“Listen carefully, Feyd,” the Baron said. “Observe the plans within plans within plans.”
Dune, Frank Herbert.
As there is no reaction without action, you can’t do #SocialSelling without training your ability to find prospects, learn about them and use that information to gain access. That access is what will eventually convert those prospect into leads, and hopefully a closed deal for you. #SocialSelling is the technologic evolution of Active Listening, a technique used in sales as well as counseling and other disciplines: it implies that before you resolve a specific problem or respond to an inquiry, you must first listen and understand what is being said or asked.
Social Media Listening is a concept that’s been around for some time now. It means, as described here by Zoe Summers for socialmediaexaminer.com:
Social listening (or media monitoring, as some people like to call it) is about searching the web and the social space to see what’s being said about your company, your competitors and other topics of interest.
The article explains how to go beyond the natural monitoring aspects of the technique to try and comprehend the actual perception of a Company’s online presence or brand. The concept is tied mostly to monitoring, watching data and understanding user behavior through it.
While the concept is accurate and it’s already out there, I believe we can take it up a notch or two: what if instead of monitoring (i.e.: “listening” for specific keywords tweeted or posted through your network) and reacting to your findings, you double click on them and try to relate them to the specific person you are interested in?
#SocialSelling is the technologic evolution of Active Listening
#SocialListening is not about the trends you might uncover through business intelligence. That was a typical Marketing (exclusive) approach from times when Sales Reps where not as empowered as they are right now. What this new concept entails is the extended capacity of any sales person to understand what a specific prospect (or future lead) is interested in. Not through trend analysis or complex matrixes but something much easier: observation.
Reaction before action
Challenging (to the mind) as it may sound, that’s what you can achieve through #SocialListening. A trend analysis will only show you what a person that fits an arbitrary pre-determined category (such as “IT Professional”) might find interesting. Good enough to shoot some content that person’s way. It might even help in building up credibility up to a limited extent. It does not go very far though: your prospects know how to find information even before you know how to post it out there. That’s an ability of this era.
How can you, as a sales rep, reach out to someone even before they know they might need what you’re selling? Trend analysis will only take you so far. Content Marketing can take of some of that for you but it will not get you the meeting you need. Only you can do that and one way to do it is through simply knowing your prospects, knowing their business and what challenges them. There is one simple of doing all of that. Have you guessed what it is yet?
#SocialListening. Know before you act. Know before they know you know. Don’t just read what they post, don’t simplify your prospect’s behavior to keywords they search for or use. Avoid spamming them with the obvious: you are a sales person and want to help them with your business. Before you help them though…you know need to know what’s going on with them.
Listen to them. That’s what it is all about. A trick as old as sales is.