Back in the early 90’s, before the advent of social, I worked for an amazingly successful sales executive named Chuck. Chuck was in the sunset of his sales career, and was doing everything he could to pass his knowledge to the “new guard”. The young “whippersnapper” with the slick tongue and all of this “newfangled technology,” such as a pager and a huge cell phone.
Chuck jumped right off the movie set of Glengarry Glen Ross, and would have fit right in with the cast based upon his personality. He was a crusty old guy with an uncanny knack for opening the most difficult of doors and closing deals I never thought possible.
Look for the Hook!
One of the most impactful things Chuck taught me, and lived by, was to “look for the hook” when I spoke to a prospect or new customer. If you have been in sales long enough, you have probably heard this saying, but it’s a very important area of focus, and will never go away.
Essentially, when you “look for the hook”, you are getting to know someone. What is your commonality? Do you both have children the same age? Do you have the same alma mater? Is there a favorite sports team? This allows you to focus on building a relationship with the person and building trust. Seems like a pretty simple concept, but proficiency in this area is what sets a good salesperson from a great salesperson.
Prior to the advent of social media, you were constrained to a phone call, and preferably a face to face meeting in order to “look for the hook”. Get in the office – pictures of kids. BINGO! Talk on the phone, prospect is headed to basketball game. BINGO!
You Must Not Ignore the New Social Hook!
Why am I going old school with this post? Im not. “Look for the hook” is still very much in style. We as sales professionals are at such an advantage with social that it blows my mind when I train a sales team and people in the room aren’t fully embracing social.
In fact, when I meet with sales leadership teams to help them along the path of social adoption, my recommendation for folks on their team that won’t adopt a solid social sales strategy is to let them go and look for someone that will.
If you are reading this post, then you are probably at least on one social network, or your boss sent it to you. If your boss sent it to you, I would suggest highly that you take my advice and start getting involved.
Still Don't Believe Me?
If you don’t believe me, give me your top five client primary contacts. I will know more about them, their history, and their background within five days than you will know in one year. Don’t get me wrong, a face to face wins all day long, but my prep and ability to “look for the hook” within the social ecosystem will win every time.
I will walk into the meeting knowing their background, experience, where they went to school, and potentially what movies they like. I'll know how many children they have and what they like to eat. I'll likely even know their political affiliation and where they go on vacation.
You can call it creepy, lack of privacy, whatever you want, but it’s the world we live in. I will know the hot buttons, pitfalls, and areas to drive conversation while you are still trying to figure out how to spell their last name. I win.
People Still Buy From People
You see, sales are all about relationships. My initial research and ability to connect with these individuals isn’t a ploy or tactic to simply sell to them. It is to get to KNOW them. To care about them. To understand their challenges and victories. The end result is closing business to support my family and make them more successful, but that is a byproduct of my good relationship and the effort I put in.
Everyone knows relationships take work. Is an understanding and management of your social media profiles work? Yep. Are you willing to put in the extra work to close more business? If so, get connected.
- Start by updating your LinkedIn profile to 100% completion. Then join some LinkedIn groups and participate in them!
- Find a couple of your favorite clients that you already have commonality with and connect with them on Facebook. Learn about their family and be willing to be 100% transparent.
- Check out Twitter. Setup an account and start to understand the ecosystem. There are tons of great tools out there like #Getrealchat and other communities to get you plugged in.
By the way, this approach also works internally. Do you want to have a better relationship with your legal and finance team? Connect with them on social media. Support them and their family/interests with your feedback and friendship. I promise your deals will run much smoother through the process if you do.
Good luck, now get off your butt and go “look for the hook!”
What Do You Say?
Do you agree with me? Are you using social media as a hook to deeper relationships and more sales? If not, what is holding you back?