitors could be “gleaning” these opportunities from under your nose.
Gleaning was a practice where farmers left some of their crops in the field post-harvest. It was left purposefully for the poor to come and “glean” the excess. This practice was essentially a form of charity or welfare. I assume your organization is not in the business of welfare. Leave gleaning to the farmers (agrarian type – not the sales type).
By the time a customer contacts you, they’re 60% through the buyer’s journey. Your fears have been confirmed – you’ve been squeezed out. You now have a 40% window where you used to have 70%.
How do you combat this new trend?
Your organization needs a strong digital presence in your industry. If you aren’t maximizing your online presence, assume competitors are “gleaning” your opportunities. As a sales rep, you can’t rely solely on Marketing to develop your presence. Their efforts will help, but aren’t a solution. This is your personal brand and reputation, and you need to forge the way.
Building a strong digital presence is key to Social Selling and is a consistently growing trend.
For those of you still in denial, think about your last major purchase. Chances are you began your research online. You then probably narrowed down your choices before even picking up the phone. Your prospects and customers are doing the same.
Let’s assume you have a meeting with a big prospect. What are they going to do before the meeting? They’ll jump online and look for you and your company. What will they find? If they find you, what will they see?
Social media profiles should sell your strengths. You want your prospect to find a profile that conveys mastery of your industry. Otherwise you might just receive a “too busy right now, let’s reschedule” email.
Two Strategies for Building Your Brand Right Now
1) Start Creating or Refining Your Own Brand
Vince Koehler can also provide key insights on protecting your network from predatory efforts by competition. The primary recommendations are 1) Effective gate-keeping, and 2) locking down your contacts.
Are you doing these things? If not, competitors who are ahead of the game are probably gleaning your opportunities.
2) Utilize Your Marketing Department’s Expertise
This strategy overlooked by most quota-carrying reps, but it’s by far the most productive.
Don’t let competitors glean your opportunities by outdoing you in Social Selling. Embrace the digital age, and use it to your benefit.