Let’s face facts- the reason many business owners are interested in social media marketing and are Twitterpated by Twitter is not that they’re anxious to make a “connection” with potential customers but rather that they’re anxious to close sales.
For example, most business owners who are “hot” to learn more about Twitter, have heard the tales of how Dell uses Twitter to close millions of dollars in sales. As a result, most businesses are interested in using Twitter to boost their bottom line in a similar fashion.
The problem is, many businesses are so focused on making a sale today that they fail to recognize that closing sales in the new millennium requires establishing a significant amount of TRUST!!
Trust isn’t earned in a single “transaction”.
Social media is a GREAT tool to build trust – but in order to do so, you must first be trustworthy!!! In my post The REAL reasons why you should be using “social media” I state that:
The REAL reason you need to be using [insert social media application of choice] is to establish TRUST with other human beings.
Trust – trust is the foundation of making sales in the new millennium.
Social media is as viral as it is transparent. Just try being less than “authentic” in the realm of social media and you’ll quickly discover how brutal the new social media based web can be.
My favorite illustrations of this principle are still Cash4Gold Social Media Meltdown and the Belkin Social Media Payola Scandal which both CLEARLY illustrate that when it comes to Social Media Marketing – authenticity is essential because transparency is not optional.
However, when you’re authentic – when you’re really serious about providing a product or service that addresses a customer’s GDP (Goals, Desires and Problems – you’re either trying to help them Achieve a Goal, Satisfy a Desire or Solve a Problem – learn more in my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results) then the new web – the social media web – can truly be the best thing since sliced bread for your business.
See, if your business model is based on “people are idiots – and easily parted with their hard earned cash” then you’re going to HATE the new web. You’re going to HATE how people can share their experiences with your company. You’re going to HATE how transparent and viral the new web is.
However, if your business model is based on truly meeting the needs of your customers or clients – well, then be prepared to work a little harder up front in building trust – because there are a lot of “slimy SOB’s” (that’s straight out of an email from a new client this morning) out there claiming to do what you say you do. However, you can also be prepared to start getting new business falling into your lap thanks to the new web.
In her post “Selling isn’t Selling Anymore” Betsy Wuebker writes:
The masters of sales psychology […] have routinely stressed building rapport, listening skills, problem-solving, and other relationship-builders are a better path . The funny thing is, when you employ relationship-builders they – wait for this – build relationships. You become a colleague by virtue of the relationship you’ve cultivated. You don’t need to consciously ABC because you’re trusted. Trust will close the sale for you every time.
That’s part of the “magic” of social media. Social media tools such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook are great ways to build trust with potential customers or clients. Trust is the big kahuna – the big wave – the success maker.
Thanks to social media, I find I don’t spend very much time at all in “closing” new clients on my services. They’re “pre-closed” thanks to my social media presence. It’s a beautiful thing – but it didn’t happen by writing 2 or 3 blog posts and then sitting back and waiting for my email to fill with client requests!!!
If you read the last line and thought “Doh!” then please, feel free to contact me about working together. See, the 7th layer of hell in my business are the clients who expect to write two or three blog posts and then magically find those precious blog posts gaining top 10 SERPS on highly competitive keywords.
Social media doesn’t work like that. Building trust doesn’t work like that. If you can’t summon more than 2 or 3 blog posts on the topic which you claim “expert” status – perhaps you don’t deserve the “trust” of potential clients.
In the blog post Gain Readers by Selling Yourself, Barbara Swafford tells the tale of the days when she was employed to reach out and connect with customers – a.k.a. telemarketing. She ends the post with a poignant admonition:
For our blog to succeed, we must sell it. And, in selling our blog, we are also selling ourselves.
Yes indeedy doody. Social media is ALL about selling ourselves. You might think you work with “corporations” but trust me, you don’t. You are an individual who works with other individuals employed by corporations. Jason Cohen writes about this subject in his post “How to get customers to love you even when you screw up” and he writes:
If you pretend to be something you’re not, they’ll see right through it. Then what have you done? You’ve lied to those who would have loved you for who you are; that’s not how you build a relationship.
Relationships and trust are the KEY elements in social media marketing.
If there is any “magic” in social media it is brought to the table – BY YOU!
Social Media Marketing can’t be “pre-packaged” and “canned”. That’s not how social media works.
Years ago, when businesses started pre-packaging and mass delivering canned email marketing messages without any attempt to engage the end user or build trust – well, it quickly got dubbed as “spam”.
There are tons of tools being promoted to help you pre-package your social media messages. Trust me, none of them will work nearly as well as sharing your true and authentic self. That’s how you build relationships and trust that are essential to creating an effective sales tool.