April 9, 2018 - TAB Corporate

5 Tips for Leveraging Social Media to Boost Your Sales

 

Like virtually everything else in business, sales activities have been forever altered in the digital era. Use of mobile technology, for example, has dramatically enhanced the ability of sales teams to operate far from their home base, and to connect with prospective customers in ways never before imagined.

The changes don’t stop there. With the advent of social media and “social selling”—the use of social media to locate, identify and engage with new prospects—sales as we know it has been transformed all over again.

People use social media to connect with old friends and family members, to post news and gossip, to follow celebrities, and so on. But as businesses have come to recognize, social media is also an “incubator” for intensified sales efforts, and well worth the effort it takes to cultivate this potentially vast online target audience.

Here are five tips for leveraging social media to boost sales of your products or services:

 

  1. Maintain a vibrant presence on Facebook. The current controversy regarding Facebook and the sharing of user data notwithstanding, experts agree businesses should maintain a strong presence on this vastly popular social media platform. Business leaders spend a significant amount of time on Facebook, so Forbes advises your company to share “a variety of content, including webinars, videos, articles, infographics and such that speak to the business challenges of your prospects.” Provide value-added content, rather than use Facebook “as an exclusive mouthpiece for your product and service demos.”

 

  1. Employ social media as customer touchpoints. It’s vital to have a keen understanding of where your customers “live” on social media. Once you’ve identified the appropriate platforms (such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and other industry-specific sites), then you can pinpoint key influencers on those sites and build a strong relationship with them. It’s also important to monitor social media for any issues or concerns your customers might be having.

 

  1. Watch competitor activity on social media. What are your competitors doing on Facebook and Twitter? What mistakes do they make, in terms of posting the wrong type of content or engaging in too much self-promotion? Study the ways in which prospects engage with their social media sites and leverage that knowledge to custom-tailor what you provide. Customers might want more “how-to” information about products or a better understanding of industry trends. Wherever you can fill in the gaps, you’ll likely attract and retain more followers.

 

  1. Never forget a call-to-action. While avoiding a hard sell, there’s nothing wrong with including a call-to-action at the end of your blog post or video. Find creative ways to get users to visit your business site to learn more about your offerings. Link directly to a product or service page, so prospects aren’t wasting time searching information they want right now.

 

  1. Modify your activities to emphasize engagement. In both the B2B and B2C realms, the purchasing journey doesn’t happen overnight. Social media is best viewed as an engagement tool, wherein a steady flow of helpful content and industry updates keeps prospects coming back for more. It’s a way to progressively boost brand awareness and establish a relationship of trust—the foundation from which sales grow.

Social media isn’t a flashy trend that’s going to be disappear tomorrow. Your business needs to get involved in order to stay relevant to (and in touch with) the growing population of prospects who spend time there.

Want to learn more about social media and your business? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

 

 

Key Negotiating Tactics Your Sales Team Should Have

 

Businesses with expert sales teams sometimes find themselves on a mystifying string of bad luck. Their sales professionals identify and qualify promising leads, even have a series of discussions with these prospects—only to end up with nothing to show for it.

One possible cause for the inability to close a deal might lie in a tactical misconception of what “negotiation” means.

Engaging with a prospect and finding ways to secure an agreement can be complicated and easily derailed. That’s why every salesperson should thoroughly grasp the idea that negotiations “are termed successful when real and perceived differences are adjusted while preserving credibility, customer value, and profit margins.”

So how can you master the art of negotiations and make the sale that’s so important to your business? Here are tips for salespeople to keep in mind:

Establish value in the prospect’s mind. Your would-be customer will be more receptive if you’ve already laid the groundwork of value. Long before actual talks begin, send the prospect valuable content he or she might not otherwise have, as well as information on how your product or service can dramatically benefit that person’s company in the long run. Establishing value beforehand generally makes a prospect more willing to enter into sincere negotiations.

Know what you’re prepared to give up. It’s fruitless (and can be self-defeating) to enter a sales conversation without knowing your bottom line. Don’t rely on spontaneously offering an exclusive discount or some other “value-added” concession in order to seal a deal. You may end up giving away more than your business can hope to get. Prepare with “strategic concessions” in mind before talks begin.

When offering a concession, ask for something in exchange. It’s not much of a negotiation if you offer key concessions and get nothing in return. As the back-and-forth talks proceed, ask for more favorable payment terms, a bigger initial order or arrangements for repeat business. What appear like significant concessions at this initial stage might yield greater opportunities for up- and/or cross-selling at a later time.

Always remember, negotiations aren’t personal. Just as you enter negotiations with clear-cut business goals in mind, so does the person on the other side of the table. Just like you, they’re looking for the best possible deal. Therefore, getting too defensive or emotional will harm your chances of achieving the desired goal. Focus on being patient and being willing to see things from the other person’s perspective. Business is business, and the prospect’s demands “do not reflect on you as a person.”

Don’t be afraid to say “no.” A salesperson’s instincts generally tend towards always being agreeable with the prospect. But saying no is an integral part of every negotiating session. Of course, it’s vital to do so at the most appropriate moment, and in the most courteous way possible.

Be prepared to walk away. As much as you may want to close a particular deal, there are times when negotiations end up in a place that can negatively impact your business. A prospect who’s too demanding or unwilling to budge from a specified price might not be worth your company’s efforts in the long run. As HubSpot notes, “A customer who only agreed to sign if the contract was radically amended or the price was drastically dropped is bound to cause problems down the road.”

Negotiations aren’t easy. They demand maturity, self-control, strategic preparation and an ability to listen closely. Salespeople who cultivate these traits will see their success rates go up as they become better practitioners of this delicate craft.

Want to learn more about sales and negotiations? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!