by Mitchell Turino
It’s now the middle of July, and the last thing a lot of us are thinking about is warming up. But in sales, warming up is something we do sometimes dozens of times a day. Luckily, I’m not talking about the office. I’m talking about clients.
People nowadays are suspicious of any phone call that they are not expecting. If it’s a friend, why not text? Is this an emergency? Whose number is this? Because of this, once someone answers the phone, building an immediate connection is more important than ever. The classic cold call, the out-of-the-blue, buy-now phone call, sounds refreshing in the summer heat, but is greeted with suspicion at best, and aggression at worst. Because of this, any information you can get about your prospect is incredibly valuable. Luckily, nearly everyone puts all of their information out on the Internet through social media sites, and this means that the cold call, as we all know it, is no longer necessary.
The first step to any sales call is, and always has been, warming up the client, and this process is now easier than ever thanks to social media tools. Here’s what to do with social media before, during, and after a sales call.
LinkedIn is your best friend for personal information before a sales call. The goal of LinkedIn is to find personal information that the prospect deems acceptable for business: Where do they work? How long have they been working at this job? What other jobs have they had? What do they like to share with colleagues? Write this information down to reference later, or keep the LinkedIn page open.
Using this information, check out company websites, along with their corporate Facebooks and Twitters. NEVER use a personal facebook page for information; this information is not intended for business conversations and will just come off as creepy. However, a company’s Facebook page gives great insights into how the company is run. Are they more laidback or strictly professional? What type of content do they post? All of these answers can you tell you about the feeling of the upcoming call.
Once the research has been done, warming up the call is a breeze. Keeping your notes in front of you, jump into the call. With your notes, you now have the answers to all of your typical opening questions, like “What business do you do?” Now you can say, “Looking at your LinkedIn profile, it looks like you’ve been with Company X for Y years. Have you ever run into [this problem that our product solves]?” This cuts out the hollow introductions and gets right to the point – your product. This saves both you and your prospect valuable time, and they will appreciate you for that.
When introducing this kind of information, always cite your source. “It seems from your Facebook page that your company is pretty laid back,” assures them you are not looking through their windows. And again, don’t use non-business information in these calls. The last thing you want your prospect to think is that you’re creepy.
After the call, social media fills the role it was designed to: connecting! A connection request on LinkedIn (provided the call went well) is not out of the ordinary. At worst, they don’t accept your connection. At best, you’ve opened up a new avenue to reach the prospect and made the business relationship more personal. Unless you’re pushy on the call, a LinkedIn notification won’t seem pushy, either. When making professional connections, LinkedIn is the way to go.
An alternative is using Twitter for a shoutout. If you have a personal, professional Twitter account, a public shoutout to the company you’ve been working with or a private message to the individual will go a long way. Twitter tends to be a bit more laid back than LinkedIn, and your message should reflect that. In the end, making good use of social media is just about connecting with the people you hope to keep in touch with, and that means prospects, especially.
Nowadays, there is no reason to make sales calls with no information about the client in advance. LinkedIn is great for making personal, professional connections, Facebook is great for learning more about a brand, and Twitter has the best of both worlds. So next time you’re making your sales calls, don’t just wing it. Use social media and be prepared, and never make a cold call again.